Friday, March 12, 2010

To be or not to be

On your blog. Open to the whole wide world.
My kids, my husband and his job woes, my personal struggles with balancing work and home.
The goofy mundane;
 Yammering on about how I forgot to put a plate under the thawing meat and it dripped meat blood over every nook and cranny in my refrigerator and I had to get down on my hands and knees for 2 hours and scrub the congealed, bacteria ridden meat blood off with the last roll of paper towels that were not BOUNTY because I sent my husband to the grocery store instead of going myself even though I knew we needed household goods and the man doesn't know proper household good brands from the generic cheap brands to save his life.
Or the embarrassing;
Here, I'm going to insert a photo of me in this spot so you can nod sympathetically and pretend to reach forward for my hand in that comforting way that woman know how to do.
I received my first negative feedbacks.
 Technically I had 1 negative feedback from a non paying buyer that etsy refused to take off even though her account has since been closed (She was a chronic non-payer that had a like a 67% feedback). But these new most recent are for faulty product. That is devastating to me.
Honestly, I am not sure what happened to her 2 pendants.
Whether they got wet, the resin hadn't cured or maybe she used them as car mirror decorations like my sister does (argggh).
I've sold thousands now, (over 9,000 polymer clay pendants) both online and in stores, and never had this complaint before, but it doesn't matter. I never want a customer of mine to be stuck with faulty product. That is why I sincerely believe in having a 100% guarantee.

I offered a refund or replacements to fix the situation.

But the response was so casual; "Don't worry about it", that I am at a loss as to how to feel now.

I grow with criticism, I have learned  a lot from my neutrals and improved my performance at customer service, product quality and secure shipping. But I've never received 2 negative reviews before.
From the customers point of view, you buy something cute, you get it, it doesn't meet expectations, you regret the purchase and you put it away, not really thinking about it. Then sometime later you go the website and you are reminded you have to leave feedback and you start going down the list and come to the disappointment. Do you stop what you are doing, contact the seller, make them aware of the problem, wait for a response that could be defensive or never come? Yeah, I understand. There have been a few items that I just didn't want to go through the hassle but felt like the seller should still know. But I didn't leave negative feedback because it was my choice not to do something about the less then satisfactory transaction.

I know that logically it doesn't matter, I still have 100% feedback and most people will still shop from a store that has a few negatives. But it bothers me. A lot.


  1. *sigh. i know how you feel.
    You are brave to open yourself up on your blog like you have. Just know that you aren't the only one going through these struggles and I'm always here to commiserate with if you need a friend.
    Negative feedback totally sucks. I have gotten them too- actually no, i've gotten Neutral feedback which in my eyes is just as bad.
    I figure, you just can't please everyone and there is always going to be that one person that is difficult to please. A personal email or convo to you explaining the issue should have happened FIRST before the negative feedback was left. That's just good manners.. the fact that this didn't happen is terrible manners.
    I'm sorry Shannon!!

  2. Oh, I feel your pain! I would be devastated also. I've had non payers that I never left feedback because I didn't want to leave negative. But to get negative feedback and feel like it's out of your hands... I'm so sorry. Who knows what she did with them. I once had a customer bring me back a polymer pendant that her husband broke because he wanted to see what it was! Of course it broke! Have you considered sending the customer a small "I'm sorry" package? I'm sure your sales won't be hurt by this. Just move on with your excellent work!

  3. My hand is reaching for yours. I'm not normally a touchy feely person. It doesn't come naturally for me. Yet that reflex was there for this. And the stomach churning over negative feedback over both a product failing and then not being given the chance to make it right.

    We work so hard to create excellent products and give top-notch customer service through our Etsy transactions. I'm sorry you weren't given the chance to make this right. Sigh.

  4. Thank you, Kelley. I can relate, I'm not a touchy feely person either, but I needed comfort over this one.
    I appreciate your empathy, especially as a fellow etsy seller.
    There really should be a space to respond right under the feedback so potential customers know, I will do whatever I can to fix a problem.

  5. Lorelei - I see your heart shining through each of your wonderful creations, it is very hard to imagine somebody not letting you work out something before leaving anything less then positive.

    Neutral/negative is same thing to me, too! I want people "gushing" over their handmade product.

  6. Sometimes people are just mean. I have had the same experience several times and each time it just came down to a mean person. I don't know what it is - perhaps they are jealous of your success and feel the need to bring you down a peg. I don't hold back, though. If they don't remove the feedback I tell them they can never purchase from me again and I leave them scathing feedback in return. Other sellers need to know that they are dealing with a jerk. Grrr....

  7. ok - the hand is reaching out and squeezing gently... now i ask you to look at me and i say - 'feel what you are feeling, let it wash through you and over you, and watch it leave behind you.' ... you know the statistics, you know the facts... who knows what happened... people celebrate your work and it stares at me from a front cover of the ba that hangs out in my living room...
    as an artist, one can become dependent upon what people think - there is a need for validation... as a seller, you want to put out a good product... you excel at both... and you know what? not everyone is like you or me or our friends... they can be rude & worse, indifferent...
    breathe in - it washes over and through you...
    breathe out - it goes away...
    now get back to making beautiful things and kissing your kids!

