LB777

Why is it so hard for addon devs to not alienate customers?

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This past week has been the culmination of something that seems very specific to flight sim, which is that addon makers are apparently bent on trying to argue and fight against their customers for every question/remark/feedback given to them.

  • Is it so hard for ORBX to not start arguing with a known youtuber in his comment section to try and prove some sort of point?
  • Is it so hard for PMDG to answer regular questions or remarks without making essays on how said remark was stupid/rude/irrelevant?
  • Is it so hard for FSDT to accept their software might sometimes be at fault without going at war with the person reporting it?
  • Is it so hard for FSLabs to not argue about what was or wasn't in their installers and create PR disasters that people still bring up today?

Now I don't want to pick on these companies specifically, they were just the ones that came to mind but I could go on and on. My point is simply that I cannot think of any other community or industry where content makers are this good at creating a reputation around them (completely separate from the quality of their products I want to emphasize; you often see people criticizing the company but loving the addons). I do not understand it, I know speaking for myself I stopped giving a cent to half the companies I listed above, so whatever their intent was it's at least not worked for me...

As I said, this isn't a post to bash on any dev in particular, but noticing a genuine trend of hostility towards the customer that I don't comprehend. If you think I'm just seeing things and blowing it out of proportion then please tell me so and why.

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Very smart and intelligent text I might say. Seeing the drama that unfolded the past few days was just insane. It was just sad how people can be rude to one another. It is also apsurd that no one can criticize, ask, suggest, observe, without being an outcast of the community the same second he/she posts something. 

There is more drama here than in a bus full of drag queens going to a wig sale, i tell ya. 

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On a positive note  Leonardo, A2A, and TFDi seem to have a much more customer friendly atmosphere on their forums.

Those of us who spent most of our working lives in customer contact end of business know customer criticism though not pleasent to hear is the spring board to a better product or service . The ability to receive it and turn it to a positive note is a much sought after human relations skill as well as a mark of maturity. Iron sharpens iron.

Edited by PATCO LCH
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    Yes, I too have not understood the contentious back and forth diatribe over the past several years between developers and their loyal customers in this Forum.  I do realize, however, that some of those invested in this little flight simulation hobby may be borderline immature, especially in the age of instant gratification:  They want what they want when they want it...  Thus, I believe developers who respond to questions should take both that into account, as well as for common business sense.  So, bring down the temperature just down a bit.            

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I'v always tended to think its because these 3rd parties are generally too small to have anything resembling a professional customer service operation, so when you communicate with them, you are likely as not to end up communicating with the developer him/herself, who will tend to not only be massively protective of the product, but might also have a bit of a chip on their shoulder towards the behavior of customers.

From the other side, we tend to be massively demanding, impatient to the extreme, a bit entitled....... and want hugely complex products to a high standard of perfection for as cheap as possible, as well as released by yesterday.

Sounds like a volatile combination to me....

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I have been, for better or worse, on both sides of developer confrontations. Having developed some freeware, I will concur with Devon's assessment of both the developers' and the consumers' egregious behaviors. I have, on occasion, been the one throwing gasoline on the fire du jour.

Overall though, my opinion is, the developers are changing for the better at a greater pace then the consumers (EDIT: at least in public forums. Because all the developers are currently privately held financial entities, we can only guess their real market responses). We have seen, as examples, both Orbx and Milviz become much better support organizations in the last couple of years. Simultaneously, we have seen a certain "marble" vendor get his due for his business practices and a certain promising flightsim platform get some valid public criticism for slow development progress. 

My final assessment in so many of these type of discussions is "Money talks and "stuff" walks." You vote with your dollars, no matter what is typed in a comment at a forum. 

The very fact that some development companies openly participate in public forums and discussions is an encouraging sign for their futures.

Edited by charliearon
sorry, not on my watch! No warning issued...this time!

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This has always been an issue with our hobby. IMHO the best approach to lower the drama level is for web sites like AVSIM and others to step in and add software that would allow members to rate the software and hardware by the users. Some sort of system that would include say 10 areas like graphics, systems, etc. Just the normal poll type questions that would generate a star rating. No need for personal attacks just plain and simple....we like the company or not. 

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1 hour ago, HiFlyer said:

I'v always tended to think its because these 3rd parties are generally too small to have anything resembling a professional customer service operation, so when you communicate with them, you are likely as not to end up communicating with the developer him/herself, who will tend to not only be massively protective of the product, but might also have a bit of a chip on their shoulder towards the behavior of customers.

This is almost certainly true, but it doesn't abdicate anyone (both customers and company staff) of the basic courtesy of being polite when communicating. Like most people, I can put up with a lot of things, but I personally will never tolerate anyone who is rude, simply because good manners cost nothing.

And when it comes to flight sim add-ons and what I might purchase, or any product for that matter, if there are two companies who offer similar products, but one is a company where being rude to customers and potential customers is common, whereas the other company is courteous in how it communicates, well, they won't need to be a clairvoyant to know how that's going to play out in terms of where my money will go.

