tag: response

Posted by in indie biz

etsy shop help

today we’re going to talk about two subjects not necessarily related (hopefully!): filling custom orders and how to handle unhappy (or rude, wacky or otherwise offensive) customers.

you make it happen

let’s begin with the first subject: filling custom orders.  of course, you can do this right from the comfort of your own shop, but also through a service etsy calls alchemy.  alchemy is a space on etsy where buyers can post requests for custom goods, and sellers then bid on the opportunity to turn that idea into a real item.  personally, i’ve never ventured into the land of alchemy, but i’ve heard good things.  do you have any experience? {for more on alchemy specifically, read this article on building a better alchemy listing}.

follow your bliss

i love doing custom orders. nothing get’s me more excited than to get inspired by someone else, and make something just for them.  regardless on whether you’re using alchemy or making a custom listing in your shop, custom orders do come with a few questions and policies that you should consider before you begin.

let the sunshine in

first, you need to decide on how to charge your customer.  some charge 100% up front and others charge 50% down and 50% after approval of the finished product (before shipping).  if you charge 50% upfront you may want to specify that it is not refundable, in order to cover the costs of materials and your time.  here’s a great forum on what other sellers are charging as well as their how & why for doing it.

success

secondly, you need to decide on your refund policy for custom orders, specifically.  if it’s something you could resale in the future, you may be able to keep your existing refund policy.  however, if it’s something very specific, like a portrait, you need to let the customer know up front that once you begin, it is not refundable.

karma

now let’s talk about the unhappy, inconsiderate or otherwise unreasonable customer.  this could be in regards to a custom listing but applies to any off convo that gets your teeth to grinding!  some customers just aren’t the warm and fuzzy crafter like we all imagine.  as sellers, we must always put forth our best work.  even though difficult customers aren’t the norm, it’s nice to know that there are tons of help available to you from etsy & other great sellers!

etsy shop help

kindness and love

this article outlines how to turn a negative experience into a positive one, and also gives you some suggested responses to common issues.

*first things first, always contact your customer to acknowledge their order, thank them for it and let them know when it will ship.  making the buying experience personal from the beginning will always help put your customer at rest.

*if you do end up getting an upset customer, try to remain calm and ever so professional.  even if they are being uncooperative and unfair, it’s in your best interest to make the outcome a positive one.  so, seek help and take a deep breath (maybe even some yoga?) before you begin typing.  be understanding, kind, and offer as many solutions to the situation as possible.

*try your best to avoid getting defensive. it can be really easy to try to defend your work (or should i say 2nd child?), but placing blame or showing impatience won’t help the unpleasant situation get resolved.  try to avoid any negative, demeaning, or accusatory language like, ‘it’s not my fault’, ‘you must have’ or ‘did you not read my policies’.

random acts of kindness

*make right any mistakes you make.  wether it’s slower than promised shipping or not your tidiest work, leave the customer feeling like you care.  offer upgrades on shipping or shipping refunds, future discounts or in the most extreme cases, refunds for the product. having a clear and thought-out refund policy clearly stated in your policies section can make these difficult situations much easier.

*finally, if you get a real stickler and despite your sweet tones, apologies and suggested solutions, it might be time to thank them and move on.  better to get on with your work then spend much valuable time on someone who is just not willing to cooperate.

going, going

finally, the lovely lucinda has created one of the most useful forums i’ve ever read! there are (currently) 94 pages of incredibly thought out & positive responses to potential buyers unhappy comments and conovs. she must have an incredible background in human resources because her answers to these issues are ever so polite, thoughtful and productive towards a solution.

you can be who ever you want to be

as a few examples, she answers questions such as,

“how will i know your xxx won’t fall apart?”, “did you know xxx sells this for a lot less than you?”, and “can you tell me where you get your resources online?”.

whew! these are sticky questions!  if you can’t find your answer within the forum already, she welcomes you to add your questions- and her response are definitely worthy of your read!

tell people

so that concludes this (kinda lengthy?) shop help post.  we would all love to hear you stories, experiences, thoughts & suggestions.  will you meet us in the comment section?

xoxo, bonnie

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