  8. Mary Jane - you made me cry. *giggle*snort*hiccup*

    I tell myself that artists and crafters have to distance themselves emotionally from people in order to sell, submit and show their work. Always look at the big picture not the immediate words being said, but I let this get to me.

    Thank you for helping me let it go.

  9. I understand completely. It just feel terrible and it's so unfair that those 2 negatives outweigh the thosands of glowing reviews that you've received over the years. But such is life...Now, try and stack those toppled positives back up and REMEMBER them, because your work is great and anyone who reads your blog even for a second knows that you research everthing about your work before you do it and that, most importantly, that you CARE! Perhaps the most important reason of all for continuing to blog the way you do.
    I'm just waiting for that negative feedback for my work: It will come one day, sure as eggs is eggs.

  10. Round Rabbit - scathing would feel good.

  11. Mary Newton - that one made me laugh; "I broke it to see what it was, could you send me a new one?"

    I didn't mean to have the focus on this particular customer, just thinking through the whole situation. I offered free replacements, they were declined. It would be over kill to send in spite of her declining.

    But I am so grateful for your sympathy and suggestions, thank you.

  12. You create beautiful art and everyone knows that. You are a published author and accomplished artist. I do believe that some people can be very negative because thy are jealous of your talent and success.
    I hope this helps, and Etsy really should look into these problems and become more sensitive to the unfounded negative feedback.

  13. Shame is toxic.Slowly poisons everything in its path; certainly can't create. 2 out of 9,000? Forget about it. Also, please keep in mind all the PC companies have changed and are still changing their formulas. In ending, you handled it professionally on your end, your many friends gave you support and you have learned from it. You are so blessed.....9,000, my goodness. Go forward and create. -From another recovering perfectionist, Marlene

  14. I completely understand how you feel As you do I bend over backwards to make sure every thing is done to make a customer feel nothing but delight with their shopping experience but there is no pleasing some people. Chin up now there are so many people who appreciated what to do. I think it best to share warts and all on our blogs it shows we are real people.
    Hugs to you across the web (webs vibrate so maybe you will feel the vibes) :-D

  15. My dear, your work is lovely. And, having worked retail as a supervisor, I must say that you and your policy of a 100% guarantee is quite wonderful and one that I hope to follow but, like most have mentioned, you cannot make everyone happy. And to want to will make you pull your own hair out. And drive you to tears more often.

    You can certainly TRY, but please know that there will be a few crazy people who will, for example, buy a book, read the book from cover to cover, and return it (without a receipt) demanding a full refund because they didn't like how the book ended. I'm not saying your customer is crazy... :D

    I probably would still send an "i'm sorry" package... though it might seem a bit desperate, no? I'm fairly green at this so don't listen to me :P

  16. Maybe feedback should only be possible after the customer has given the seller a chance to put things right? And then each entry should have a seller rebuttal/reply feature to avoid these kinds of situations?

  17. Your work is truly gorgeous, Shannon. That someone should choose to dis your work is profoundly sad but I can fully understand how devastated and traumatised you must feel right now. As artists, we put all our heart and soul into all that we create and it is therefore not surprising that we take such criticism so personally. But saying that, YOU are soooo much more than other people's comments. You are an artist, a true craftswoman, a lover of beauty and creativity, and such a genuinely kind and generous person at that.... nothing can change those qualities. The choice to criticise reflects more on that person than on you, hun.
    Big big hugs
    Jo xx
    P.S. Believe it or not, I'm celebrating a "Week of Worthiness" over on my blog, that seems to relate a fair bit to what you have posted here, complete with a give-away of one of my orchid pendants. So do bob over and check it out.

  18. I received a negative once, from someone who I'd left neutral feedback for. She'd made an experience that was no-one's fault into a big palaver, and it took me an hour of staring at the screen before I could will myself to leave that neutral. I could've easily left a negative, but the whole point of feedback is to let others know what that person is like in business, and she was hard to deal with, but not so much to leave a negative and dint her percentage. But- she left negative feedback for me which made me look like a real bitch...that really hurt, especially after I tried so hard to be fair. So I know how you feel. *makes you tea*

    it's funny how I've received negatives on ebay from nutters and I brush it off, but on esty is a heartbreak. I guess it's because we really bare ourselves there, it's like someone saying we're not good enough. Funny how one small slight can overpower so much...

  19. Okay, the meat thing...that would TOTALLY happen to me. On the feedback thing...HAS happened to me and I've had to just remind myself that no matter how good we all are as vendors or customers, sometimes there are just some people who you can't make happy. Oh, and also there's always the occasional kook. Hang in there.

  20. Hi Shannon, thanks for finding my blog. I love that you posted about this, I'm just opening my Etsy store, and gives me great insight. I am so sorry that happened to you, but your work is just beautiful, and has no reflection on what a wonderful person you sound like. Congrats on your work on the cover, that is so cool. See, no one can take that pride away from you! Take care, hope to hear from you. And here's a BIG hug! Riki

  21. Don't worry -- it happens to us all. And it sucks big time. You know you can fix it, and they won't let you, and even if they let you, you know you probably lost a customer because you can't explain what to do in the future. Mailing something is also a lottery, especially in uncontrolled temperatures.

    You're a brave person -- now go make something pretty!


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