HELLO MY CREATIVE FRIENDS!! Oh my! I can’t believe that my last blog post was in NOVEMBER! Things got so crazy during beanie season around here. I am just now finishing up my orders and am able to get back to my poor, neglected blog. I HAVE TRULY MISSED IT!
This blog post is a special one! A few months ago, I did my first-ever live video on Instagram; the topic was “How to Deal with Not So Nice Customers.” and I got a lot of positive feedback from the wonderful maker community! My sweet friend, Taylor, from Taylor Lynn Crochet, actually took my crazy, rambling, unorganized live and turned it into a beautiful blog post for you guys! Thank you,Taylor!! After you read this post, you should definitely head over to her blog and see what she’s been up to! That’s enough chit-chat on my part, let’s get to it!
How to Deal With “Not So Nice” Customers
Whether you sell handmade items or patterns, or just share your craft on social media, you’ve probably ran into a “not so nice” customer or two; They may have complained about your product, or even attacked you personally because they were unhappy with their order. No matter what their complaint or issue is, I have some advice on how to deal with these less-than-ideal clients; hopefully in a way that has a happy ending for both parties.
Basic Tips for Sellers 101
- Stay professional
- Stay positive
- Stay kind
We represent our businesses on our social media platforms. Our business platforms are about so much more than just our personal lives. Customers, potential customers, and other makers can see anything you post online; it is important to keep that in mind. As a buyer, if I see another shop owner talking about an exchange with an angry customer on social media, I am immediately turned off from that shop. Others could find that off-putting as well and may not purchase from you in the future. There are better ways of getting bad experiences off your chest without posting them online for the world to see. I’ve found that what works best for me is to find a “Vent Buddy;” maybe more than one! This is someone you can discuss and talk through these angry, sometimes hurtful, messages. Who knows? Maybe they will offer insight into a different perspective. Recognizing the tone of a customer can be difficult when you aren’t talking face-to-face; maybe it wasn’t as harsh as it seemed when you read their comment to yourself.
Stay Positive and Stay Kind
This is where you have to put on your Customer Service Face. Staying positive and kind can be challenging at times, but I can promise you one thing: you’ll never regret responding with kindness and positivity. I have found that it is best to wait before responding . Take a few minutes, hours, or even an entire day to let it sink in and to calm down before you respond. Talk with your Vent Buddy, or try distracting yourself for a little while. Then, when it’s time to respond to your customer, remember to be kind and stay positive. We don’t always know what is happening in someone’s personal life; they could be having a horrible day, or they could simply be hateful. Regardless, our responses need to be as considerate and understanding as possible.
That is why we hit ’em with a Positive Sandwich. Any Hart of Dixie fans out there will know that Wade Kinsella always “hits a girl with a compliment sandwich” during a break-up; it helps take the sting out of it. In a Positive Sandwich, the “bread” is the positive aspect and the “meat”( or “middle” for my vegetarians ???? ) is the nitty-gritty of the problem. Here are a few examples of how to use a Positive Sandwich:
Complaint: I didn’t realize your shop had an 8-10 week turn-around when I placed my order, and I need it by Christmas.
Positive: Thank you for reaching out! I appreciate your order, and I know getting gifts together in time for the holidays can be hectic.
Nitty-Gritty: Unfortunately, my cut-off for Christmas orders was November 4th. Due to high demand, I am unable to send out any orders purchased after November 4th in time for Christmas.
Positive: I do offer a $10 Rush upgrade, which you can purchase to move your order to the top of the list, meaning it will ship in 1-3 business days. Here is the link to the Rush Upgrade: (insert link). If you do not wish to upgrade and cannot wait the posted 8-10 week turnaround time, I would be happy to cancel your order for you.
I started by saying thank you, and was sympathetic of their stress in getting gifts together for the holiday season; in other words, I added the first slice Then, I got right to the nitty-gritty: explaining why I have a deadline and asserting that it can’t be changed. Lastly, I offered a potential solution for us both parties: She could pay a little more to ensure her beanies are completed in time, and I will be compensated for the extra time added to my schedule to finish a Rush order.
Once, a customer called me ridiculous and unprofessional when I suggested the rush upgrade. Her comment was hurtful, but afterwards, I realized why she was so upset; having ordered 4 beanies, it would be $40 extra for her order ($10 rush per beanie). Always remember to keep an open mind when offering a solution, because every customer’s situation is unique. Here is another example for you:
Complaint: I thought I was buying an actual, physical beanie, not just the digital download of that pattern. I would like a refund.
Positive: Thank you for so much for your purchase, and for supporting my shop.
Nitty Gritty: Because of the digital nature of the product, I can’t offer you a refund.
Positive: But, I can offer you _______________ instead…..
As makers who sell digital items, we do everything we can to make sure people realize they are purchasing a digital download and not a tangible item. We write it in the title and description, and we add stickers that say “PATTERN ONLY” on our photos, but all pattern/digital download sellers will still get messages like this. Offering them something else, without issuing a refund, is the only thing you can do to protect yourself from the theft of your patterns.
Side note: Wouldn’t it be nice if Etsy added some sort of pop-up bubble for our customers before they make a purchase? Like: “did you see the 8-10-week turnaround time?” Or “this is a DIGITAL DOWNLOAD, not a finished item”. Then, customers could confirm that they did see the specifications before purchasing and are completely on board.
It’s always a good idea to draft some basic answers for common questions and complaints that you can access from your phone/computer; this can help you give quick, well-worded responses, which will save you a lot of time in the end. You can copy and paste them, then personalize them for each, specific situation.
I hope you have found this blog post helpful! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will gladly answer them for you. I have also included a free PDF printable of my “Customer Service Face“. I have mine hanging up in my workspace as a reminder to always be positive and kind when talking to my customers (or future customers). Thank y’all so much for being patient with me in my absence!! I am ready to get back to blogging, and I have been working on some super cute stuff for you guys! A BIG thank you to Taylor for taking the time to write this up for us! Head over to her Blog or Instagram and tell her how awesome she is 😉