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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Freetard pulling my nerves

We have a free WordPress plugin. There are some pro modules etc. but the plugin is fully functional as free and most customers use it that way.

I got 1-star review from someone claiming there was no support, when I am personally answering every single support thread for this plugin. I asked him where was his unanswered support thread so he claimed there was no support. Got a "nice" response with plenty of ALL CAPS screaming how we have too little docs, we don't have Youtube videos, how I should not be defensive and giving me an order "Fix your plugin!".

I wonder is it worth "putting him in place" or should I just ignore? Do you respond bad reviews of free software and how do you react when someone is simply lying?
handzhiev Send private email
Friday, November 21, 2014
 
 
Support can easily become the most costly part of software, more costly than development or marketing.

Thus a nightmare aspect of freeware is providing support.

Of course the better the docs, tutorial vids, customer chat forum, etc, the less the company has to spend on direct support.

To finance the creation of such materials though requires time investment, which takes away from development time if the freeware developer writes it, and/or costs salary to pay the technical writers.

Those are the general comments.

To specifically answer the question, when I see "developer responded" notes on download sites where this has happened, the impressive responses are ones that maintain a neutral tone and address facts, in a polite way that makes it even more clear the non-customer is a lunatic by showing how reasonable you are in comparison. I would avoid getting dragged into a back and forth though, since there are trolls that just do this stuff for fun.
Scott Send private email
Friday, November 21, 2014
 
 
You're always going to get some undeserved negative feedback or ratings.

To be honest, what I do is explicitly ask for positive feedback from happy customers. Just to get your average rating up.

You could even consider creating different accounts and adding your own fake reviews, although the ethics of this could be questionable by some.

In general, a few negative ratings won't affect your average on the long run.
Sandy Wilkins Send private email
Friday, November 21, 2014
 
 
It sounds like you were a bit defensive.

Your first reply should have been:

"Sorry you've had a problem; our support page can be found at http://swabble.com or you can email support@swabble.com"

No one can now say that you don't have support.

Your next response should be:

"Please submit a support request at http://... so we can fix your problem"

Never put someone in their place. Smother them with a "I'm trying to fix your problem as best as I can" attitude.
koan Send private email
Friday, November 21, 2014
 
 
>I wonder is it worth "putting him in place"

No. There is no upside and lots of potential downside.
Andy Brice Send private email
Friday, November 21, 2014
 
 
Thanks for the feedback, I'll just calm down.

I know it's not a big deal but it's damn frustrating when a free user behaves like that and pretends to be the big boss.
handzhiev Send private email
Friday, November 21, 2014
 
 
It is frustrating. I've also had a really annoying entitled customer recently. I really went above and beyond to try and help with his odd requests and just got rude emails in return, statements about how important he was, demands for phone support (which I don't do), followed by a refund request (2 days too late, ha!).

This might cheer you up.
http://successfulsoftware.net/2010/11/21/problem-exists-between-keyboard-and-chair/
Andy Brice Send private email
Friday, November 21, 2014
 
 
Ah yes, that's a lovely post, Andy! Worths re-reading once in a while
handzhiev Send private email
Friday, November 21, 2014
 
 
Just write politely that you are very sorry and they can return their copy of your plugin for a full refund.
Dmitry Leskov Send private email
Friday, November 21, 2014
 
 
He didn't pay anything Dmitry,  he's a free user :)
handzhiev Send private email
Friday, November 21, 2014
 
 
@handzhiev: Exactly.
Dmitry Leskov Send private email
Friday, November 21, 2014
 
 
Scorpio Send private email
Friday, November 21, 2014
 
 
++koan's advice. Very concise and to the point. Really nice summary of the basic principles. koan, you rock. Everybody, thread is done.
Scott Send private email
Friday, November 21, 2014
 
 
"Thanks for the feedback, I'll just calm down. "

Yes, FWIW, I have the same reaction as you. Someone is pushing your buttons? Grr! But that's what they want isn't it. The easy countermove is to attack back. But that's what they often are not only expecting but hoping for, and it just turns into a situation where we volunteered to play their game. So the way out is to do something different.
Scott Send private email
Friday, November 21, 2014
 
 
I agree with Koan and Andy.  The way I see it, the user is the Ultimate Big Boss.  And collectively, they are far more powerful than even the CEO of a company.
C. Stark Send private email
Sunday, November 23, 2014
 
 
The best advice is obviously to ignore. But it is very hard to do sometimes. If you just can't get over it, there's another good advice for you: "Troll back!" :) As hard as you can.
Dmitri Popov Send private email
Monday, November 24, 2014
 
 
Honestly, Dmitri's suggestion is an amazing one and good for your personal psychological well being. Why be a "pussy" who takes abuse from random anonymous morons? It is pretty shit to do that.

Going the path of talking back to jackasses though is a very difficult path to take because being yourself, having a personality, or being a warrior are not accepted in the modern society.

If you can pull it off though you are a warrior worthy of massive respect.

And possibly bankrupt and unemployable in the weak euro-american PC correct societies.
Scott Send private email
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
 
 
Andy Brice Send private email
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
 
 

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