Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Art of Feedback

Anyone who operates an online business in a marketplace like Etsy, knows the importance of feedback. The feedback system was designed to let other shoppers know how trustworthy the seller is – are their descriptions accurate, their policies fair, their items the quality they profess? It’s a good system when it’s used properly and everyone understands the ‘rules’. Unfortunately, I’ve seen some really interesting comments and feedback scores, both in my shops and in others.

For example – I had one just yesterday. A customer contacted me wanting to know about my return policies. She had purchased a pair of tiny, catchless hoops she wanted to return. I explained she could return them in their original packaging within five business days of receiving them. When I receive them back, I will issue a refund. The items are one of my best sellers so I was curious about the reason for the return, so I asked her if there was a problem with them, or with my description, etc.

She said “no” and explained that she only has single piercings in her ears and she needs something she can take in and out often and easily, but that I’d done a good job of describing that they were more for people with additional piercings, as well as a photo to show how they work best. She also noted there was nothing wrong with the workmanship either, but that she’d been hoping they might fit her needs too.

Okay – fair enough, I thought. I thanked her for the info she took the time to provide and then I happened to check out my feedback, as I do regularly. This same customer had left NEUTRAL feedback and a comment that they weren’t right for her and that she’d contacted me regarding a return. We’ve since worked it out but I was very confused.

I’d provided a quality product, accurate descriptions and photographs, as well as exemplary customer service, and the feedback was neutral. I’ve seen this in many other shops too – feedback ranging from neutral to negative, for similar reasons. I think there’s some confusion about what feedback is and what it isn’t.

If I purchase something that’s the wrong size, the wrong color for me, or I just don’t really like it when I get it, that doesn’t warrant neutral or negative feedback. I’ve bought plenty of beads over the last two years that for some reason I expected to be larger than they were but the descriptions were accurate. My mind had made them bigger than they really were – so it was MY error in judgement, and nothing to do with the bead store’s product(s).

I’ve also seen feedback left as negative feedback with no comment, and no contact from the customer to discuss any issues or problems. It left me to wonder all kinds of things: (a) did it never arrive? (b) did you think they were bigger/smaller/thicker than they were? (c) they were sterling silver – did they tarnish and you didn’t know sterling did that? I could go on forever with what could have happened, and it would have been great to know what it was.

Leaving negative or neutral feedback without contacting the seller for a resolution to the problem is similar to a person who buys a shirt in a local store and when the seam comes down, instead of going back to the store and explaining the problem (with or without a receipt), they make a sign and picket the store. What happened to communication?

I’d love to see a tutorial in place that someone needs to complete before they can leave feedback. Or perhaps a series of specific questions that generates what the feedback will be. That button click can make or break a business – it is very powerful. Please use it wisely :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Who Spilled the Beads?

Guess what happened to me today? I went to grab a plastic container of tiny beads and the top popped off – spewing teeny little beads everywhere! What an incredible mess; they were everywhere, all over the floor and my bench. The bouncy little things went into my pots of sterling scrap, on my chair, and behind every piece of furniture in my shop.

My intention was to put away some new beads I had bought recently but I was waylaid by about an hour’s cleanup. The photo below shows the size of the beads – at this point they were mostly cleaned up.

Who Spilled the Beads

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Nath

I haven’t worn one myself but I’ve become rather fascinated with them. I find their beauty kind of ethereal and ancient … like they march to a different beat, which of course, suits me just fine.

The nath is an Indian tradition and is worn for special occasions, such as marriage and childbirth. It is often joined by a chain that connects to either an earring or a pin to the hair.

I made this one and it’s been purchased already. I love the delicate work – the stones all wire wrapped by sterling wire into place; making a delicate flower. Moonstone Flower Nath 3