Friday, August 1, 2008

Where O'Where did Customer Service Go on Etsy?

EB was so shocked to read (and got tons of tips about) the latest Storque addition to their exhaustive, pompous, and fatuous Service Tips for Sellers Series, that we just had to highlight the following sections for you:

"Good service solves a problem, even before a customer knows that they have one. It is delivering what people expect to receive. To achieve great service is to get below the surface of the an issue and deliver solutions that no one expects."
"Great service is listening, learning, assessing, and ultimately refining your approach..."
"Great service isn't easy to achieve... Ultimately, great service requires sound judgment every day to adapt to the needs of the customer... This is a process is constantly refining as well."

While EB wholeheartedly agrees with many of the customer service tips that are ACTUALLY PRACTICED by the companies Etsy listed (Zappos, Amazon and The Container Store) we are still searching for a formal Customer Service Policy on Etsy, where Etsy is actually taking care of sellers’ questions and needs on a daily basis.

We could provide a list of great service that Etsy DOES NOT provide, but we get caught up in the bannings, mutings, and odd Town Meetings that are set up to confuse sellers and still not make changes sellers want – and need.

Maybe because Etsy found out that "Great service isn’t easy to achieve" Etsy figured it was just too much work to provide professional, consistent, and timely customer service. Why, Etsy is so busy learning about other companies that do it right, and doing hundreds of other things that have no impact on ecommerce and seller support, that they FORGOT to practice what they now preach.

Etsy also forgot WHO their primary customers are - the sellers.


impetuous said...

It's utterly mind boggling that Etsy thinks they are qualified to speak on this subject.

wristeroni said...

Unfortunately, we're all just preaching to the choir here . . .

Elsewhere Etsy cheerleaders are see the issue through through candy-coated plushie glasses (with optional mustache attachments) and Etsy itself pompously serves advice that it doesn't implement itself.

Molly S. said...

I'm becoming increasingly convinced that something my boyfriend said the other day is true: Etsy needs a competitor. As long as they're the only big name handmade/vintage/supplies venue on the Interwubs, they're not going to give two shakes about what the sellers need or want (like, y'know, decent customer service). Ebay's the only big-arse auction site out there, and look what they're doing to their sellers...

Ann said...

The irony of it all! Comments left (which I assume weren't all that 'ra ra' in spirit) were deleted and comments are closed for the article. Then, a thread in Ideas highlighting the aforementioned irony of Etsy trying to teach anything about customer service was closed in record breaking time.

So much for communication.

wristeroni said...

I see that commenting "has been closed" for this article.

Since there aren't any comments I suspect that this was "preemptive" on their part . . . am I correct?

If that is the case, it looks as if they were self-aware enough to know that they would get the smackdown from sellers.

godot said...

and, they deleted all comments from the article and then closed it to prevent the obvious onslaught of negative remarks.

theoriginalwtf said...

my favorite part of the whole thing, is that they disabled comments on the article. wonder why?

I am SO the boss of you! said...

So a handful of idiots without a "shred" of customer service skills wants to give "us" advice? They've been smoking way too many rainbow cupcakes.

so-sorry-this-happened-to-etsy said...

Sad to say, but Etsy's hypocritical advice on providing excellent customer service is fairly typical of multi-seller venues I've used. These venues all experience sudden amnesia when they are expected to apply the advice they so freely give to their own customers, the shop owners. Also, kinda goes along with allowing shops who are in violation of the site TOU (like obvious resellers, for example) to deceive customers while banning/muting/brickwalling shops who treat their customers well and expect the venue to treat them the same way...and complain when that doesn't happen.

I am so SO very disappointed that Etsy did not learn from the mistakes of multi-shop venues who have been around much longer (10+ years is long in terms of internet sales) that you can only conceal your poor customer service from potential shop owners so long. Then you will see the number and diversity of your shop owners contract and your revenues along with that. These sites do eventually reap what they sow, but it's the shop owners who get burned in the process. So so disappointed!

Angela said...

This article would be funny...if it wasn't so offensive. As a customer of Etsy, I can't even get them to answer my questions!! They don't response to my emails. I can't pick up the phone and call them. Who ever heard of treating your customers in such a way??

Andy Mathis said...

Do Tell.
this was my comment before being deleted.

I deal with the public all day long. It's under control. Every client is different.

Dear Etsy,
How do you know if you are delivering great service to your customers?

peacekeeper redux said...

