Until they get the kinks ironed out, I might be behaving a little strangely
- Have more than 95% of my reviews be 5 star
- Respond to 95% of my messages within 24 hours
- Ship 95% orders with tracking quickly
It’s not penalizing sellers… yet.
95% 5-Star Ratings
Etsy has decided nothing but 5 star reviews is good enough. This one is a little frustrating as many people consider a 4 star review to still be very good, and some people don’t leave 5 star reviews on principle alone. I’m also only allowed to publicly respond to 3-star or lower reviews, and while Etsy claims seller protection (so I could in theory get a review removed if someone complained about a late delivery time if I shipped on time)–that’s not the case in practice.
I once had a woman message me after I had shipped a product to the address she gave me and the day it was to be delivered she decided she wanted it to arrive at her vacation home instead. I… I can’t do that. It’s literally outside my power. When I told her that, she demanded a new product be shipped, for free, to her vacation home. When I declined, she left me a poor review. When I challenged it to Etsy, even though she was wholly wrong and I had fulfilled all the expectations on my end, they let it stand because ‘that was her perception of my service.’
The same goes for people who just… don’t read the item description. I’ve had people leave negative reviews because Sarenrae didn’t turn their black hair blonde, even though there’s a color chart showing the resulting color they’ll get, and I say it cannot lighten hair both in the pictures themselves and in the item listing. Even after refunding these customers and challenging the review, Etsy more or less shrugged and said it was my problem to work out with the seller.
I could enthrall you all day with some of the bonkers stories I encounter, (like the one lady that was scamming people for free product and threatening them with negative publicity because she was a singer managed by Taylor Swift’s former manager–that one Etsy actually banned), but the point is every now and again I get dinged on reviews for something utterly insane and outside of my control and Etsy will not do anything about it.
Of course I want to earn a 5 star review from you on every order you place at NightBlooming. I am in no way entitled to that, but I sincerely do this because I want my customers to love my products and feel great about buying from me.
That means that if there is anything I can do to set things right, please let me know before you leave a review and we’ll get it sorted. If you’ve been happy with your recent orders, it’d mean an immense amount to me if you could take the time to leave reviews that say as much–it helps offset the crazy.
95% message response time within 24 hours
Many times, customers find it easier to ask me a question than to read the listing. This is, in part, because there’s a giant button that says “ASK MELISSA” on every Etsy listing and a tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiny little bit of grayed out faded text that you’re supposed to click on to expand the item description. Etsy has found they convert more people to buying by crowding the top of the listing with reviews and cart add-ons and whatever else–which means people don’t read, or don’t know how to even FIND the rest of the item description, and as such, I get a LOT of questions.
It’s also not uncommon for Etsy to double-send message, or for people to hop across multiple items of mine and send me questions from each one (this generates a new convo each time on my end).
Now, because I have to respond to EVERY message within 24 hours (and there’s no way to flag that a message doesn’t need a response), that means that rather than taking questions across several convos and replying with one comprehensive answer, I now have to respond to each. convo. individually. That also means that if you send me duplicate Etsy messages in error, I’m going to respond to each one like a madwoman.
Ship 95% of orders with tracking quickly
You’d think this one would be a slam dunk for me… and you’d be wrong. I’m currently at 86% of shipping ‘on time with tracking’ because of the Ascension’s Reckoning preorders. I even reached out to Etsy and said that these are all preorders, that I very clearly state that they are and give the shipping date (and say that all items ordered with them ship with the book in October) and their response?
They wanted me to cancel all the preorders. And then ask my customers to re-order closer to the release date.
That’s… not how preorders work. And when I responded, asking how, if the point of the Star Seller Program was to deliver excellent customer service, how canceling orders and asking customers to place them again to essentially just game the system was accomplishing that.
They said they were sorry, but that’s the only thing I can do to ‘fix’ those numbers. And I’m not going to because I DO think it’s poor customer service to make my customers jump through hoops so I can hit an arbitrary metric. So the preorders stand, and I’ll take the hit on that.
What this does mean, though, is if you preorder Ascension’s Reckoning and add any other item to the order? I am going to ship that add-on item right away so I can tick the tracking requirement and eat the cost additional shipping cost on sending out the book in October. If you preordered the entire trilogy of The Iyarri Chronicles with book bag? I’ll be sending the first two books, the bag and the oils now, and then shipping the final book after it releases.
Another thing they didn’t accommodate for was pickup orders. I have coworkers or friends that order things, and when they do I refund their shipping costs and drop it off on their desk the next day. The order is marked as complete, but there’s no tracking because… I hand-delivered the parcel. All these instances also count against me because there’s no way to flag that an order did not need tracking.
It sucks, it’s a bunch of double work and additional costs, but I’m boxed in on that 🙁
As always, I love your comments!
I’ll admit this entire thing has left me feeling out of sorts and demoralized. When I told my husband about this program he was like, “Well, you nailed it, right?” and was floored when I told him, “No, I actually came up short on two of the metrics.” He just stared at me like I’d been revealed as a space alien because, to him, the only person who really sees just how much of my time and effort and energy I pour into NightBlooming and the glowing reviews my store gets… to come up short on 2 of 3 metrics was insanity.
I’m doing my best because I know that, like offering ‘free shipping’ as an ‘incentive’ eventually Etsy’s carrot will turn into a stick–I do this or my store suffers by being buried in search, by being locked out of certain promotional efforts, by not being eligible to be featured in certain ways by Etsy (these are all things they say are perks of earning the Star Seller badge).
Just understand that if I’m acting a little crazy, responding to messages that are clearly errors and the like, this is why 🙂