Feedback Frustration

There's a hard fact that all online retailers have to swallow - your reputation often means more than your products or services do.  This is, of course, because customers can't pick up your items and judge quality or usefulness for themselves.  And rather than trusting the images and the item description they often will skip right to the shop's feedback section to see what other customers thought of items they had already purchased.

I won't lie, I do it too.

But what I don't do is leave negative feedback unless it is warranted.  And even then I will let the seller have an opportunity to correct the issue before I go spewing my words all over their page.  I thought that was the norm.  I was wrong.

Since opening my shop in 2013 I've come to realize that less than stellar feedback is nearly always the result of the shopper not reading the item description fully.  "I purchased a five inch decal but I thought it would be bigger.  Minus one star."  "I ordered the 7/16 washer and was shocked at how big it is.  Minus one star."  

Now don't get me wrong - I've had my share of "She said it would be maroon.  It's clearly bright red." to which I reply, "Oh snap, you are so right.  Let me correct that for you at my expense."

Full disclosure: I don't say "Oh snap" in any regard.

It is so easy for a customer to drop a three or four star rating even if they were perfectly satisfied with their purchase because they don't realize just how much it affects the small business owner.  And when I say small business I'm referring to the one or two man shows who do everything themselves and for whom a casual mid-range feedback rating could mean a loss of future business.  

Now don't get me wrong - I'm not saying that you should sugar coat your experience with a shop just so that you don't look like "the bad guy".  Instead don't hesitate to give credit where it's due.  If you like your item and didn't have any problems with shipping then give the person props for it.  

And if some dillweed messes up your order or makes ordering from them a nightmare then yes, leave appropriate feedback.  But try to be helpful to the next customer.  A simple "This guy sucks" followed by an expletive does nothing for the next shopper.  "The package got lost in the mail and he said it's not his fault and to figure it out myself" is a lot more descriptive and comes off less like you're a jilted lover.


Packaging on a Budget

Having a shop - online especially but also a brick and mortar - it's important that your packaging be a reflection of your brand and of your business.  But let's face it - custom printed bags, earring cards, boxes, envelopes, etc can be expensive!

10 Things Handmade Sellers HATE to Hear

I could make that myself
This one is often said just after “Oh my gosh this is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!  How much is it?”.   Otherwise you hear it stage-whispered between two people as they stand over your items. 

You know what would work better…?
Usually heard from the mouth of someone who knows someone whose cousin makes the exact opposite of what you make. 

Why is your stuff so expensive?
This one is usually reserved for in-person sales situations like craft fairs and artisan shows.  And it always comes from one of two types of people: Clearance Whores or those who don’t have a crafty bone in their body and as such don’t understand how long it takes or how much goes into hand-making each item.

I saw this exact thing online for half the price
No you didn’t.  You saw something similar or something roughly the same color.  This is also a tactic by some to get you to give them a discount.

What’s your real job?
This one and it’s variation “When are you gonna get a real job?” are usually reserved for older relations.  Some people (a LOT of people) just can’t comprehend that someone could make an income with their own two hands.

Oh you sell on (Etsy, Artfire, Zibbet)?  They SUCK!
Nearly always uttered by someone who failed at the aforementioned venue, this one is heard fairly often.  Yes friends, there are even elitists among the handmade artisans.

You’ll never make a living doing this.
Just like with any small business, you won’t make a decent profit right away.  And, as with any business, you need to spend money to make money.  People who say this aren’t understanding that the term “business” applies to huge corporation AND the lone person working into the night in a home studio. 

I wish I could stay at home and craft all day.
I wish I could too.  I bet that would improve my Etsy business.  But I’ve got two kids, a husband, a home, homeschooling, and a whole slew of other responsibilities.  

I need this by tomorrow.
Oh does this one piss me off.  My processing time is clearly posted yet people STILL purchase their item and leave a note saying they need it by this day.  Good customer service makes me try to meet their needs but the rudeness of it really fries my potatoes.

I want to buy this but I don’t get paid until next month.
I have no problem holding an item for someone for a couple of days until payday.  But then there are those customers who keep requesting extensions.  Over and over and over.

I know there are more out there!  Can you think of any that I missed?