Managing Customer Expectations
One way to ensure that you remain sane and that your customers remain satisfied with you and your products is to manage their expectations. If you tell them that you always get back to support requests within two hours, but realistically it's more like within 3–8 hours, they will likely be frustrated with your customer service when they haven't heard from you within two hours. If you don't specify how long it takes you to get back to support requests, some customers will expect a request within 5 minutes and others within 5 days. Being honest with yourself and your customers is key to making sure that everybody knows what to expect in your business relationship.
Set Your Boundaries, Identify Your Abilities
The clearer you are about what customers can expect from you, the better. In some cases, particularly regarding communication-related issues, in order to be clear, you will need to first establish boundaries. Boundaries are the limits of what you can do or will accept. Try answering the following questions to see where some of your boundaries are:
- Will you respond to support requests within 1 hour? 4 hours? 12 hours? 24 hours? 48 hours?
- Do you address product-related questions on weekends or local holidays? What is local?
- Will you tolerate off-color language? Will you tolerate coarse or vulgar language?
- Are you able to respond to support requests in one language or multiple languages? What is/are those languages?
Whatever your boundaries and abilities are, you don't need to explain or justify them. It is, however, in your best interest to make them clear to your customers in the most pleasant way possible. Why? Because then you will have something to refer to if and when conflicts arise. If you explicitly say that you will return support requests within 24 hours and a customer becomes frustrated because they haven't heard back within 12, you can point them to the notice in your product description indicating that you would get back to them within 24.
Be Transparent About the Features and Limitations of Your Product
Transparency is the best approach to selling your products. Make it clear what your products can and cannot do and whether or not customers can expect updates (and if they will have to pay for them). Any subsequent misunderstandings will not be the result of misrepresentations or omissions on your part. If a customer knows what they are getting, e.g., a low poly but not game ready asset, they won't end up with Buyer's Remorse (or the more unpleasant Reviewer's Rage) after the sale is complete.