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Customer Service & Feedback

January 6, 2011

I’ve always sort of prided myself on customer service; even before I considered this thing called ‘art’ my job. I always have (felt like I’ve) gone the extra mile to make my customer happy, be it including small tokens in with their package, or gift wrapping, including a personal thank you note or simply by sending them an email letting them know their package was on its way. I usually do all of these things and more when I get a package ready to ship. It’s the fun part of the job. Communicating with the customer. I’m a pretty good communicator.

And so, when I purchase from someone else out there in this world of art, I kind of expect the same thing back. I expect communication. I expect an answer, of some kind, in some form, in a timely manner. I expect packaging that protects the item I purchased. I expect courteous business-like behavior. I expect timeliness. Unfortunately, more times than not these days, I’ve been let down.

What is going on in this business of art where a person cannot answer an email in three days and counting? What is going on in this business of art where a person can’t ship a package within a week of purchase? What, simply, is going on?

And then, to top all of that off- I feel superbly guilty even thinking about giving neutral (or Lord forbid negative) feedback to any of these people. Why? Why should I feel guilty about being honest? About giving sellers feedback they deserve? I don’t know, but I’m not the only one. I posted on the boards of a team I’m on about a certain situation that I felt certainly needed negative feedback and I was guided toward just leaving it be and never shopping their again. I understand this point of view, but as a seller myself, I believe I would rather someone give me constructive criticism about my work than to never shop with me again. Maybe that’s just the beauty of having a background in writing workshops as both a student and a teacher, I don’t know, but I feel like I’m alone in this venture.

This, of course, all comes after I’ve received my first neutral feedback from a customer. I contacted the customer and asked why, because I want to learn from my mistakes and see if they are in fact founded. And they were. I was very happy that this customer left me neutral feedback because the truth of the matter was that they weren’t happy with the product they purchased from me and for me to grow as an artist I need(ed) to know why. Thank goodness she told me and now I feel like I have in fact grown from that transaction. If we never give other sellers negative or neutral feedback, are they growing? If the seller already has 1000+ sales it barely even affects their percentage in the first place, but I feel like someone needs to nudge them off their high horse once in a while. . . or is that just me?

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I apologize for the soap-boxedness of this post, but I’m still hung up on not receiving a convo back from a seller I contacted three and counting days ago. I answer convos same day, but then again, I only get 10, so maybe that’s why it’s easy for me, but I believe if it became not easy for me to answer convos the same day, I would hire someone else to do it. At least, I think I would;)

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 7, 2011 3:37 pm

    I think you are perfectly justified in wanting to leave honest feedback, whether it be positive, negative, or neutral. I understand that the general consensus on Etsy is to try your hardest on both ends to work out a satisfactory solution before leaving negative feedback, but when no effort is being made on the part of the seller, maybe they need a little push. I would personally want to know if a customer of mine was unhappy for any reason, so I could be better next time if possible. So often, customers would rather not say anything rather than raise a stink, and you never get the opportunity to learn how you could improve.

    Our society seems to be so afraid of failure and negative criticism, but I think it’s time we grew up a little.

  2. Megan Martin permalink
    January 7, 2011 6:08 pm

    I think the issue with feedback on Etsy can be a little more complex – For instance, if the customer that left you a neutral had contacted you about her concerns prior to leaving feedback, would you have corrected the situation to her satisfaction resulting in a positive instead? I really wish Etsy would require (or at LEAST prompt!) people to convo the seller with any issues prior to leaving negative or neutral feedback so that the seller has a chance to turn a mistake into a positive.

    As for the three day delay, keep in mind that certain portions of the country have recently been buried under feet of snow and internet connections aren’t always reliable in those circumstances – even Georgia and Texas saw ice recently…

    • Conduit Press permalink*
      January 7, 2011 6:21 pm

      Yes, Megan, I do agree that feedback is a little more complex- definitely. They do have the kiss and make up feature, which is nice, and I think that’s probably why it’s there. I definitely agree with everything you have to say there.

      As for the three day delay- yes, I understand the weather has been awful, but I’m not talking about a shipment in this case, I’m talking about simple communication via Etsy convo, which I wouldn’t imagine weather would have an effect on…and the seller in question is in Portland…so, I wish there were an excuse, but honestly, I kinda feel like at this point that she just doesn’t like me. I know, it’s all about me. 🙂

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