SL of course has a thriving business sector. There are more shops there than you can shake a stick at. But as in RL, SL businesses vary in their customer service. Some are better than others in my experience. Let me share my experiences as a Super Shopper just over just the last week.
The Good: LGJC Productions. This is a pretty new business that sells, um, well, bondage toys. *blush*. As I was looking around I decided to test one out. I hopped on and was instantly stuck. The machine would not let me go. Normally I have “safe word” enabled on my collar – yes, I wear a collar, did I forget to mention that? 😉 This means I can break out of most RLV (Restrained Love Viewer) enabled objects. However, there seems to be a bit of a bug in the collar scripts, at least for me. Occasionally the relay settings change themselves – usually after a viewer crash. Needless to say, safe word was not enabled…
About that time the owner of the shop, LoreleiLynn and her assistant Sultana showed up and greeted me. Figuring I’m pretty embarrassed already, I confessed that I was stuck. To make a long story short, the machine kept hold of me even after a reset of the collar and LoreleiLynn deleting it. Strong stuff! Finally I had to relog and that fixed it.
Let me stress that the machine did exactly what it was supposed to do. The prisoner is not supposed to be able to free herself, and I couldn’t. LoreleiLynn and Sultana were very helpful during all this, and impressed me greatly. Even though I got myself trapped, I still came away with a good feeling about this store.
I encourage anyone interested in the lifestyle to check it out at LGJC Productions.
The Bad: Michigan’s Shack. The other day I was doing a “hunt”. For those not in the know, a hunt is kind of a scavenger hunt. They usually involved multiple stores and you have to find the hunt object in the store. Often you’re given a hint by the store owner as to the location of the object. You then “buy” the object for $0 when you find it, and there is a gift from the store and a landmark to the next store on the hunt contained in it.
Anyway, occasionally you get store owners that seem to think the goal of the game is to hide the object so well that it takes two days to find it. Strangely it just becomes tedious to me at this point. Well, Michigan’s Shack likes to do this. I’ve been there on several hunts. The store is *huge* and the hint is usually quite vague. I can’t recall offhand, but I don’t believe I’ve found *any* of their hunt objects after hours of looking.
This time I became frustrated and did something I should *not* have done. I filled out one of their handy customer feedback surveys in the store. Granted, I was in a bit of a foul mood and said some things I should not have, but I *was* civil. No foul language or threats or anything like that.
The upshot is that a couple of days later I find myself unceremoniously banned from the region without a word. No contact by the owner or anyone at the store, just banned. Is it just me or is banning a customer because you got feedback you didn’t like a bad business plan? In RL I run a small web-based business and I *value* my customers. I would *never* pull a stunt like this.
What’s unfortunate is that I was trying to go to *another* business in the region. I wonder if the other businesses there know that Michigan’s Shack is just banning people for bad feedback… If I were a business owner there *I’d* be less than thrilled with them banning customers from my store because *they* had a problem with them.
Two thumbs down to Michigan’s Shack for poor customer service. Just a word of advice to anyone visiting there – stay well away from the feedback forms. Or just tell them what they want to hear…
The Ugly: X-Clusive Animations. Again I was on a hunt yesterday and found myself at X-Clusive Animations, one of the stops on the list. Now X-Clusive is another huge store and the hint was vague. Also when I teleported in there was a lot of activity going on. Some kind of dance or something. Since the lag was high, the hint was vague, and there was a lot of gesture spamming going on I decided to skip to the next hunt location.
Now to do this, you have to use the SLURL from the hunt blog. You can’t click on it directly, so what I do is cut and paste it to local chat, and say it. then you can click on it to teleport. I did this, and had been at the next location for about 5 minutes when I get an IM from the owner of the X-Clusive Animation sim, telling me to stop spamming chat or he’ll eject me.
This confused me a bit, since I had no idea what he was talking about. After asking him, it was because I had “gave a URL to another store” in local chat. I apologized and told him what I was doing. It seems that one of his employees had reported me to him for chat spamming. To his credit, he apologized to me after figuring out the situation, but I have to say it left a bad taste in my mouth. I doubt I’ll be back.
Just a word of advice maybe for future customer relations. Maybe you should determine exactly what happened before you start IMing customers and accusing them of things. Also, maybe a little better employee training might be in order.
Edit (10/22/2011): The other day I received an IM from a representative of X-Clusive Animations saying she’d read the blog and was sorry I’d had a bad experience there and invited me to try them again. I haven’t had a chance to get back there, but this is a step in the right direction. Kudos to X-Clusive Animations for customer relations!