Advice for Online Vendors: More Sample Customer Questions

June 9, 2019 at 8:46 pm Leave a comment

I realized it’s been a while since I posted a questions-and-answers blog, so here’s another one!
Like before, I’ve included my sarcastic reply and a real reply. If you’re a merchant who gets asked the same question, feel free to use my answer.

My most-asked question over the past few months has been from customers on CGTrader who ask:
“I bought a [model for use in Poser], but I can’t load it into [some other software]. What gives? Please make this right. I need to use this model ASAP in a project!!”

Sarcasm:
You got me. Just because the product says “for use in Poser” all over the place doesn’t mean that it’s actually for use only in Poser. That’s right- this model can be used in every program! Just load the cr2 into Maya, XCode, Ray Dream Designer, or Strata3D and you’ll have a fully-textured, fully-rigged model all set to go!

Two quick side-notes:
1) All of my products include the version in the title, such as “for Poser” or “for DAZ Studio”. The description clearly lists all the features of the version, such as how it includes a cr2 file, moving parts, material files, poses, or camera presets. Many times, there’s even a note saying “All images rendered in Poser Pro” or “For use in Poser 6 and above”.

2) However, the CGTrader website scans product zip files and automatically lists all the file formats it finds. In the case of Poser products, this means the site lists “obj” as a file format because there’s an obj file in the zip file… even though the obj file can’t be used on its own. And the site also lists “pdf” as a file format when it finds the “eula.pdf” license file, even though 3d models can’t be pdf!

Real:
Issues like this leave me with a lot of questions:
Why did the customer only read the part where it says “obj” and not the entire description?
If the customer was confused about why the description said “for Poser” so much, why didn’t he send me an e-mail before buying to make sure the model works in another program?
Did the customer notice something was odd since the description talks about the Poser features, but doesn’t mention anything about the obj version?

And the main question usually seems to be followed with a sharp comment like “what gives?!” or “make it right”, as if it’s my fault the customer didn’t understand what he was buying.

Or s customer sends a related question:
“I bought your [model for use in Poser], but it won’t open in Maya. Can you send me a Maya version?”

To be honest, if I had a Maya version, it would be available for sale. But since I don’t use Maya, I can’t give him this version.

Or another related question:
“I bought your [model for use in Poser], but when I load it into the scene, it’s all white and the parts don’t work.”

My first question: if a customer is asking for help, why doesn’t he say which software he’s using?

This is what usually happens:
Let me think… that product has been for sale for the past 4 years, has sold over 100 copies, and no one mentioned anything. And I’ve seen many customers use it in images, but let me see what’s going on, just in case it’s something that someone missed.
Unzip the file and install it.
Create a new scene in Poser and it loads fine.
Add some materials and it renders fine.
Reply to customer: everything seems to works fine.
Customer replies later that it it’s still all white when he loads it into the scene.
Reply to customer: I tested it and I’m not seeing anything unusual. By the way, which version of Poser are you using?
Customer replies later: I’m using DAZ Studio version 2.1 and DAZ says Studio will load any Poser product, so you need to fix it!
Me: Wait- you bought a Poser product, knowing it’s a Poser product, you’re not using Poser *and* you expect me to support it in another software program? I don’t even use DAZ Studio 2.1- you should at least use DAZ Studio 4.10, which is a free upgrade! Though even then, that specific model hasn’t been tested in DAZ Studio so I can’t guarantee the results.

The reality of most of these situations is that the customer bought the Poser version because it’s cheaper than the obj version or because there’s no DAZ Studio version available. Usually, the obj version is priced higher because it’s a universal format that can be imported into any software program and the Poser version is priced lower because it can only be used in one program. And in many cases, the obj version is licensed for use in games and apps.
But instead of paying for a version that easily be imported, customers buy the cheaper version and try to force it to work… and then complain when it doesn’t work.

Yet the better solution would be for the customer to send me an e-mail before purchasing that said “I want to use [model for Poser] in Maya or DAZ Studio. How do I do it?” But chances are good that people don’t ask that because they know I’ll tell them to buy the more expensive version.

Then there’s a very high chance that the customer will post a negative “review”, where he complains that the product doesn’t work in a software program that it was designed for! The negative review will then affect your seller reputation and customers may not buy from you because of the complaints. Many site admins will remove “reviews” like this, but you still have to contact them, ask for the review to be removed, and so on.
I even had a customer post a second complaint-review about how the admins removed his first complaint!

I, personally, have a similar situation: I still use the M2 and V2 figures, but no one makes clothing or poses for them any more. I have some converter software that usually does a good job, but would it be fair of me to complain that an outfit designed for V4 doesn’t work properly on V2? And then should I leave a negative review saying that?

I mentioned this real-world example in a previous blog but the point is worth repeating:
You own a BMW car and you need a spark plug, but they’re expensive. So you read the BMW forums and people there assure you that spark plugs for a Ford Mustang usually work fine in a BMW.
So you drive over to the car parts store and buy a spark plug for a Ford Mustang. Then you get home, install the Mustang spark plug, and it doesn’t fit.
Should the store give you a refund even though you knowingly bought the wrong item because it was cheaper? Should they give you a refund when you didn’t bother to ask anyone at the store to confirm that the Mustang spark plug would work in your BMW?
Should you post a complaint about how the store somehow ripped you off because you *knowingly* bought the wrong item?

 


“I see you’re listing a model available for sale on another site, but when I went to that site, they’re offering it for free. There’s a difference between “buy” and “get” and if you’re saying “buy” when the model is free, then that’s misleading. How do I buy it and how do I get a video game license?”

