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WarpD

An interesting topic...

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A great deal of time I see people who deride and attack a developer over issues that are not necessarily 'global' in nature. As example, the addon doesn't support their favorite personal and custom swizzle stick. They believe 'the customer is always right' and will use that belief to attempt to beat the developer into submission. They will cry loud and hard in public places and will toss out no end of claims regarding the developer.Well, here's food for thought: http://positivesharing.com/2006/07/why-the...stomer-service/

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A great deal of time I see people who deride and attack a developer over issues that are not necessarily 'global' in nature. As example, the addon doesn't support their favorite personal and custom swizzle stick. They believe 'the customer is always right' and will use that belief to attempt to beat the developer into submission. They will cry loud and hard in public places and will toss out no end of claims regarding the developer.Well, here's food for thought: http://positivesharing.com/2006/07/why-the...stomer-service/
Years ago, when I worked retail, my motto was: "Treat me right and I'll make sure you're happy - treat me wrong and I'll throw you out of the store...". It seemed to work pretty well.DJ

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A great deal of time I see people who deride and attack a developer over issues that are not necessarily 'global' in nature. As example, the addon doesn't support their favorite personal and custom swizzle stick. They believe 'the customer is always right' and will use that belief to attempt to beat the developer into submission. They will cry loud and hard in public places and will toss out no end of claims regarding the developer.Well, here's food for thought: http://positivesharing.com/2006/07/why-the...stomer-service/
I have never been of the mindset that the customer is always right. They aren't. You knock on my door politely and submit your request and you will be invited in. You kick my door in and wave your arms and you will be handed your rear end. If you are lucky.Its that simple. Good link and good post Ed.By the way, Flight1 services let you always be "right" by allowing you a full refund within 30 days of purchase. No questions asked. Beyond that... you better behave. :( p.s. Most of our customers are great. But every once in a while.....Jim

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Jim, you are quite correct. We've never considered the "customer is always right" approach as a viable support effort.It is too abundantly clear that customers are NOT always right for anyone to take such an approach.However the "customer IS always the customer" and has the privilege of product support as long as he conducts himself in a reasonable and respectful manner.In our view, the moment a customer crosses the line into dishonesty, disrespect, deceit, or spreading of misinformation, he forfeits the priviledge of product support. In our case, only registered support forum members in good standing are provided product support. If such a customer then exhibits the same behaviour in public forums he should be called out and his agenda recognized by all.Unfortunately the internet sometimes allows such people to do great harm before they are recognized and dealt with. :(

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I'd say I've got to agree with the article as well. A couple years ago prior to my experience at the grocery store, I would have probably thought otherwise.Whilst our store tries our very best to please all of our customers, even the unpleasant ones, the managers are not afraid to boot the worst out the door. There have also been numerous occasions where we get a complaint at the customer desk from nasty customers and later they actually call the store and complain to the managers that they were treated unfairly. It's a lot of fun listening to all the comments on the headset when that happens. :(It is definitely the duty of the company to serve and assist customers to the best of their abilities. However, there's always going to be that special place outside in the rain for those who decide to be unpleasant. Treat others as you wish to be treated?

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The behaviour of some customers is beyond the pale and at times borders on lunacy.It seems to stem from the last two or three decades of "consumer advocacy groups" practice of "complaints and boycotts".That mentality seems to be highly developed in the FS Community and has, over the past twelve months or so, reached a point where developers are now having to take matters into their own hands in showing certain customers the exit.Oh there will be some jawboneing and nashing of teeth about vendor product support being awful, terrible, intolerable, or any other adjective they choose because the last thing those folks wish to acknowledge is that they are NOT always right.Nonetheless there is hope that they will indeed acknowledge the truth if only within themselves, and begin to conduct themselves in a more mature manner. :(

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The point of the discussion is more about the base concept that customers have an inherent belief that they are right, simply because they paid.As a consumer, when I purchase something I expect to get what I purchase. However, I never delude myself into believing my purchase entitles me to more than what was actually offered.Purchase of an FS addon aircraft, as example, doesn't come with type-rating level flight training. Nor does it come with custom coding to support my personal favorite swizzle stick. It's a product designed to meet the desires and needs of a broader range of customers and in that respect is quite literally 'generic' in design.The truth is... the customer is not right, the customer was never right. The customer was, simply that... the customer. They made a purchase decision based on desire and hopefully knowledge regarding their potential purchase. A select few however added unrealistic expectations to their order at no extra cost. :( When that happens, everyone ends up paying the 'price'.

