I have been absent from the site for the last few weeks as my main desktop PC had a malfunction. I was using my laptop in the meantime but it is so useless that even trying to open the admin section of the site was a struggle. Anyway I am not here to talk about my computer problems, what I want to talk about is my experience of customer support and how it affects us as creators.
Over the years of having products go bad, or fall apart, I, like most of you, have had the pleasure of dealing with customer support with various companies. My major impression of customer support is that it seems to be only run by snarky, rude and angry people who have no want to help you or be nice to you. I have found for the most part that these support people treat you like you are a liar, a cheat and a hassle.
Not all, I hasten to add, I recently had a brilliant customer support service via Twitter and phone with Eircom. I felt I was listened to and even though in the end they couldn’t solve my problem and I had to sort it myself, I didn’t come away from the experience feeling dirty, second class or anywhere close to turning into the Hulk.
Yes, yes, I can hear you cry: What has this got to do with comics?
Well, although we probably don’t have much need for dealing with customers with faulty or broken comics we do have to deal with our public (I am very hesitant with using the term “fans”) at conventions and get-togethers. We also deal daily with people on Facebook and twitter, and via our websites. This, I feel, may well be our customer support area.
How good are we at answering that email from a newbie asking where do we get our ideas from, or that inquisitive chap who wants to know what ink you use? Have you ever asked someone you respect on twitter something and got no response? How did that make you feel? Personally, It makes me feel bad. I am less inclined to buy their stuff and deep down I know there is a small voice inside me shouting “Well fuck you anyway, who the fuck do you think you are?, you asshole!”
Listening, I know that I am not entitled to a reply from anyone. In fact, I would suggest that people have the absolute right to ignore anyone they want. That’s not my point.
My question is this: How good are you at making the people you come into contact with feel good? Do you make sure they leave having a good experience of you or do you care? Do you resent their questions, or do you just ignore their emails?
My advice is that the next time you get asked something on twitter, email, facebook or where ever and you decide that you can’t be bothered to answer it, please remember that you may be losing a fan, a purchaser or a future contact. So even if you have answered that question a millions time, it might be worth answering it one more time.
Anyway, just a thought. I guess I just could have said “Don’t be an asshole to people” but I was in the mood to ramble.