Sarcasm:
That’s right. My job is all about the bait-and-switch: you think you’re about to spend $14.99 on a product and it’s now free! But I’ll be happy to take a payment for a free item, but only because I want to give good customer service and make you happy.

Real:
I still find this person’s e-mail to be a little confusing. I tried to ask him why he thought it was bad that the model is now free, but either I was missing something or he wasn’t communicating properly. Maybe he was concerned that a free model didn’t have the proper licensing to be used in games and apps.

And as for the licensing, he should really ask the other site since I can’t control the licensing of models on other sites. But as so often happens, I become the contact person for customers and they almost expect me to help them when dealing with other sites.

—————-
I posted a message and link on Facebook about a new helicopter model and the first comment was, “Are you going to make an Osprey?”

Sarcasm:
Yes, you got me, the link I posted isn’t to promote the newest product for sale. Instead, I posted it so people can request new models. After all, posting a comment on a Facebook posting is really the best way to contact someone about a new model. Sending an e-mail or a sitemail or even a Facebook message is so old-fashioned.

Real:
Okay, I know people like to talk about different things on Facebook, but isn’t it common courtesy to stay on topic? Or is it just me?
On the other hand, letting the thread go off-topic may encourage more people to post comments, which could make your thread more popular and more visible.

 


I posted a message and link on Facebook to a new helicopter model and the first comment was, “Where can I download this?”

Sarcasm:
You got me- Facebook is showing the image from the product sales page, Facebook is showing the 1-sentence summary from the product sales page, but it’s not actually a link! I’m sneaky like that.

Real:
Do some people really not know that almost every “shared story” on Facebook includes a click-able link back to the page where the information comes from? Or do they not know the difference between a shared story and a posted image (which has no link)?

 


I receive a site-mail at the DAZ website: “Hi, I bought your helicopter at Renderosity and I have a question”.

Sarcasm:
Thanks for contacting me at a site that doesn’t sell the product. It’s a good thing I still get e-mails from DAZ to let me know I have a sitemail! I guess sending a sitemail at Renderosity, where you purchased the product, is too much to ask.

Real:
Yes, I know many people spend their time at the DAZ website, but if they purchased a product at Renderosity, why not contact the merchant at Renderosity? Then if the merchant can’t help, it’s easy enough to contact the Renderosity marketplace staff.

—————
I received a message at Facebook: “Hi, I bought your product at [another site] but I can’t download it. I keep getting a server error. Can you help me?”

Sarcasm:
I’m glad you contacted me instead of the owners, the site admins, or even the site’s customer support staff since they probably couldn’t help you.
Not many people know this and I was trying to keep it a secret, but I actually help run every site on the Internet. I can easily get into their web server, database server, and their FTP site to diagnose and troubleshoot their systems to figure out why the product won’t download. But don’t worry, I only use this power for good.

Real:
My real reply was to ask this person why he didn’t go back to the site where he purchased the item, click the Contact Us link, and ask them? I also did the same thing: I went to the site, clicked the Contact Us link, and pasted the message from the customer so they could look into it.
But I still don’t understand why he thought it was better or easier to contact me on Facebook instead of contacting the site.

 


“I’d like to download a free model from [another site] but I can’t register as a member. Can you talk to Bob, who knows the admins of that site, and see what’s going with my account? I sent Bob a message on Facebook 10 minutes ago and he still hasn’t replied.”

Sarcasm:
Another job for my super internet powers! I’ll force Bob to stop what he’s doing, check Facebook, and reply to your message. Having to wait 10 minutes for a reply is simply beyond the limit of human suffering!

Real:
So this person wants me to ask Bob, who’s not an admin of the site, to ask the real admins of the site to look into why his account doesn’t work? I still don’t know why he can’t contact the site admins himself, especially since the site he’s complaining about has a “Contact Us” link. Okay, maybe the site admins are slow to reply, but that means they’ll be slow to reply to me also, which means I won’t get an answer any faster than he will.
And I don’t understand why he’s complaining to me that it’s only been 10 minutes since he asked Bob for help.

 


Sitemail at Renderosity:
Subject: Modular Sci-fi model
Body of message: where is it?

Sarcasm:
Thank you for contacting John Google, the finder of all things on the internet.

Real:
I don’t mind helping people, but I’d prefer if they explain what they’ve already tried.
Did this person do a Google Search? Since they’re sending a sitemail on Renderosity, did they check the Renderosity marketplace? No, they didn’t: when I searched for that model, it was the first result.
Okay, maybe they tried searching in the Renderosity marketplace but they didn’t see the result they wanted. Then why not say this?

 


“I want a voucher for a free copy of your $50 ‘Kids Character Pack for Unity’ in exchange for a good review.”

Sarcasm:
I’m glad you asked since I commonly give out free products to anyone who asks. And thanks for not sending a detailed resume/ portfolio showing how your review has resulted in a X% increase in sales for the products you’ve reviewed. And thanks for not sending a link to your previous reviews which show off your writing style.

Real:
On the one hand, you have to give people like this some credit. They want a free product for doing something that any paying customer would do and they’re not afraid to ask for it. But how does this person’s review really help? And how do I know they’ll give an in-depth review or simply say “It’s kewl”… or write a review at all?

Unfortunately, people like this rarely give a good reason for why the merchant should give them a free product. Besides, there might be store rules *against* giving free products in exchange for a review since this could be seen as buying a good review.

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

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