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As an "ordinary" member (ie not a commercial member) and customer of many various addons in the FS world, I can only agree with you all. Purchasing a product, whatever it is, has never given the customer some God-given right to abuse the vendor. I have always believed and experienced that a fair, honest, informative, and polite request for support is answered with polite and informative help.I have had cause many times, on various product support fora on the Net, to shake my head and bite my lip, because of quite simply vitriolic, almost hate mail like attacks on support staff because the XYZ valve doesn't open as it should when the ABC switch is thrown, or whatever... It makes you wonder who their parents are... :(It is always a breath of forum fresh air to read when customers write in to thank the support team for their help, even if it is considered self-explanatory as part of a service... courtesy and politeness go a long way. I wish that some would think a little about the possible effect of their post on the reader prior to hitting the send button...Thanks for posting the link, it certainly does make interesting reading...Andrew

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Years ago when I worked for Tandy Corporation, first as a "Salesmaker" then later advancing through the ranks to Store Manager, and eventually District Manager, the corporate attitude was simply this:

The customer is not always right, but is always a customer.The lifetime value of a customer far exceeds the loss of a single sale.
While the above model will serve well for any business where there exists the potential for lifetime sales to any specific customer (or the customer's family and friends), it does not serve so well for the FS cottage industry, except insofar as negative word-of-mouth can adversely affect acquiring new customers.From: A Satisfied Customer Isn't Enough http://hbswk.hbs.edu/archive/5236.html
Detractors ... are responsible for 80 to 90 percent of the negative word of mouth, and the cost of this drag on growth should be allocated to them. Perhaps the easiest way to estimate the cost is to determine how many positive comments are neutralized by one negative comment and how many potential referrals have therefore been lost. This number can be accurately determined only through customer interviews, but for an initial estimate it's safe to assume that each negative comment neutralizes from three to ten positives. For example, consider the process you might go through in searching for a dentist when you move to a new town. If you hear one negative comment about a particular dentist from a trusted friend or colleague, how many positive comments will you need to hear before you select that dentist?
It seems to me that there needs to be a way to turn customers into promoters, such that their positive comments and recommendations will mitigate the negative comments from "detractors" (i.e., unsatisfied, refunded or banned customers), while at the same time not allowing ourselves to fall into the bend-over-forward position... :( Perhaps one way would be to rethink the use of inappropriate smiles for example. Ban the use of the "rolling eyes" for one! I personally am offended by that one in particular. :( Just say :( to it! B)

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As an "outsider" here meaning not a developer I would like to extend a thanks for all the hard work that you guys and other developers do that keep FS interesting with the wide assortment of addons.It's too bad that the internet has turned into a "wild west" atmosphere where customers lash out at developers and can't keep their cool. Likely many of these people would never speak to someone face to face like this in person, but hide behind the internet and use it as an excuse to act the way they do.It's true that negative comments regarding a product can play on our decision on whether to buy or not. Such is the case with Captin Sim products. After years of hearing people bad mouth thier products I never would consider buying one of them. It wasn't until a sale they had during the holidays that I bought a few of their products (727 & C-130) and both of them ended up being a few of my favorite planes to fly. Granted they aren't perfect and have a few little things issues here and there, but overall I like them a lot and wish I had bought them both years ago.I think that like someone else said, it's a lot easier to scare people out of buying something, than it is to excite them into buying. Its kind of like that in the business that I am in. I work as an independant trader and anyone who follows the stock market will notice that stock prices tend to go down a lot faster than they go up. All because of fear of ownership. Works the same way as a consumer, you hear one or two bad comments and they tend to weigh on your mind a lot more than the good comments.Ironically, too many times the ones making all the complaints about FS products are often times people who own pirtated versions of the product they are having an issue with. You try to direct them to the companies website/forum for support and often times they wont take the advice for fear that they will be caught. Too funny was a guy complaining about a certain FlyTampa product that he was having trouble with. When he finally made it too their website he was asked to see a screen shot of what the problem was. Once he had posted the shot, the developer replied that the reason he was having the said proplem was because he was using the "Pirate Bay" version that the developer had uploaded. :( Anyways, I have strayed way of the topic you guys have started here, but let me thank you all for the hard work you do. I hope that none of you let the idiots and jerks who post the nonsense and have unrealistic ideas of what an FS product should do or have will keep you from developing in the future. Even though I have no stats to back this up, I would say that for every one dissatisfied customer they are probably countless more that are satisfied and will continue to buy.RegardsSean

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Thanks Sean, this hardly seems to be straying from the topic. Eds post is not restricted to "commercial developers" but rather "food for thought" to the community.Excellent insight shown in your post. I especially enjoyed the instance of CS purchase DESPITE the detractors.It seems that those who operate with their "detractors agenda" actually wish to harm a development house and hamper sales.The question is why? Do they not understand or care that to mitigate sales is to hamper production on other projects resulting in harm to the overall FS Community? They, like FS thieves, only care about themselves, not the community as a whole. :(