Today is my 18th month of being abused by Etsy customer service.

But I got a birthday greeting from behind the faux drapes of OZ in EtsyLand.

Recently I was asked to fill out a survey from Etsy Street Teams leadership at the front office. I chose to decline, because all I would have done is write advertise advertise advertise in every possible blank space.

They don't provide any added value to my street team, at all. Nothing.

I am staying on Etsy to see what happens and who will buy it.

Happy Birthday to me. No sales today. Again. BTW I am considered successful on Etsy, what a pathetic joke.

toolazytologin said...

There is a thread in Business Topics about the article.

eclipse said...

I don't even know where to start with this one. Did they seriously not get the SLIGHTEST twinge of irony while typing those words? Are they truly that clueless and deluded?

For an example of Etsy's commitment to customer service, has anyone checked out the bugs forum lately?
It is practically ABANDONED for days at a time (weekdays, not weekends). The admins had not replied to any posts for days, until today Stella replied to 3 or 4 threads but the majority are still waiting for any kind of help. Almost the only admin posts in that forum anymore are announcement threads they have started themselves. Users are left trying to help eachother, and bugs is the one forum where they really need someone from Etsy to help.
This 12 page bug thread hasn't had any admin post since July 25.
another thread on the same bug, no admin reply
and yet another thread on the same bug, no admin reply
If you check the first 5 pages of the bugs forum there are many other threads for this problem with no admin replies. They have not posted any updates since the 25th, and that post was just "we'll check into it".

Sorry but there is no excuse for this! The Bugs forum doesn't even get that much traffic, maybe 1 page of new posts a day, so there's no reason that an admin can't reply to every thread there. It wouldn't even need a full time person just an hour or two a day. Ignoring customers with legitimate bugs for a week or more is unacceptable.

ebbandflo said...

there were three comments on the article initially (well four really since one was duplicated due to a bug) - unfortunately i only manage to screen capture two of them as they were being deleted as i worked
as you can see, they weren't very complimentary! and i guess this is why commenting was closed. i haven't been told why my comment was closed, i'm guessing the other two responders are also in the dark

cover up much?

The Funny One said...

eclipse and andy got it right, and when you pointedly ignore pleas for help (on a public board!) how are you ever going to understand what your customers need?

I see Etsy Admins having a big chuckle every day, reading the seller-guesses in response to real questions with no end to the misinformation. They like making a mockery of their very own sellers.

As for their absence from the Forums, I would guess many Admins are on vacation, or hopefully looking for another job. Their absence is actually a relief, except in the Bugs section, which does need daily attention, if Etsy gave a shit.

If most Admins are being silenced in order to defuse the constant uproar from sellers (most of it justified) then it is really too bad that the ONE Admin they left in charge writes 45-paragraph volumes of "info" that she could have put into 3 sentences.

Since she confused me totally by sentence #2, I cannot bring myself to set aside another 2 hours to read the rest. And still not understand one damn word.

Take a business writing class, PLEASE.

Ladies Auxilliary said...

But wristeroni, don't worry...we're great in number, us choir members :) Many people read but don't comment here at the ol' EB Ranch.

The Righteous One said...

ladies auxilliary is right, we hve been known to have 1 to 2 thousand visitors a day...some days many more ;)

hoesof said...

Speaking of irony and deleting comments, this site does exactly the same thing with comments that are critical of posts or of the site. Only bitching about the right things are allowed.

Different flavor, same kool-ade.

The Righteous One said...

Actually, hoesof, we only delete comments that are personal attacks.

We know not everyone likes us. We just don't care.

However, we are a blog, not an ecommerce site. Noone pays us for what we do. Therefore, we don't have anyone to answer to...Etsy does. We can delete whatever the fuck we want, it's not customer service, it's our personal residence.

When Etsy doesn't listen it's bad customer service, it's their place of business.

4me2know said...

Damn, the irony dripping from this storque article is just rich. If it were a chocolate, it'd claim to have the most cocoa content, but it'd be nothing more than a milk chocolate bar.

I love that the comments on an article about listening to your customers concerns, are closed.

Oh etsy, how will we ever miss you when someone better copies, changes it 10%, and makes a better online venue than you?

Someone in charge better get a handle on this train wreck. It's going off the tracks, FAST.

pony-lo said...

Seems a little bit sinister to me, closing the comments so abruptly. So nobody has a chance to even slightly disagree now.
What the fuck IS this, the Third Reich?

