Virginie from EarthJewelry shares some tips on customer service.
Etsy shop owners are well known for being skilled at crafting and creating with their own hands. But when it is time to sell, customer service can make an incredible difference to turn a visitor into a repeat customer. I am Virginie Rolland and I have been selling my jewelry collection at art fairs and on Etsy since 2008 with a 5-star rating. Through my experiences, I have gathered important tips about customer service that have allowed me to greatly improve my business.
1. Remember that everyone is different. That is the beauty of the human nature. You and your customers are all people with different attitudes, characters, beliefs, intelligence, and for some of them, English might not be their first language. What seems obvious and smart to you might not be perceived the same way by someone else. I hear a lot of people complaining about their customer's foolish reactions or sayings. Ask 100 people to write 1 sentence about a concept and you will come up with 100 completely different sentences. Don’t simply assume that people are “dumb”, and remember, some people think differently, but you still have to be there for them to help them resolve an issue, or answer a “stupid” question.
2. Answer with a smile. When responding to a conversation, email, or inquiry about your product, stay positive and kind. Do not hesitate to reflect your personality in your message, to emphasize you are a real person, but keep it professional. Greet the person by their first name. Write an answer that you would like to receive as a customer. Words like “I’d be delighted to” or “Let me see what I can do for you” have a huge impact on how your customer will perceive you.
3. Answer promptly. Acknowledge that you have received the message. If you cannot give precise information right away (e.g. “Is this size or color available?”, “Can you make that differently?”), a simple “Thank you for your inquiry. I will look into it and will get back to you as soon as possible” will let the person know that you will take care of them. Your potential customer will be more patient and less tempted to visit another store.
“Snippets” can save you a lot of time when communicating with a customer on Etsy. They allow you to save a small amount of text you can reuse anytime you are asked the same question. They look like a speech bubble in the corner of your conversation box and they are easy to create and modify.
4. Most people do not read the description. The description of your product is still essential. It should talk about the size, color, material, possible uses or presentations, or answer any questions a potential customer may have. But keep in mind that a lot of customers, especially impulse buyers or cell phone users, will save time by skipping the description. To improve customer satisfaction, your pictures should represent accurately the product you are selling. For example, if you want to add props during the photo shoot, make sure the customer is not confused into what is included in their purchase. To avoid any misunderstanding, your pictures should be taken as if no description was available.
5. Negative reviews. They hurt. You dread them, especially if you are a new store. They might lower your score.
First, don’t stress about it too much. Don’t pull all your hair and empty your tissue box for it. Even the most successful stores receive these reviews and cannot please everyone. If it affects you, back away from it and wait for the next day to handle the situation, but do not answer while you are angry. By then, you will already think more clearly and your writing will be less affected by your emotions.
Learn from the experience. A negative review often reveals imperfections and can help you to improve your products or customer service. Adapt your product, process, picture, etc. accordingly. For example, I encountered a few people dissatisfied with my very popular toe rings, calling them too “flimsy”. I added a choice of a thicker wire, and I did not receive any more negative comments. Negative reviews can be learning experiences to improve your business.
Your solution to an imperfect situation is very personal. You have to decide what is right for you and your business. Do not always feel pressured to cancel and refund the customer though. Some sellers are so scared about the bad review that they are in a hurry to just refund. It “teaches” the customers that it is OK to simply complain and get their money back, even sometimes without returning the product. This does not guarantee a change in the review anyway. First, try to resolve the problem with the customer if possible through conversation.
Be positive and take the chance to show how much you care.
In my opinion, you should always respond to a 3-star review or lower, but in a professional and transparent way. Be positive and take the chance to show how much you care. Remember that you are not only responding to this customer, but to potential readers that would be interested to see how your company handles unsatisfactory situations. Start the response by thanking the customer for taking the time to leave a review. Do not be defensive, but demonstrate how you have tried to improve the situation. Never attack a customer, instead take the opportunity to enhance your business positive qualities.
Etsy is a marketplace for handcrafted treasures and small creative businesses. Excellence in customer service involves pampering your customers. They want to know that you care about them and that they will find a kind human being behind your store, as opposed to a faceless big name. Superior service and personalized communication can make a significant difference among the competition.
Earth Jewelry is a collection of original designs jewelry, wire wrapped in sterling silver, handmade with love, and inspired by nature. www.EarthJewelry.Etsy.com