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Thanks Sean, this hardly seems to be straying from the topic. Eds post is not restricted to "commercial developers" but rather "food for thought" to the community.Excellent insight shown in your post. I especially enjoyed the instance of CS purchase DESPITE the detractors.It seems that those who operate with their "detractors agenda" actually wish to harm a development house and hamper sales.The question is why? Do they not understand or care that to mitigate sales is to hamper production on other projects resulting in harm to the overall FS Community? They, like FS thieves, only care about themselves, not the community as a whole. :(
Captain Sim, FSD, Ariane, Papa Tango, SSW, FlightScenery, Wilco Publishing...there is a long list of developers and publishers that have histories of poor or no customer support after the sale (i.e. closing down forums, not answering e-mails, etc), or of accusing customers of being pirates when they can't install a product they paid for, practicing bait-and-switch sales schemes on a website that advertises a sale price and then charges them full price, or promising updates and fixes that never come, or just disappearing entirely. It's entirely legit to point that out when their name comes up, and until those that do abuse their customers mend their ways, people SHOULD be warned about how they operate. If their sales are mitigated...SEVERELY mitigated, even...then so be it until their behavior changes.I remember one of the Captain Sim devs posting something to the effect that "we are ex-soviet military and we know how to deal with traitors" in reference to complaining customers on their support website when a major release was fouled up and people were complaining in droves. The usual support answer from them is a canned e-mail that may or may not have anything to do with the problem at hand. Their exterior-model only and "block" marketing schemes have left many a simmer that hasn't been around to know better with a half-completed essentially unuseable product for months and years.We've seen many, many people come onto these forums and complain that a request for support from FSD turned into an accusation of piracy when a system problem prevented installation of the product or migration to a new machine.Peter Tishma and Papa Tango tried to assert ownership of the American Airlines trademark logo on any and all aircraft add-ons, among other major and heinous transgressions against the community.I know people that waited weeks to get an answer from Ariane for a product key after giving them their money.FlightScenery, as far as I know, is still today selling products for which the developer hasn't bothered to come onto his forum to support in years.Support requests for Wilco products are transmitted in the blind to a message hopper that's like the roach motel for support...the requests go in, but rarely does anything come out.So you're not all shining knights, doing right by your customers and getting no love (or money) in exchange. There are bad actors out there wearing developer hats, and sometimes even the better companies produce or market a flaky product that people should be warned about. And those doing the warning are not the equivalent of "FS thieves" for warning others about their bad experiences. The fact that they do warn others about bad products or customer support indicates they do care for the community and not just themselves.RegardsBob ScottColonel, USAF (ret)ATP IMEL Gulfstream II-III-IV-VColorado Springs, CO

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Mr. Scott well said!To the developers and to Mr. Ed Wilson.What is the point of this post? Does this post bring the community together or further erode relations? Are you pleading your case and just publicly venting or are you really promoting peace? Why would any developer or associate of a developer publicly put down the customers whether you feel we are right or wrong? You may feel that way privately but just why would you state so publicly? I just don't get it! When a customer (or non customer) blasts a developer he has an agenda and is then flame broiled to a crisp by the developer.When a developer has a issue with a customer(s) we are all supposed to sympathize with the developer.Tell me how this bickering FROM BOTH SIDES is supposed to help the community?Look all I'm asking here is for the developers (and paticularly a certain one) to take a look in the mirror and you just may find PART of the problem!

Perhaps one way would be to rethink the use of inappropriate smiles for example. Ban the use of the "rolling eyes" for one! I personally am offended by that one in particular. :(Just say :( to it! :(
That bothers you? Ok. But sometime ago you said in a post "and I are not the problem" and added :( and you know what? I have been terribly offended each time since then that you use that emoticon! Why don't we just ban all of the emoticons since how and when they are used offends you. Or was that some joke I didn't get?And while we're at it why doesn't someone ban the word "agenda" on this forum because it's use is really getting old guys!
Once he had posted the shot, the developer replied that the reason he was having the said proplem was because he was using the "Pirate Bay" version that the developer had uploaded
Last time I checked that was called entrapment and it is really sad if developers have gone that far whether warranted or not.So anyway my post is not one of hate but one of peace. Everybody needs to think three times before making a post because this crap from both sides isn't helping. Some may say this topic is "food for thought" but to whom? Customers? Developers?You guys had to know that this post was just going to rub some the wrong way. So what was the point? What was your agenda!Todd

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Of course customers are not always right but, as Bob Scott points out, neither are developers.A decision to buy anything is based on wider aspects than just the quality of the product. These wider aspects include the reputation and attitude of the supplier. This, and other similar, forums provide the information to allow potential customers to make reasoned decisions based on all factors - quality, reputation and attitude. In somes cases the information is feed-back provided by purchasers: in others it's directly from the developers - sometimes counter-productively.