Mweh ;)

Charlotte Marie said...

At least Etsy is acknowledging customer service as an issue with it's sellers. Somehow folks seem to think Etsy shop owners are all brimming with integrity professional online sellers. A few days in the forums and poking around the site tells a pretty different story.

My first (and only) purchase on Etsy was so completely dissapointing I won't be buying anything else unless the seller has high positive feeback and answers convos first. From the top down Etsy is incompetent. I just laugh now when members look down on ebay.

pony-lo said...

Im off topic again, but new to blogger, so why in the hell aint my icon/picture showing here?
It is a beautiful cupcake.
It isnt as though it's naked or anything.

Has somebody eaten my cake?

jodie nicholson said...

I posted on that Storque article and my comment was deleted pretty quickly.

I can even be bothered to go back and look at it...but MaryMary co-wrote it, right? Laughable. Totally laughable.

Like I said in the thread about it. Them writing an article preaching the importance of great customer service is just like me making a jewellery tutorial. Come to think of it, it's also like Brepptis making a hammock tutorial.


jodie nicholson said...

This was my comment from the Storque article:

meringueshop says:

I know this comment will be deleted but I'm going to say it anyway.

How on earth can Etsy feel it is in a position to give customer service advice to its sellers when it is not doing a great job (poor, even) in that department itself.

This article leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. It's hypocritical.

impetuous said...

molly s. said...
"I'm becoming increasingly convinced that something my boyfriend said the other day is true: Etsy needs a competitor."

Your boyfriend is right. I am really looking forward to one of these other handmade sites like Big Cartel, stepping it up and going for the jugular. As it is right now, without Etsy doing any advertising, another site could easily hit the masses and claim the prize.

The Funny One said...

I gotta second the need for moderated comments, since that's the responsibility of a discussion board that strives to encourage comments to stay on topic.

Esty uses quite a different approach. It lets threads get completely out of control, and then decides too late to MUTE THE COMMENTER, which, on any planet, is censorship (and punishment) of the person. Not management of the thread or the board. The result has been a Forum that is completely out of control.

Etsy uses another approach with Storque Comments, which is even scarier. They remove all negative comments, all of them. The only comments you can read in ANY Storque article are positive, giving the impression that all Storque articles are good and worthy.

Etsy is blatantly justifying the existence of the Storque because they spend most of their time writing things for it that are not news, not informative, and have insulted everyone that might make the mistake of reading it.

Ever hear of the word - propaganda?

Etsy is so full of mis-information that some sellers think the Customer Service Tips article means:
1. Etsy is going to open a CS Dept and this is actually an announcement (as 50% of the Storque "articles" really are - annoucements, not news); and
2. Etsy is going to install phones to answer questions from sellers because they posted pix of phones all over their CS article.

Mis-direction is rampant at Etsy, so is confusion. And arrogance. The fact that they thought a CS article was NOT insulting their own customers is proof that they live in a completely different world, far away from the world that sellers are trying to sell in.

If there were adequate and decent management and supervision at Etsy, no manager would have let that CS article run, or let Etsy publish 20 other "articles" a day that are confusing, insulting, and completely inappropriate for an ecommerce site of any size, shape, or form.

hoesof said...

"Actually, hoesof, we only delete comments that are personal attacks."

Bullshit. This site is dripping with personal attacks.

The Righteous One said...

hoesof, we do what what we can to limit attacks on individuals.

But I guess you can't read, like I said, this is our personal space. If you don't like what we do then leave.

impetuous said...

hoesof said...
"Bullshit. This site is dripping with personal attacks."

What's wrong Hoe? Let it out.

godot said...

So, Rokali is gone and these new antics are happening under Maria's watch. She's either a hands off type manager, or just as bad as the rest of them.

And Matt has office hours to talk about Christmas. Can you say "foot out the door"?

Either way, it doesn't bode well for etsy.

pony-lo said...

Hoesof, I disagree, there are far less random sniper attacks over here than at the 'regular' forum.

I wouldn't be able to visit here if the place was host to insensitive, uncensored nastiness from its regulars. There's just something altogether 'wrong' with etsy right now, however great the original ethos, which is something that a lot of us just feel in our guts, even if we can't quite describe it.

If a customer of my own was this dissatisfied, i would act, and fast. I think that the people here merely wish to see some active changes, and they feel that nobody on the etsy staff will listen. It is a relief to find others who understand this........without having to wade through ten tons of sugar coating to find the truth.

hoesof said...

