This is the eleventh installment in a series of discussion about doing the biz on Etsy. And when I say “discussion,” I mean “We are young! Heartache to heartache we stand!”
* Wry sometimes uses adult language. OK? OK.
Treat me right!
Well that’s what Pat Benatar said and as far as I know, she’s never been wrong about anything. Love is a battlefield, and we are, in fact, running from the shadows in the night. And while I normally live by the creed set forth in her notable hit “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” – being that I am a tough cookie and I have long history of breaking little hearts, there is one group of folks here that I am always trying to treat right. Yes, yep, you know it…the customers.
It has been well documented here that I am a big proponent of people running their shops as they see fit. What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa. But I do have a few golden rules in my head regarding customer service, and I will admit that when I see the rules broken or bent by others, I flinch a little. So I will share those few rules with you today – take them or leave them. After all, it’s not you I care about jerkface, it’s my customers. Unless, of course, you might like to buy something….then let the kowtowing commence!!
1. Communicate with them.
So first we have the obvious idea that if someone buys something from you, say thanks. Now, how this will happen is an individual thing done in many ways by many different sellers. My way is to send a thank you convo at the time of purchase that gives the projected shipping date. And then you are not going to hear from me again unless I have a problem. I do not send another thank you by way of a special note in the package, but I do send freebies – they are fun and useful items. Some people convo at the time of sale, send another message upon shipping and then pack up special thank you notes. No one way works for everyone but you need to do this in some way. Nothing is worse than being in a shop and making a purchase and having the acned emo clerk with the bad eyeliner job fail to even make eye contact with you, let alone mumble a “thank you’ through their braces. As Pat Benatar rightly pointed out, we live for love.
MAN, SHE IS AWESOME! Is there anything she doesn’t know?
But second, and even more important in my mind, is to communicate with your customers if things are not going well. If you have a problem with their order, tell them. That means if you can’t ship on time, if something has to change about the item being shipped, or anything like this – you have to tell them. If you don’t tell them, when the item hasn’t shown up in a month or shows up and is not as ordered, you will look like a jerk. Word of mouth is a powerful tool and disgruntlement talks.
2. Don’t communicate about them.
Keep your business to yourself. If you are having trouble with a customer, find a mentor to talk with, go to a real world person, convo someone at etsy and ask to speak to them about it. Do not come in to the forums and gob on about how mad you are, how much of a jerk that person was, how horribly it all went. You may be entirely in the right – customers are like any other people, some of them are great and some maybe not so great – but when you show up in a public forum griping about them,. This sends a clear signal to any potential customer watching that you are willing to talk about private transaction matters in a public way. That makes you look like a dick. A dick who can’t be trusted to keep business transactions private. Sure, you could be right about that one customer being a jerk, or ripping you off, but you just painted yourself with the shitty stick at the same time. There’s not much that can put me off buying from someone when I see and object of want… as Pat Benatar said in her album Get Nervous, I’ll take it any way I want it! But I get nervous around sellers who are willing to post their private conversation or transaction details in a public forum. So how fast I would abandon Amazon if griped publicly about me to Chapters.
Also, if you have some nice glowing things you want to say about a customer, it’s still best to think for a minute about whether or not they want their transaction with you to be made public. Yes, things people buy and sell are pretty visible on Etsy (that’s a whole different gripe and another topic all together) but there’s a difference between that and you putting it out there for them. So that’s a call you have to make.
And really, that’s it. Those are my two big rules for dealing with customers. Be nice and respect the privacy of the transaction. I do have a rule number three….it’s Respect the Mighty Power that is Pat Benatar or She Will Sing Your Ass Off! YEAH!
I just couldn’t make that apply to my shop.