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.