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Mr. Scott well said!To the developers and to Mr. Ed Wilson.What is the point of this post? You guys had to know that this post was just going to rub some the wrong way. So what was the point? What was your agenda!Todd
No agenda from me. And my post is to the point. The customer is not always right. Period.If I have to spend more time arguing with someone or trying defend an accusation than what I make on the product, than I do not need that customer. The internet provides a perfect medium for anyone that gets a wild hair up and wants to trash a product or a developer for either a legitimate complaint or one as simple as the customers did not follow directions or even posses simple computer skills required to use / install the product or keep their computer configured properly let alone have a computer even capable. Once the fire is set, it can burn out of control as we have seen here before. I cannot say that this is really much of a problem for me, but I see how it can be.Some developers need to be brought to the wood shed. But it isn't wrong to hear any of their perspectives either just because you don't care to hear it. Like I said earlier, if you come to me with a request or concern and are civil and courteous, you will have my full attention.These forums should not be exclusive to either the enthusiast / customer which in many case have no real names or the developers who are either well known or tagged as commercial. So, again... the customer is not always right. That simple. I have a simple policy. If you do not agree with me, you get your money back. And if you choose to get your money back, you should have no issue or platform.If you do, than you very well may have an agenda. Personally I don't think the word agenda is any more mis-used than the word "immersion" but that is another story on its own... :( Bottom line is that there are in many cases 2 sides to the coin and the internet / forum medium does not always reflect this.Jim

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This isn't about customer service. That's an error on your part to make that assumption.This is about when someone purchases something and then when it doesn't meet their expectations they attempt to use "the customer is always right" as a battleaxe to break through the "barriers" and get what they want. Of course... this isn't just an FS addon topic... but then, that's really easy to forget. I'm willing to bet all of us at one time or another have used "the customer is always right" as a way to force or coerce a business to cave in to our demands.So... if you and Mr. Scott think this is all about customer service and bad-mouthing FS developers.... congratulations... you missed the point!

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Captain Sim, FSD, Ariane, Papa Tango, SSW, FlightScenery, Wilco Publishing...there is a long list of developers and publishers that have histories of poor or no customer support after the sale (i.e. closing down forums, not answering e-mails, etc), or of accusing customers of being pirates when they can't install a product they paid for, practicing bait-and-switch sales schemes on a website that advertises a sale price and then charges them full price, or promising updates and fixes that never come, or just disappearing entirely. It's entirely legit to point that out when their name comes up, and until those that do abuse their customers mend their ways, people SHOULD be warned about how they operate. If their sales are mitigated...SEVERELY mitigated, even...then so be it until their behavior changes.------------FlightScenery, as far as I know, is still today selling products for which the developer hasn't bothered to come onto his forum to support in years.Support requests for Wilco products are transmitted in the blind to a message hopper that's like the roach motel for support...the requests go in, but rarely does anything come out.So you're not all shining knights, doing right by your customers and getting no love (or money) in exchange. There are bad actors out there wearing developer hats, and sometimes even the better companies produce or market a flaky product that people should be warned about. And those doing the warning are not the equivalent of "FS thieves" for warning others about their bad experiences. The fact that they do warn others about bad products or customer support indicates they do care for the community and not just themselves.RegardsBob ScottColonel, USAF (ret)ATP IMEL Gulfstream II-III-IV-VColorado Springs, CO
Bob, you may be surprised to know that we agree on a number of the points you've posted. The OP post looks at the issue of whether the "customer is always right" or even if "he ever was always right?"It is abundantly clear that that phrase has been used as a club or battleaxe against legitimate and illigitimate business alike since it was coined.Note that the question is not asked about vendors, developers, or business folks because it is abundantly clear that vendors, developers, or business folks "are NOT always right". That is the proximate cause for the phrase Caveat Emptor. :( What is most troubling about the current situation in the FS Community is that there are those who take up a negative agenda under the guise of a "chicken little" who feels he must "warn the community" about company A, B, or C lest the ignorant fellow simmer be taken advantage of.That, alongside the outright madness of users causing themselves to be banned from support forums then bringing their agenda to the public under the guize of "support questions" has now reached unacceptable levels.We happen to believe that the silent majority of FS Users are much too intelligent to fall for these silly games and do actually see through the agendas as they are presently practiced. :(

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Todd, I see a reasonably mature "food for thought" discussion.

