Okay, I’ll admit it. When I first started selling on Etsy, I didn’t really know what I was doing! I’d never attempted selling anything online before and the concept of owning and running a shop online was alien to me. Most of my time was spent thinking about getting my products just right and I didn’t really focus much on the ‘business’ side of running my shop. However, working in sales at the time, there was one thing that I valued above all else. Something which can quite literally make or break a small business right out of the gate. Customer feedback.
Receiving positive customer reviews and feedback is important to any business, but particularly for smaller ones. A shops reputation is one of the key aspects customers will consider when choosing to purchase from you. Without that, you’re dead in the water. With nearly 300 sales and 100% positive feedback throughout, I’m proud of what I have achieved. However, don’t be too worried. I actually think that receiving good quality customer feedback is one of the simpler aspects of running a shop on Etsy. It comes down to one thing really: big or small, make sure your buyer is always looked after.
In this post, I’ll explore some of the key ways you can ensure you’ll always receive awesome customer feedback, even when things go wrong.
1. Be honest
This should go without saying but being honest with your customers is vital in ensuring that there aren’t any nasty surprises once a sale has been completed. I’m not suggesting that anyone is lying about their listings. However, there are several little things which can be easily misconstrued as dishonesty in the seller. Put yourself in the shoes of the buyer. Ask yourself: “What do I actually know about this product listing?” It’s vital that you set out expectations clearly in all of your listings to avoid any form of confusion or mis-understanding:
- Do your photos show the true size of your products?
- Does your listing describe exactly what is included in the purchase?
- Does your item description answer any possible queries buyers may have?
- Do the photos accurately represent the colour of the item?
They’re simple things and may sounds obvious but getting the basics right goes a long way to warding off any future conflicts between you and you customers.
2. Don’t run away from your mistakes
We all know mistakes happen to everyone from time to time. Particularly when you’re first starting out, mistakes can be really painful to deal with. However, I believe that the old paradigm rings true here: The customer is always right. I know that this isn’t always what sellers want to hear, especially when the customer is clearly in the wrong. But ask yourself, is it really worth risking that negative review? I’d argue that in 99% of cases, it isn’t. I can tell you with complete confidence that a negative review on your recent feedback will do more harm in the long run than settling with a customer in the short run. Remember, mistakes are rare, particularly when you take into consideration my first point above. You won’t be dealing with them very often. So, give the customer what they want and think of ways to prevent it from happening again (and make sure you do it with a smile!).
3. Treat every customer as if they were your first
Going the extra mile with my customers has been a great way to ensure that my feedback stays as high as possible and that they keep coming back for more. I never let a sale go through without reaching out to the buyer and thanking them personally. The success of your shop is entirely dependent on the people that purchase from it. This means you need to go beyond automated thank you e-mails and confirmation messages if you really want to impress. Reaching out to buyers after they complete a purchase is a great way to establish a more direct link with your customer and gives them a great opportunity to ask any last minute questions that might be important to address before you ship.
4. Ask yourself, “what else can I do?”
Again, going above and beyond the average Etsy seller is an important part of ensuring your feedback stays high. Think about how else you can make your customer happy. Firstly, this comes down to open, honest and responsive communication with all my customers. One way I do this is by making sure I’m always logged into my Etsy shop using my phone, so any e-mails and questions from my customers can be responded to within minutes, not hours or days. Secondly, I always put a lot of thought into how I package my items. The ‘un-boxing’ experience is a powerful tool and often one that’s underestimated. Think about how you want your customer to feel when they receive your package. I always make sure to include a small, handwritten thank you note and a couple of coupons for future purchases. This is a surefire way to put a smile on your customers face and further encourage them to write positively about their experience.
5. Always take the time to follow up
It’s important to realise that, just because you’ve received payment from the buyer and the item has been shipped, the order isn’t over. Strategically following up with your customers a few days after they receive their package is a tactic many Etsy sellers over-look and it can be a powerful tool for many reasons:
- It allows your buyer to alert you immediately if there are any issues with their order.
- It gives you a unique opportunity to inquire about ways you could improve your sales process and make positive change to your shop.
- Most importantly, it’s a great last chance to gently push for that positive feedback.
Timing and sentiment are critical things to consider however. You don’t want to appear to be too keen or pushy with your narrative. This could end up having the opposite effect, leaving your customers irritated and less likely to leave feedback. You can learn more about Etsy’s communications policy here. Personally, I usually wait around 5 days (or longer depending on when the item was due to arrive) before following up. Ask your customer if they’ve received their package yet and what they thought of the sales experience. I usually include some instructions too on how they can leave feedback – making the process as simple as possible.