How to Reply to a Bad Etsy Review
I got a three-star review. What do I do? OMG, it wasn’t even my fault!
Don’t freak out. Don’t do what I did. Don’t freak out. Thankfully I didn’t respond to the review before I talked to a peer.
First, don’t freak out. My shop was barely 2 months old with a handful of sales when I received my first review which was a 3-star review. It is now ten months later since I received that review, and I have 160 sales. The review did NOT stop people from buying my digital downloads.
IMPORTANT: Remember that a customer cannot change their review, once you respond to the review publicly. Take your time in responding. Wait a few hours or even a day to respond to a bad review. This way you won’t be emotional and you also may be able to improve the situation. Etsy says you have 100 days to respond.
This is the three-star review I received in my Etsy Shop:
“PDFs were blurry on the screen when I opened them and printed out just as blurry. Would probably look better if they were compressed into a smaller file type like an A4 or A5. I bought a few different puppy planners from different shops so I would have options for my 2 puppies and it ended up being identical to another one I purchased from another seller as far as layout and wording goes. Only differences were colors, fonts, and the added borders.”
I’m not going to go into depth about how this complaint was sort of unjustified (there are many planners on Etsy that are identical except in design) , OR how it was unfair (I can’t control your printer quality).
Here is my reply:
“My sincerest apologies, technology can be frustrating and it’s disappointing when a purchase doesn’t meet expectations. Customer satisfaction is my TOP priority, and I am happy to troubleshoot the issue with you to obtain a quality result. Thank you for your feedback. I have all the pages listed in the product description, I’m mulling over how to make this list more clear for buyers. I wish you and your pup the best, arf and woofs!”
What a response to a bad Etsy review should include:
Use these points and turn them into sentences. Keep your response professional and personal. I also recommend trying to talk to the person through private messaging to work things out if at all possible. (I will discuss customers changing reviews later in the post). Whether, the customer changes the review or not, it’s important to reach out to the buyer and try to give them a good customer experience. Even if you can’t make that customer happy, and have a bad review, you have the inner satisfaction knowing you did everything you could. That buyer will know this on some level as well, and will feel valued.
- Apologize blank can be frustrating…it’s blank when blank happens.
- Emphasize how customer satisfaction is important to you.
- Offer a solution.
- Thank the customer for feedback.
- State what you have done right (without implying the obvious)
- How you will change in future.
- Best wishes
Should I offer a refund in response to a bad Etsy review:
Take these things into consideration when you are deciding whether or not to give a refund to your customer.
- First and foremost, you MUST stand by your shop policy. Even if the customer doesn’t change the review. Even if the complaint is unfair and it wasn’t your fault. You MUST stand by your shop policy. Do what you said in your shop policy, you were going to do. If your shop policy says to refund the item that was purchased, do that.
- Do I give a refund if my shop policy states that there are no refunds? I did not give a refund. I sell digital downloads, this was a digital download. My shop policy clearly states there are no refunds. Because a customer cannot return a digital product. Now, had the buyer messaged me privately before giving the review publicly, I would have given her a refund. I couldn’t go against my shop policy publicly. If I made an exception for that buyer, wouldn’t I need to make an exception for every buyer?
- YOU decide what is best for you and your customer service. If there is a potential for this customer to be a repeat buyer, I would take this into consideration as well.
What about offering a refund if the customer changes their review?
I took this into account when I was deciding whether or not to give a refund. Hoping that if I offered a refund perhaps the buyer would change her review. However, a review wasn’t guaranteed. Also, it’s considered a sort of blackmail and totally against Etsy policy if you offer a refund to the buyer to even just remove their review. So, I took the hit and it worked out. The way you respond makes a difference. From what my experience and the experience of my peers, customers will take the bad review in context. Not at face value. Your public response, your reply to the negative review of your Etsy shop, is more important then the negative review itself.
What I learned and applying it increased my sales!
- #1. Show every single page in a video. I skipped this step because the puppy planner was 33 pages. I was new and did not know. If I had done a video with all of the pages, she maybe would not have been as disappointed that the pages were similar to another one. However, it may have not made a difference. While I used a template, I did add certain vaccination info but that was so minor she may not have noticed. I want to make sure the buyer knows exactly what they are getting.
- #2. Show every single page in the photos. This way, the buyer has many images to look at, even if I have to combine several pages into a picture ad. I want to make sure the buyer knows exactly what they are getting.
- #3 My Title. My Title may have sounded differently then I intended it. My product title was, “Most Excellent Puppy Planner”. I meant that title to be like Bill and Ted from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure movie.
However, what it sounded like was one of those spammy, over promise-under deliver products that we’ve heard from cheesy ads for years.
Even after I updated this listing with pictures showing all the pages, and the video showing all the pages, I received this three-star review, two months later. “This planner is nothing special…I won’t buy it again.” I didn’t respond to that review. Sometimes you just can’t, what would be the point? To call more attention to that review? That review is why I changed the name of my puppy planner to a standard, professional, Etsy SEO title.
Spilling the Tea on Etsy policy and negative reviews:
Many Etsy Sellers don’t understand why Etsy will not remove negative reviews that are just unfair or wrong. As a new shop owner, I sent my reviews into Etsy hoping that Etsy would remove these. Etsy replied by explaining that their company is under the rules of the FCC. This means that Etsy as a business, cannot “censure” reviews from customers. Period. The reasons that Etsy will remove a review, has to fall under FCC guidelines. Etsy can’t just make up their own rules for what reviews aren’t and are allowed. There are only a few exceptions for a review being removed. If you want to report your review just in case, here is where you do that.