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An interesting article, take PMDG as an example, for a company that makes arguably the second best flightsim Aicraft (FSLABS Airbus is number 1 by a country mile). It's a shame their attitude in the forums can often come across to paying customers as at best obtuse and at worse rude and condesending. let's be honest, their products are not cheap and as a paying customer I would expect a better attitude to the customer. I think Hiflyer hits the nail on the head with his comments. I for one hope developers like PMDG can improve their customer service on the forums. 

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I have always chosen devs with good customer service using feedback in the forums to help.  I like Carenado a lot, although some do not they have good post purchase support and allowed me to upgrade my FSX aircraft (along with Alabeo) for free, years after the purchase of some, kudos for them.  Ariane was my biggest disappointment because of their livery purchase policy and prevention of repainters to post liveries in their system, so I did not purchase from them again.  Realair's demise was a disappointment, although their Duke's were available for P3D I could not remember what email I had used or password.  I emailed their former devs asking them to look me up but never received a reply.  Sad they went out of business, their Duke's were arguably the best pistons and tprops for their purchase price with outstanding flight dynamics only RealAir could do.  Xplane had been great in their post purchase support, so has their add on developer Aerobask.  Same goes for Lockheed Martin and P3D post purchase support.  Both great for our hobby.  Justflight also had great post purchase support but sadly no P3D upgrades for their Beech and for their Robinson copter.  Lastly, many freeware devs give post download support as good as the payware developers giving one the shirt off their backs.

With two major sim providers having an add on architecture that third party devs can support, plus Aerofly FS2, never have I felt the future of our hobby so bright.

John

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Hi Folks,
 

30 minutes ago, nawarren said:

An interesting article, take PMDG as an example, for a company that makes arguably the second best flightsim Aicraft (FSLABS Airbus is number 1 by a country mile). It's a shame their attitude in the forums can often come across to paying customers as at best obtuse and at worse rude and condesending. let's be honest, their products are not cheap and as a paying customer I would expect a better attitude to the customer. I think Hiflyer hits the nail on the head with his comments. I for one hope developers like PMDG can improve their customer service on the forums. 

Hi Folks,

I'm very easy to get along with - LOL - but I fully concur with this statement - reading PMDG posts and those of their support team - has caused me to steer clear of them since they released the B1900... That - and threads that contained comments critical of their company have been repeatedly deleted on the AvSim general forums - in their entirety - the very forums many of us donate to support...

I'm not expecting this one to remain for long...

Regards,
Scott

Edited by scottb613
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I remember a customer being addressed with the acronym RTFM. Read the -manual. We don't have to guess what the third letter stood for. I've never known of a company to allow an employee to address a customer or anyone in that manner and remain employed. Justified or not.

When I was working I always kept this advanced mathmatical formula when annoyed by a customer:

Customer=revenue, staff = overhead therefore customer>staff.

Seemed to work well for me. At least it kept me working.

Oh well, it is what it is, let's go fly!

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It's pure arrogance combined with the sycophantic behavior of the "Defense Force" fans which drive the responses of specific developers.  Add in the safe zone of the Internet and you see exactly what is displayed here.  Some devs would NEVER speak to their customers in the manner they do here if the customer was standing directly in front of them face-to-face.

I am but a small drop in the overall customer pool, however, I have stopped purchasing products from certain devs based on their customer relation skills.  I don't care how good their products are.  I'm not buying them.

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Passion runs amok in this community. This can be a good thing as long as honesty, integrity, responsibility, and truth are paramount; the problems begin when lacking any or all of these. Sadly the lack of these traits is happening more and more, and its becoming more and more acceptable on a whim, hence this very topic.

These can only start with us as individuals. If we all commit to these 4 traits, I know for sure there will not be a single problem that is not solved to everybody's satisfaction.

Call it a dream world if you want, but it is the truth, and it is possible.

At the very least, think before you type, drop the sarcasm, type as though you're in the same room with who you're typing to, and imagine their grandmother, mother, wife or daughter is there too. This will lead to some respect I would think.    

 

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I rarely write off-topic posts, specially when it comes to controversial ones such as this.

However, I've been watching with concern the lack of courtesy, as Alan mentioned, in the online communication between consumers and developers.

I usually purchase stuff just for the sake of supporting the developers (I.e.  I've hardly used FSDT's Charlotte... or PMDG's DC-6... or some of the Milviz birds).

Having said that, I'm evaluating my purchase decisions as of late, since I'm beginning to feel this condescending attitude is becoming more and more common by some developers, to the point of plain disrespect toward their paying customer. Some perspective is being lost... and I doubt (by reading this thread) that I'm the only one who will think it twice before giving some money to an arrogant developer.

I think this is beyond sad, because the responses being given most of the time do not reflect the quality of the products of some of these developers, so it's kind of a lose-lose situation. This could be easily solved by either investing in training for customer service, or just bringing dedicated support staff with people-skills aboard. 

 

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Totally agree with the OP.

Some of these developers price gouged us pretty good when P3D became viable for all of us "students". Most of them did not even try to smooth it over by putting the lipstick on the pig. And what did we get? The same product from FSX just ported over AND butthead comments from the devs when the community would ask why on price or lack of additional functionality. Did this happen every time? No, but it happens often enough.

