Saturday, June 21, 2008

mmmm The Irony

From a Storque How-To:

When you encounter an unhappy customer, chances are they are going to spread the word about their shopping experience to their friends and family. Similarly, if you can manage to appease your customer and take an extra step to assure they are satisfied with their experience, you can bet they will be just as vocal about what a wonderful shop you are to everyone they know. So take that deep breath, and see if you can extend a solution to the problem.


lurker said...

1. Am I the only one who thinks it's odd that the shops (not including marymary) that are giving advice on customer service have a combined sales record of 23 on Etsy?

2. "When you can, offer a little extra. Try to add a little something extra in with your package as a freebie."

Please stop it. There have been discussions in the forums ad nauseam of people who don't want extra crap in their orders. And then the threads with stressed-out newbies who think they need to give away shiny new prizes because they are so honored and thrilled someone actually bought from them.

Some of us have hundreds of satisfied and returning customers without plying them with free gifts.

Sellers desperate to learn the "secret" to selling on Etsy read this drivel and believe it.

Why must Etsy continue to dole out advice about selling instead of concentrating on the core business?
Create a great ecommerce site, damn it --- and leave the Helpful Hints (?) to Heloise.

Oh. Right. I forgot.
Etsy knows how to preach it, they just don't actually practice good customer service.

What a joke.

impetuous said...


dis little piggy said...

I don't give freebies either. I package well and include a personalized thank you note/invoice but that's it. I don't expect personalized notes from other sellers though. The only thing I really expect is care and attention paid to packaging. Yes, sellers, things CAN get broken in padded envelopes if you don't bother to wrap them in bubble or pack them in a box first. if you don't know how to pack well, LEARN NOW.

The freebies I receive as a buyer are either junk, and I feel like the seller's dumping ground, or they're very, very nice and then I lose respect for the seller for not considering their bottom line. It all adds up.

just bitchy said...

They have people in marketing who don't have a marketing background.

They have people who don't really know the ins and outs of selling giving advise.

They don't know how to treat their own customers yet they presume to give advise to sellers.

If sellers ran their stores like etsy runs their site sellers would be out of business.


Ironic AND irresponsible.

It's a twofer.

lessa said...

No freebies here either. I don't have the profit margin for that and seeing that most would end up in the trash I might as well mail them money. My profit margin needs to be available if I'm sick or the cost of a supply skyrockets.

I figure being polite, mailing quickly, and sending what is ordered will be enough to make for a happy customer.

I do write a thank you on the invoice but no specially ordered Etsy made thank you cards that will be thrown away within moments of the package being opened.

I love my customers, do anything for them within reason, but figure the best thing I can do is deliver what I promise in my listings.

Flag With Me said...

Fun, they has it.

Elizabeth said...

I used to really be frustrated with freebies. Didn't want them, didn't know what to do with them... I appreciated the thought but, um, please don't. Just my buyer POV.

Heather said...

I don't like freebies either. I am a horrible pack rat and live in clutter. When I receive a freebie, even if I *don't* like it, I will hold onto it because I feel guilty throwing it away. And then, every time I look at it because it's taking up space in my drawer or whatever I get annoyed at people who give away freebies.

I do include a little matchbook notepad, that I actually buy from another etsy seller (I tried making my own but didn't do so good, lol). I figure something like that is useful, and as far as freebies go, I wouldn't mind getting something like that. It takes up no space in the envelope so adds no weight to shipping.

But I don't like the idea of buyers expecting freebies - that pisses me off.

Dani said...

Heather I do that too... I actually made some matchbook notebooks printed with my logo, which are so much cuter than business cards alone, I also try to make some mini thank you notes.

What bothers me the most is not the freebie talk, it's the good customer service talk.

If they followed their own advice, there wouldn't be any problems. Instead, it's the "do as we say, not as we do".

You can't preach what you don't practice...

Wende said...

I don't mind getting a freebie...I usually pass them along to people I know would want them. But I'd never expect them.

