The shittiest are the customers
Author Valco Laboratoriot
Since last autumn (autumn 2017) I have been running this vague little online shop. Economically, this does not produce anything, but mentally, running your own small shop is quite a fun hobby.
Customer service in general is a really nice job, answering messages and dealing with returns or warranty exchanges. The only downside really is that you have to deal with customers. Luckily, though, there's an online shop, so you never have to meet anyone.
Although we have had this shop for less than a year, little by little, with the wisdom of three university courses, we have been able to identify the different types of customers in an online shop. Since a quick Google search showed that no one else had understood how to do this, we decided to write about the types we encountered a little.
- The unpurchased complainer
A non-buying complainer is someone who isn't even ordering anything, but still makes it their business to tell you that the product you're selling is crap or can be found cheaper elsewhere. These only work on the internet. In the real world, the same people would hardly go to the entrance of a supermarket to shout that you have shit vegetables and that Nikkei knife set is cheaper on the shopping TV.
The motivation of the non-buyer is still a great mystery to mankind. Our customer service policy is to instruct these people to order the better product from a different place.
The order has been placed. Order confirmation did not arrive immediately. I will email the seller. Now it came. I send another email saying the confirmation has arrived. Oh, I forgot to ask if batteries are included. I'll email you about that too. The seller did not reply within an hour. I ask again. I also ask if the package will be sent by post or to the K-market's vending machine.
The email bunny is busy and the messages arrive faster than anyone can respond to them. However, we try to answer all questions, even if it gets annoying in the long run.
- Stupid (and nasty)
Some people are just plain fucking stupid. There's no getting away from it with good intentions. Even if there's only one button on the device, pressing it is overwhelming for someone. Stupidity is usually coupled with the fact that the instructions for use are certainly not read. Somehow, too, the dumbest always have the most fragile ego, so it's always everyone else's fault. The product is crap, you don't know how to advise and "I've done everything right".
We take the criticisms kindly, advise patiently and ask you to return the shitty product. Mysteriously, the returns these fools put up always work when you try it yourself.
- Value for money
Some people just can't get it through their heads that a Chinese thing for a few quid - which in itself does a pretty good job - isn't quite as good as something ten times as expensive. The disappointment is certainly similar to that of my spouse in bed, but where the spouse turns his back and dreams of real men, the customer decides to complain about everything he can think of. Almost invariably, however, the complaint results in the product not being returned, because the customer knows that it is the best that money can buy. As long as the complaint was made.
From a customer service perspective, these people are not bad. We are used to disappointing others. Our own father, for example. Since childhood. We know how to deal with it.
Everyone has at least one of these annoying fucking guys who knows everything about everything and even if he's wrong, he won't admit it. They usually have no agenda other than to prove their own superiority by educating you how a 1000€ more expensive device is so much better than your product. They also tend to have a better knowledge of how to do online sales or marketing.
These people are usually failures in life. We feel sympathy for them and try to pretend that we care.
- The injured
This is not a real customer group, but every time you send out a newsletter, some fat person comes along and whines that you shouldn't say that. Then, in retaliation, he cancels the subscription to the newsletter because the headline says "fuck". These insulting people are everywhere now and we have a conscious strategy to try to weed them out of our customer base.
The best thing about being an entrepreneur is that you can tell someone to fuck off if you want to. Nowadays, everyone gives in to these people, so the reaction is palpable when the whine of the complainant is ignored.
- The ghost
As a bachelor, I got used to the fact that women always just mysteriously disappeared after a couple of messages or at the latest after the first date. As a shopkeeper, I've encountered a similar phenomenon a couple of times. First you ask a lot of questions or send a message about something completely justified, e.g. a product return. Then when you try to answer it, the guy has disappeared like a fart in the Sahara.
There's not really anything you can do about it, but it's a bit confusing when first there's something important that should be taken care of, but then if you start to take care of it, the guy disappears completely.
- Dude bum
You would think that if a friend has a shop or other business, then by doing business there you are supporting the friend's business. But that's not how it works. Of course, the friend's business pumps out free samples and heavy discounts. Then, of course, when you are so nice, you always give your friends discounts and wonder at the end of the month when you can't afford to buy grandma's cancer drugs and the bailout takes your kids.
This is not a big problem for us, as we have no friends. Besides, this shop is not really a livelihood for us. I live on a city subsidy and the guy is a pensioner.
- The worst of all
There is one customer segment that remarkably often combines all the above characteristics. Namely, a certain type of female customer. In English, there is a term for this type of person - Karen. There is no Finnish term for this, so the English one is used.
Karen asks questions and complains in advance, sends a million emails after ordering a product, doesn't know how to use it, complains, returns, is disappointed and offended. Then Karen wants to complain to the CEO.
Fortunately, not all women are such female customers. Some women are just ordinary customers. There are also trans customers who are men until they start to shop online as Karen.
It is always a good idea to try to piss off these customers well in advance of the purchase. Then they won't buy and the retailer will save a pretty penny in returns and explanation time - not to mention nerves.
- All the others
The fact is that these types of customers make up about 1% of online shoppers. Usually, those examples are still personalised with a particular piece of shit (maybe you).
The majority of retail customers are completely inconspicuous. The product is ordered, it arrives in the mail and that's it. The customer is happy when nothing is heard about it.
Then we have the 5% of customers who are absolutely brilliant, who you're happy to write to on Facebook or send an email to. A lot of them you'd love to have a beer with. The easy way to ensure good customer service is to just be nice in general.