Perhaps from a developer standpoint, we do come off as the mewling masses. At the end of the day, the masses are the folks who purchase... or not. Our real issue is that the FS market is so small, there's no real competition. Want a really good Airbus/Boeing? Have to deal with company XXX no matter what they said or did. Want a good XXXX scenery? Gotta deal with XXX company. They have no insensitive  to modifying their behavior or hiring someone who studied a semester in PR.

We're in sort of a tough position in our sim world. The adage "vote with your wallet" is certainly true. But if you want that plane, or that scenery you have to take the BS and hope that a competent company shows up to give us a choice. 

 

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12 minutes ago, SKEWR said:

We're in sort of a tough position in our sim world. The adage "vote with your wallet" is certainly true. But if you want that plane, or that scenery you have to take the BS and hope that a competent company shows up to give us a choice. 

 

I believe you have hit the consumers' hypocrisy and, perhaps, their emotional flaw on the head. 

Technical support is one of the highest, if not the highest, ongoing cost for developers. You buy the product, you buy their support. 

As I mentioned, some companies put themselves out in public and take the market corrections directly. This will, over time, make them better as community members. 

Edited by Henry Street

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PS: How many participants in this thread bought from the Halloween Flash sale?

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Not me. I spent my alottment for the month on the A2A Bonanza! And lovin it!

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19 minutes ago, Henry Street said:

I believe you have hit the consumers' hypocrisy and, perhaps, their emotional flaw on the head. 

Technical support is one of the highest, if not the highest, ongoing cost for developers. You buy the product, you buy their support. 

As I mentioned, some companies put themselves out in public and take the market corrections directly. This will, over time, make them better as community members. 

Yes indeed, tech support is hard and some customers shoot themselves in the foot by sending off rude support requests to devs, which sets the mood for their replies.  "The customer is always right" does not apply for customers who cross the line, as my supervisors taught me in the retail, hotel and customer software support industry.  My supervisors always backed me up when customers crossed the line and let me be direct, not rude, back to them.  Some customers perceive directness as rudeness.  When a customer starts swearing at me and expects me to be their slave, my own supervisors would remind me I was not paid enough to take that flak, and when I went into management my owners gave me the same backup.  Even supporting my freeware I ran into some demanding customers who would cross the line when I made a mistake, and my reply was simple--"sorry, I will not support you or listen to you anymore".  And when they aired their complaints online here the mods would always back me up and either lock or pull the threads altogether.

John

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1 hour ago, scottb613 said:

Hi Folks,
 

Hi Folks,

I'm very easy to get along with - LOL - but I fully concur with this statement - reading PMDG posts and those of their support team - has caused me to steer clear of them since they released the B1900... That - and threads that contained comments critical of their company have been repeatedly deleted on the AvSim general forums - in their entirety - the very forums many of us donate to support...

I'm not expecting this one to remain for long...

Regards,
Scott

Scott, you need to understand that we moderators do not moderate the PMDG forums except to enforce the Avsim TOS. So it is a bit unfair of you to make the claim that every post concerning them outside of their forum is deleted.  Posts concerning them or their products are normally moved to their forum for them to deal with. The only time we would hide a post concerning PMDG or any other "official" support forum is if it gets out of hand or violates Avsim's rules of conduct.

I personally believe that considerate and professional discussions of any vendor is acceptable as long as it doesn't cross the line. If so, then the topic will either be hidden or locked.

 

 

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Scott - Rick beat me to it but let me also add - Avsim has no issues with anyone posting a valid complaint about any developer - but when that particular thread descends into a pile on me too hatefest of xyz developer - it will be gone. The broad statement that 

14 minutes ago, 188AHC said:

and threads that contained comments critical of their company have been repeatedly deleted on the AvSim general forums - in their entirety -

is misleading as to the reason(s) behind such deletions.

Vic

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Hi Rick,

I have the utmost respect for the mods here at AvSim and the tough often unappreciated job you do around here... I always treat everyone with the same respect I would hope tp receive myself - in my nearly 3500 posts you'd be hard pressed to find one where I had a disagreement with anyone... I have personally participated in a couple threads that criticized PMDG - which I made sure was outside the purview of PMDG's private forum before posting - and they vanished as I watched... Now - granted - a mod could have moved while I watched - then it was instantly deleted by PMDG before I caught it - but it seemed unlikely at the time... I hope you are correct and I am wrong - because on a site where we come together to get feedback from other members on products and services - it seems unfair to artificially mask the true public opinion by painting a false positive... If it is not the policy of AvSim to delete threads that criticize PMDG - or allow PMDG admins to do the same in the general forum - my apologies and I retract my statement...

Regards,
Scott

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Hi Vic,

Thanks for your input as well - perhaps it was a fluke or I missed it somehow... Appreciate you guys clearing up a misconception I've held for a while and it's refreshing to hear we don't play favorites with vendors...

Regards,
Scott

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I would be interested in knowing how many of you folks have had trouble with PMDG when you've submitted a support ticket?

Grace and Peace,  

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