However, in terms of paper goods and soap--it has caused me to go back and buy more, quickly!

I sell vintage, (I know, I know... shoot me. hee) and I try to package really well, so it feels like a fun package to open. I do include a "freebie"--BUT, it's a small handmade lavender sachet. (Seriously, small... but useful!)

AliciaMae said...

Ten bucks says Etsy never reads what it writes. bleh

Ladies Auxilliary said...

Yet more priceless advice from the Storque, your ultimate news source. I mean blog. I mean

I think the drunk college kids next door to me could give better customer service after 15 shots of Jaeger than what we generally see from Etsy's staff.

Kali said...

Freebies make sense for some types of crafts - soapmakers are a prime example because every soapmaker I've ever know is nearly drowning in little scraps of the stuff - but for the majority of sellers, it doesn't make sense.

But this whole "make your buyer feel extra warm and fuzzy by spending your entire profit margin on packaging" line of crap is total bullshit.

I support as many local businesses as I can, and 99% of the time I won't even take a bag from them! I just shove stuff in my purse.

Paula B said...

I also dislike freebies in my packages in general - especially when I buy nice handmade glass or gemstone beads, and the freebies are cheap stuff that are obviously from the person's junk supply stash.

I do think that samples of differently scented soaps from a soapmaker would be useful, since then the customer can actually smell the scents and know if they'd like it. But don't send scented stuff in with non-scented orders, please. I once got a patchouli scented soap sample in a bead purchase. I HATE PATCHOULI.I had to stick the beads out on my balcony for a few days before I could bring them into my apartment.

lurker said...

I have no problem with the concept of adding extras if it might entice the buyer to try another product that you're already selling.
"Samples" are different than appreciation gifts.

But the idea of sending presents to customers just so they know how much the seller luuvvvs them?

Where else but on Etsy would this practice be encouraged (& in some cases, expected)?

And if Etsy does think it's such a bang-up idea, then I want a 2-for-1 special on listing fees once a month.
Where's my warm & fuzzy "thank you" bonus, Etsy?

huh said...

They have people in marketing who don't have a marketing background

Who needs to know business when you can just throw cupcakes and cookies at each other in chat.

Come on now, prioritize.

impetuous's love slave said...

Can anyone actually write on a matchbook sized notepad?

Etsy Bitches, thank you for the insight. My eyes are opened now.

Andy Mathis said...

yes, teeny tiny grocery lists. :)

I do have to say, I had some matchbook notepads with cats on them at Surtex show. People loved them.

KittyCrossbones made them.

Paula B said...

Oh! I did get a business card refrigerator magnet from a seller once - I love it! Good magnets are hard to get, and I am reminded of the lovely beads I've purchased from her every time I get a snack. I thought it was great marketing. I think that there's definitely a difference between promotional materials and freebies.

Promotional materials are good business, freebies are usually annoying.

sulking said...

Argh! Customer service tips from Etsy at the moment are bad enough, but why do they have to be such dreadful ones?

I think it's true that most buyers want to feel like they ordered from a real live person, so a personal touch somewhere is important. Even if it's a pre-printed "thankyou!" note in the parcel, it keeps the purchase feeling friendly and personal which is an important part of the Etsy shopping experience (buying from people, not corporations).

But freebies? Pointless packaging and frills? Endless promos? Ugh. At least they had the sense to say not to send food (though they forgot their international buyers again: sending food through customs is a big no no for many countries, esp unmarked on the customs label as freebies so often are).

I agree with the poster who said bath & body and paper goods freebies make you go back for more - they're great, cost-effective samples to tempt you back. But all the rest? 99% of it is unwanted, unnecesary and will go straight in the bin.

Oh, and Etsy admin think it makes sense to spend hours making funky packaging, gocco-ing thankyou labels and sewing recycled mailers because THAT'S ALL THEY SEEM TO BE PAID TO DO.

blacksheep said...

