Xstreet tips/Negative item reviews

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The Second Life Marketplace has replaced Xstreet SL. This information is kept for historical purposes.


Stuff to do: Useful and unique stuff from this that still applies should be merged into the Marketplace Seller's Guide.


This article is a collection of helpful tips for Xstreet merchants by a single individual, and shouldn't be taken as official policy from Linden Lab or Xstreet.

Turning a Bad Review into a Good Experience

by Tigress Stormwind

Merchants occasionally want to remove a "bad" item review they've received. Because Xstreet will only delete reviews that violate their Terms of Service, I've often found myself in the position of helping the merchant turn that bad review into something productive, educational, and ultimately good.

"What?!?" you ask. "How can somebody telling lies and complaining about my product be considered good???"

Read on and I'll show you! Let's explore the three most common themes found in negative reviews.

Operation

These complaints can range from not being able to open a box to being unable to follow the instructions. In many cases they feel safer writing a review rather than IMing the merchant. Remember, there's probably a bit of embarrassment on their part because they can't get the thing to work right in the first place.

Solution: Contact the buyer. Use IMs inworld in Second Life® as well as Private Messages on Xstreet to offer assistance. Don't chastise them about their review, but instead, encourage them to let you help them solve their problem.

Additionally, if the customer can't understand how to make something work, once you've solved their problem, take the time to ask what confused them about the instructions or the process, and what they think would make it more understandable and user-friendly. Very few merchants have skills in technical writing or help documentation, so you can take the feedback from a customer who's had difficulty and use it to improve your instructions.

Customer Service

Not being able to get assistance from the merchant or getting short, terse comments when asking for help really bothers people. An upset consumer may not remember that not all IMs get through, or that merchants are people with jobs and families outside of Second Life, not to mention Second Life interests outside of selling and supporting their product.

Solution: Find a way to meet your customer's needs without ruining your day. You can do this a number of ways. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Use inworld signage, your profile, your product notecards, or even your Xstreet item descriptions to post your availability.
  2. If you don't have a set schedule and find yourself getting IMs at unwanted times, politely explain that you are otherwise engaged at the moment and set an appointment to speak to your customer at another time in the near future. This is much better than being terse or curt with your customers because you're trying to do too many things at once or because your mind is elsewhere. Customers can understand being busy -- it's being short with them that gets their hackles up because they take it personally.
  3. Consider using the same inworld signage, profiles, product notecards, and Xstreet item descriptions mentioned in option #1 to point to an email address customers can use for their support needs. This won't stop all the IMs, but it does help, and it gives you another out for option #2 -- you can explain you're tied up at the moment, and ask them to email you instead.

Expectations

A customer thinks the item they bought should work a certain way, and are disappointed and disillusioned when it doesn't. Since they really don't need any assistance, they're more likely to air their disappointment in a review rather than confront the seller.

Solution: Follow up on these complaints. If you don't attack them for their "stupid" assumptions, but instead politely ask them why they had those expectations (and truly listen to their answers), you can gain some valuable insight into the views of the consumer.

From there, you can do one or all of the following:

  • Offer them a refund.
  • Offer to add the feature they expected (assuring them they will get a free upgrade)
  • Simply apologize for the misconception and promise to clarify the limits of your item or notate what it doesn't do.

These are a few suggestions for things you can do to help your customers feel better about you and your products. If you reach out to your unhappy customers without attacking them for writing a bad review, you can almost always reach a happy solution that completely changes the customer's view, thereby turning a bad review into a good experience for both you and your customer.