RegrETSY: How to avoid a terrible Etsy transaction

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I had the unfortunate experience of dealing with an etsy shop seller who didn't share my views of customer service.  I feel like you should always do what you can to make the customer happy. A happy customer is a returning customer. An unhappy customer, like me, will never shop there again and share the terrible experience on the internet :)

However, instead of turning this into a rant, I'm divulging so that you can perhaps learn along with me. There were mistakes made on both ends, and lots to take away. So, here's what happened (or if you don't want to read this part, just scroll to the bottom):

I purchased two washi tapes. I noted the positive reviews and didn't bother looking at her shop policies (my 1st mistake!).

Then, two weeks later:
Nothing. One month comes around...
4 days later...
 She replies!!
Good: saying sorry, repeating shop policy
Not-so-good: essentially bribing me with half of what I paid for in exchange for keeping me quiet. If it's in your ability to send me something, you do it in hopes that I'll be happy & comment: "package was lost but seller had great service and set new ones immediately!" Do not offer a tape as part of a condition.

At this point, I was pretty upset:
Her reply:

And that's that. It was indeed a loss on both ends. We both did our part in escalating the situation. I feel like if she didn't add the 'agree to not leave negative or neutral feedback' bit things may have concluded better. And I could have been nicer and more understanding in my replies.

So! What I learned:
  • DO: immediately reply to customers/sellers
  • DO: read store policies and feedback
  • DO: always apologize if something goes awry, even if it isn't your fault
  • DO: try your hardest to make your customers happy (offer discount, free shipping, an extra something)
  • DO: make exceptions to help them.
When I did my training at Modern Mouse, a significant chunk was spent refining how to approach and work with customers. This included reading a reaaaaally enlightening excerpt from Zingerman's Guide to Giving Great Service, which outlines 5 basic steps to handling customer complaints:
  1. Acknowledge the customer's complaint.
  2. Sincerely apologize.
  3. Take action to make things right for the guest.
  4. Thank the customer for complaining.
  5. Write it up. 
Of course, not everyone sees customer service like this. I haven't always been the best with it, but the regretsy experience has taught me a lot. Hopefully it will show in future orders!

To end this post, here are some fun facts Eleen (Modern Mouse's owner) pointed out in our customer service guidelines:

  • Research indicates that customers who complain are likely to continue doing business with your company if they feel that they were treated properly.
  • It's estimated that as many as 90% of customers who perceive themselves as having been wronged never complain, they just take their business elsewhere.
  • Are they worth it? So, angry, complaining customers care enough to talk to you, and have not yet decided to take their business to the competition. They are customers worth saving.
  • You can learn more from the difficult customer than you could ever learn from your most loyal customers. Difficult customers tell you where it hurts.
  • Research has shown that just a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to 25% to 100% growth in profits.


satsuki shibuya said...

awesome write up! i learned so much from your post this morning & jotting down notes. ;) thank you for sharing!

Lindy Stamper said...

Always a good lesson that alot of us takes for granted!

a.schmied said...

Wonderful explanation of lessons learned. It's tough, whether as a customer or seller, that you experience such a negative interaction. It's great that you're doing your best to turn a negative into a positive and, above all, that you're sharing it with others. Right on!

Dena said...

Great info in this post. Thank you for sharing your experience!

El at Tantalizing Stitches said...

Per paypal policy, its seller's responsibility to deliver the package to the stated address. Unless they have proof that it made it there, the seller will lose any paypal claim.

This goes to show that any store collecting via paypal needs to make sure they charge enough shipping for insurance if they feel that they cannot cover a loss.

Also, store policy will not override paypal policy so there is no point in making your store policy contradictory.


Geraldine Adams said...

Very interesting post!
I learned from it.
Thank you for sharing.

Heather said...

This is CRAZY!! I would have completely gone out of my way for the customer, especially since you've been waiting an entire month for your order. I wouldn't have just reshipped the stuff you ordered, I would've have thrown in extra stuff too! You're right, people just don't understand the cause and effect of good and bad customer service.

genevieve said...

thanks for the comments everyone! it makes me glad that you're glad i shared and that we're all learning!

Angie said...

I love my 'unhappy' customers! I know that sounds weird, but I've been in some form of customer service since I started working at 17, and I can tell you that a mistake or mishap is a HUGE opportunity to make a life-long and very vocally positive customer!

Of course I hate for anyone to not be happy with their purchase, but if it takes a reasonable loss on my part to make it right then that is what I do. And if they choose to leave nasty feedback anyway then that's a reflection on their character, not my service. It almost NEVER happens if you do what you are supposed to ethically.

And if you fix the problem then not only do they like your artwork, but they TRUST you as a person and business owner and you can't get that from a perfect transaction! :)

genevieve said...

Really great, enlightening words, Angie! Thanks for sharing your experience :)

lizard said...

thank you for this great blog post. Learned a lot.

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