Monday, June 10, 2013

Why I don't check my Etsy feedback anymore or how to sleep better at night if you sell the things you make

Ah, feedback.

I am grateful (usually) that people take the time to comment on the things they buy from me in the public feedback forum, but please don't ask me to look at it.

This "don't look at it" thing was a gradual process.

It started a couple years ago with a particularly unhappy customer whose cork was "too beige".

Now if he had emailed me about this "too beige" thing I would have fixed him up somehow, probably with a refund, cork is ... well... kind of beige, after all.

But he left me a negative (not even a neutral!) feedback out of the blue, the day after Thanksgiving and then he did not respond to my emails to "kiss and make up".

I thought I would have a coronary.

I imagined every potential customer heading over to my feedback page, cork in cart - reading his comments and saying to themselves "wait a minute, what was I thinking, this guy's right, cork is too ... beige". I imagined "clear item from cart" buttons being hit all over the country.

I lost sleep. I knew I needed a change (not with this 'beigeness thing', but with my reaction part of it).

 I set up some parameters for myself (yes, this is what us obsessive, crazy people do).

At first I wouldn't look at my feedback late at night because if there was a problem it would keep me up. Then I wouldn't look at it late in the week, because if there was a problem I wanted to be able to have it resolved by the end of the week.

Finally I just stopped looking. It's been months.

(I will admit to keeping half an eye on the 100% positive on my front page - but it would take something pretty substantial to move that by this time - I've been doing this awhile) 

And I do not say this in any way to offer anyone else advice - and if you are a new seller - you maybe need to earn a few wrinkles (yes, I blame feedback for what is happening with my eyelids) through sleepless nights over some craziness that hits you out of the blue.

I told another maker this and she said to me "but you miss all the good stuff then".

Ugh, she was totally right, of course - but even this did not dissuade me. 

I am missing the 200 feedbacks that read "I love it" to avoid reading the 1 "this hits my baby in the head when I bend over" neutral.

(yes, there is something like that in there).

Now, this might send you over to my feedback and then you will know more than I do. I will have to live with this. Don't tell me anything that is happening in there. I mean it. I don't want to know. My feedback is like my daughter playing quietly across the room when she was little, even when I half suspected a tube of lipstick might be nearby - I don't want to look.

(and no, this is not the post I am trying to get my nerve up to write - this one isn't even close)

Of course when a customer contacts me with a problem I take care of it - I am not perfect with this stuff and mistakes happen and I guarantee my work with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

I know that my stuff being up to snuff impacts not only whether that customer comes back to me, but maybe she comes back to the handmade marketplace at all - maybe next time she heads down to Walmart for a cheapie - my goal as always is to keep everyone away from Walmart.

When customers email me with their kind words I always print them out and have a huge collection on my bulletin board - sometimes I put on red lipstick and give the pages a big old kiss before I hang them up there.

(even though Olive does a little - cuckoo for cocoa puffs - cuckoo hand signal behind my back that she thinks I don't see when I do this - I truly love my customers, truly I do)

I have found though that when people leave a problem feedback and I write to them to resolve it I never hear back from them anymore.

(in the early days I had a couple kiss and make ups and a couple that could not be satisfied, but now when I respond back to help, I just get ... crickets)

I think the public feedback isn't really about getting the problem solved. If I have a problem with a seller I will email them because I want something resolved. This isn't about resolution. Maybe people just want to say what they want to say ... in public. It isn't personal to them and I get that, of course.

To me, the Jersey Girl with skin as thick as a piece of onion peel, it's a whole other story

And yes, I envy you banana peel girls - except for those sallow complexions, of course - but I just can't be that girl. I've tried. I can't do it.
And yes, I also realize something about this will come back to me in some other way to be worked out - because changing the "doing" without changing the "being" isn't long lasting, but for right now, I am just fine with this.

For now, the only one I will be kiss and makeup-ing with is my husband.


Unni Strand said...

Hm, you've left me wondering if I can possibly stay away from your feedback now and feeling an urge to check my own, -just in case...
-And printing out positive feedback emails was a good idea!

Catherine Ivins said...

love you Unni! xo

Deb (Two Cheeky Monkeys) said...

I feel your pain! While I love reading the awesome feedback that I get from most customers, there are the occasional ones who you have to just think, "is this person THIS rude in real life or are they just a chicken who feels safe being rude in the relative anonymity of the internet?"

I think what matters is that you know you're doing your best to make great products for your customers and to resolve any issues that may arise. If they don't want to play, then that's their loss.

Catherine Ivins said...

Hi Deb- yes, I agree anonymity plays a part and also seeing things as impersonal - which the world just isn't anymore - they think they are leaving the feedback for the next buyer not the maker - and in my case this is true now, since I most likely won't see it unless I can thicken up my skin with some kind of miracle cream or something ... xo

DancingMooney ♥ said...

Oh Cat! Don't let one bad feedback ruin the good ones. I am with whom ever said, you'd miss all the good stuff. It's true, it hurts when we find something bad on our marks, but the truth is that we can't please everyone, and if someone doesn't buy from you because the 6,999 positive feedbacks you have aren't enough to cancel out that one jerk who doesn't know what color cork is without feeling it in his own hands... well.

I got my first negative a few years back from a gal who didn't use the rubber backs I included with her pair of earrings. She said the earrings would not stay in her ears and she had to take them apart and make herself a new pair! I told her that's what the rubber backs are for, and her reply was "oh, I would never wear those". Well. Sorry for you lady.

gah!!! Don't let this stuff stress you out miss. You do deserve to see all the goodness that people are leaving for you, and not let the slim chance of a bad one haunt you.

just sayin'. ♥

Catherine Ivins said...

I know it's nuts Janell, but at least for now I'm trying this. I've been emailing people after the sale about getting on my email list so if there is any kind of problem I'm sure they won't sign up and everyone has been.

There was a feedback at Christmas when I was working nonstop about me forgetting to glue a magnet into a woman's lid that pushed me over the edge ...

Yor earring lady sounds as kooky as my 'cork is too beige' guy - ack! :) xo