We send sample packs in our bead store with each order; however, we make each one customized, based on what the customer ordered. For example, if you ordered the bead in pink, we'll send you a sample in white. People enjoy this BECAUSE it's customized - we take into consideration what they might like rather than just adding any cheap old junk that we want to get rid of. I buy plenty of beads online for my own use, and I dislike getting samples that have nothing to do with what I ordered. If it's relevant, I like it.

I don't send freebies with my jewelry (just a friendly handwritten note) and I'm really annoyed by the fact that anyone would insist that freebies or samples are mandatory. I'm so tired of the peer pressure regarding business practices in the Forums (feedback is another hot-button topic) - business owners should use whatever sound business practices WORK FOR ~THEIR~ business. Amen.

And I really don't think that Etsy is in any position to offer business advice until it spiffs up its own customer service and business practices. The fact that a blog like this one exists shows clearly that Etsy has some colossal changes to make.

Drawer said...

You get a handwritten note from me, a package filled with recycled packing peanuts so your product gets to you in one piece, and that's about it. I'll email you when I send, follow up to make sure you recieved, but I'm not going to spend my time making stuff you don't want out of money from my own pocket.
My packaging is recycled--it says so in my store info. I get it from another business who gets shipped appropriately sized boxes filled with packing peanuts every day. Dump the peanuts, flip box inside out, tape, fill with peanuts again and you're done. Saves a box from the trash, saves me handling costs, acceptable solution.
But, apparently, all that makes me a bad etsy seller by etsy's standards.

Lori Anderson Designs said...

Hi lurker -- the shop with 23 sales would be me -- however I have a regular web site that with sells that are the same as top sellers. They asked for some writing after Beth visited my booth at a craft show. I'm sorry you were offended by the "drivel".

Sometimes there are shops on Etsy that are trying Etsy out to see if it's a viable venue in addition to an already successful store or B&M. A small number of sales doesn't necessarily mean the person who owns it doesn't do a lot more outside of Etsy.

(Really feel horrible for trying to help, thanks.)

impetuous said...

Lori, lurker said "combined sales record of 23" I think they were just trying to make a point.

Lori Anderson Designs said...

I get the point. But some of the sellers on Etsy with sales in the thousands have had some lousy customer service, so number of sales doesn't necessarily mean anything.

Don't mind me, I was out of town at a show all weekend and was alerted to this post as soon as I opened email.

(I do get the point, really).

idisagree said...


I do not think this person has ever really met the unhappy customers I have in my experiences. Every once in a while, they will talk about how nice you were. However, most of the time, they go back and tell everyone how rude you were and how they made you kiss their a**

lurker said...

I’m sorry you took my post personally.

I stand by my opinion that publishing the suggestion to give away freebies in an
official etsy vehicle---the Storque--- was not good advice.

If you have spent enough time hanging around etsy, you can plainly see that some sellers take etsy-sanctioned advice as gospel and treat it as ‘fact.’
I think it’s irresponsible to further push the idea of giving away product in orders; it’s a topic that is very debated and unproven as a viable business practice that leads to return sales or profitability.

Furthermore, have you read the threads where sellers now think this is the etsy way to run a shop and think free stuff is expected by buyers?

And I didwrite “a combined sales record of 23 ON ETSY.”
And I didn’t say ALL the advice was drivel.

By the way, my customer service is stellar.

Lori Anderson Designs said...

Giving away things, agreed. Slippery slope. And not my idea. Giving a discount to return customers -- that's worked for me, but it's not for everybody.

I haven't read those threads -- and I see that timing is everything, after looking through the forum threads to catch up.

I do my craft as a full-time business, as my day job. Just not full-time on Etsy. I had hoped what I wrote would be helpful to some, but by ALL MEANS, I know it is NOT gospel. And I learn new things every day.

I also re-read this and saw what Dis Little Piggy said about wrapping packages properly -- please, YES. Better than freebies is to get what I paid for in one piece!