"hoesof, we do what what we can to limit attacks on individuals."

Unless those individuals work for Etsy, right? Then they're fair game. Or if it's someone you deem to be defending Etsy in some way?

I understand it's your sandbox, your rules - just trying to figure out what those rules are. Since I have had posts "moderated" that are impersonal criticisms of ideas on this site, and since there are posts allowed to stay that call me, for instance, a "dipshit" (a personal attack if there ever was one) I judge that those rules are apparently quite similar to the ones that you seem to be condemning Etsy for - that is, deleting critical comments and allowing your favorites to say whatever they want.

EtsyBastard said...

It's incomprehensible that Maria hasn't hired a Marketing Director to oversee a CS Manager and a PR Manager, and brought both the service and communications under control.

So disappointing.

BTW, I wonder which Admin hoesof is...

yeah you right said...

the funny one has got it right

and as tasteless and brainless as the attacks on rokali's genitalia are, the rest of the bitchin is pretty accurate. there are too many disenfranchised sellers and short shrift given to seller requests.if etsy is to achieve its goals, they need to start implementing hardcore seller service before the situation gets worse

hoesef might be a fractious buyer

Ladies Auxilliary said...

"Great service isn’t easy to achieve" This just keeps nagging at my brain.

Great service IS easy to achieve, in fact, I swear it takes LESS effort than failing to achieve it.

1) be polite
2) answer customers promptly
3) let them know when their order's on the way
4) offer remedies if for some reason your product sucks it up
5) be politer
6) don't do anything to someone else that you would be appalled by were the tables turned

Blech...that stupid quote just annoys's NOT HARD Etsy, it's just not. Lots of us do it everyday in the big people world. I'm hoping Maria/crew can/are willing to cut through to the vein and bleed out the active arrogance that has been allowed to fester unchecked. There's hope here I swear, but what a stupid, stupid thing to say.

Of all the things they could have posted a story on...of ALL the things!

Sweet Little Cupcake said...

Please, please Etsy! I know you are reading all this. This is not a "handful" of people, this represents 1000's of us that feel this way but are too afraid to say anything.

I am one of THE biggest rah-rah Etsy cheerleaders on the forums. Each post as happy, positive and cheerful as possible is typed with a cheekful of sarcasm, but you wouldn't know that.

I daren't EVER post anything that is not 100% cupcake approved. You, Etsy administration, made that quite clear long, long ago.

As one of those that absoloutely NEEDS the $$ for each and every sale I make on Etsy, this is not a funny little game to me. You are screwing around with lives here.

Rest assured there are thousands just like me. And we are poised, waiting for someone to come along and do it RIGHT. I know I'll be the first one jumping ship.

Until then, you'resosweetthankyouhaveaniceday:)

kittyfur said...

Sweet Little Cupcake, you freaking kill me!

I think if I actually took the energy necessary to be as .. nice.. as you are on the forums I'd have to put myself out of my own misery. Seriously. I don't know how the hell you do it.

pony-lo said...

I couldnt do it.
But i have to admit that ever since i landed here, i have been seriously tempted to enter the forums and tell a whole heap of people how sorry i am it happened to them, etc.

but, i think it would be very easy to give ourselves away, now.

The Malevolent One said...

Hoesef, here are the rules. We are going to delete or moderate any comment that attempts to use this place as a platform for bashing specific sellers. If you do that, be prepared to be called a dipshit. We moderated several of your comments because instead of arguing the point, they attacked other commenters on a personal level. If you do that, you can expect the same in return.

We are also going to delete or moderate any comments designed to take the topic far off course. We're fine with a naturally evolving conversation but we're not going to put up with deliberate trolling.

We get that you don't like us. We don't care. You've said it enough times already, we're not interested in listening to it anymore. Don't bother replying to this with some lengthy rant. Unless you're actually going to comment on the topic of the article, move on or start your own damn blog.

This issue is done. We now return you to your friendly bitchfest about Etsy customer service.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree...their customer service sucks big time. I had a girl cheat me out of a purchase that she made and I have reported it to Etsy and for them to remove her shop. That was over a week ago. Nothing except for one of their lame generic emails about how a "real person" will be in touch with me asap.. BS. So I sent the same complaint in a couple of days ago and got the same stupid reply. Their customer service is not only's nonexistent.