Customer Service- Just Give a Refund or Ask Questions?

June 22, 2017 at 2:41 pm Leave a comment

Here’s a question for everyone: is it better for a store to have a “no questions asked” “100% refund” policy or is it better if the store staff works with the customer to solve his issue? Sure, some customers may be upset about finding an issue with a product and they may not want to talk about it, but in general, I think most customers would rather have a product that works to their satisfaction instead of getting their money back.

Suppose I need a car model for my artwork. So I go to the big store site, I find a car model that I like, and I spend my money and purchase the car. Let’s also suppose that the site usually runs 60%-off sales, but this time the specific model that I want isn’t on sale and I pay the full price of $19.99.
I then load it into my software program and then decide that I want to roll down the window. But I can’t figure out how to do this, so I send an email to the website to ask them.

The store staff replies with an answer like, “We’re sorry you’re not happy with the product you purchased. We’ll promptly give you a refund or in-store credit for your inconvenience.”
But I didn’t want a refund- I wanted help with using the product. But instead, they offer to let me get something else, even though that’s the specific model that I wanted to use in my artwork. And the issue isn’t fixed and I can’t use the car that I wanted to, so I’m not very happy.

Then I go over to the very personable small site, and do the same thing: I look through their inventory, find a car model that I like, and then buy it. Their car actually has more features and color options than the other store and it’s only $9.99.
Then the same thing happens – I load the model into my software and try to roll down the window, but I can’t.
I then send an email to their staff and I get a very different response: their staff puts me in touch with the artist who made the car. He then replies with something like, “Sorry to hear about that. The car wasn’t actually built with that feature, but you can hide the window by using a transparency map. If you don’t know how to make a map like this, let me know and I can make one for you.”
So now, not only has the website addressed the issue, but they’ve offered a solution and I’m talking to the artist who made the model!

And yet this is how some big sites operate: they don’t ask the customer any questions or ask for any feedback – they simply give the customer a refund. But then this doesn’t tell the website or the artist/ seller anything about the product: why is the customer having an issue, is it something that can be fixed, or is the customer simply having a problem importing or loading the model? But even then, that’s an opportunity to help educate the user on how to use the model in different software programs.

So as a customer, which site are you more likely to continue shopping at? The one that doesn’t seem to care about your needs, or the website that will work with you, address your issues, and then maybe use your feedback and suggestions to improve their next products?

Customer service isn’t about making perfect products- it’s about how you handle any issues that come up afterwards. And most of the time, customers may not be looking for their money back – they’re looking for you to “make it right”, which usually means they’re happy when you fix their problem.

Entry filed under: Digital Goods, Vendor Advice. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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