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Of course customers are not always right but, as Bob Scott points out, neither are developers.A decision to buy anything is based on wider aspects than just the quality of the product. These wider aspects include the reputation and attitude of the supplier. This, and other similar, forums provide the information to allow potential customers to make reasoned decisions based on all factors - quality, reputation and attitude. In somes cases the information is feed-back provided by purchasers: in others it's directly from the developers - sometimes counter-productively.
Agreed, the "developer is NOT always right" anymore than the "customer is always right".From our perspective, we run a simple retail model, nothing more or less.That means that we have certain responsibilities to meet regarding product design, implimentation, and sale.That also means that we have certain product support obligations such as documention and support forums where best interests of legitimate customers is protected.That also includes a refund option for those we are unable to satisfy.At no time do we have an obligation to answer product support questions in public foums.Product support questions must be placed in our Support Forums by registerd Forum Members in good standing.At no time are we obligated to be a "doormat" for unruly or just plain inacurate "customers".Too often, legitimate and illegitimate users alike register. The illegimate user then proceeds to behave towards us in a such a way as to be banned, then goes to the nearest public forum, and restarts his agenda under some "ploy" such as "warning the folks" about vendor ABC.Not a very wholesome game is it?The net result is that user usually has a spotlight and proceeds to distribute misinformation and the gullible "chime in or gang up" on the vendor who happens to be the "flavor for that week." This game has been perpetrated all too often on every development house you can name. Some deservedly, others, not so much. :(

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I'll state again... hopefully everyone will notice: This isn't a discussion about support. It's a discussion about making a purchase and then berating the retailer over trivial or non-essential expectations that were never promised or discussed before purchase.It's about the inherent belief that "the customer is always right" and it's base invalid premise. This isn't just in the FS addon world, it's everywhere.

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Well put Ed. The principles discussed here apply to all retail/wholesale businesses and their customers. :(

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Perhaps one way would be to rethink the use of inappropriate smiles for example. Ban the use of the "rolling eyes" for one! I personally am offended by that one in particular.
That bothers you? Ok. But sometime ago you said in a post "and I are not the problem" and added :( and you know what? I have been terribly offended each time since then that you use that emoticon!
Todd, that tongue-in-cheek comment of mine was directed towards one specific individual. My point being that replies from developers should be as polite, professional and well-mannered as possible.The misuse of an emoticon that implies any degree of sarcasm or scorn (such as the rolling-eyes) completely destroys any such intention, and most often causes the actual answer to be ignored.And yes, I'm quite certain that I myself have been guilty of unintentionally using an inappropriate emoticon on occasion... :(

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Ed, Ron, and Bill thank you for your responses.I understand what you are saying now and can understand your concerns.My apologies for misunderstanding your intentions.Todd

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Ed, Ron, and Bill thank you for your responses.I understand what you are saying now and can understand your concerns.My apologies for misunderstanding your intentions.Todd
No problem Todd. Thanks for the interaction. :(

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In the command economies of socialist eastern-europe customers (there were no consumers) had to accept what it was decided (by others) they could have, and were expected to be grateful for what they got.Like it or not the world has changed and moaning in these forums about consumer behaviour isn't going to change it. Sellers of anything, including FS add-ons (which are luxury goods) need to accept that they are going to be criticised (whether they think it if fair or not) and respond accordingly. Coming into these forums and announcing that whether of not purchasers get support is at the developers sole discretion is surely counter-productive? Incidentally, I've previously wondered why purchasers of a typical $50 add-on expect an unlimited one-to-one support service. A common complaint is "I e-mailed xxxx and I haven't had a reply". The answer to that is surely to ask why should you expect it - what other software providers offer that service - Microsoft, Adobe, Discrete? I suggest that it's basically unaffordable. The average earnings in the USA are about US$19/hour http://fxtradeinfocenter.oanda.com/fxecono...hourly-earnings . Allowing for overheads, the actual cost of employment must be at least about $30/hour. If it takes, say 10 min, to deal with and reply to an email query that costs $5, which is probably of the same order of net profit on the sale! Maybe add-on developers should devote more effort to documentation and abandon support services? It could be argued that some have already done this.Finally, if FS developers think they are hard done by let me quote from a restaurant review in the UK Sunday Times last week. The restaurant reviewed was in a 15th century building that is reputed to be haunted. The headline read A decent lunch? Not a ghost of a chance here? A key comment in the review was "... very good for the diet because you can't eat anything - the food is like lead"http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_...inners_dinners/

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