Dealing with Unhappy Etsy Customers

At some point you will deal with them:  Unhappy customers. Sometimes they have a good reason to be disappointed with the product they bought from your Etsy Shop. And other times, they are simply just grumpy customers.

You should do everything you can to try and make all of your customers happy with their purchase. If they leave you anything less than a 5-star review, then try doing everything you can to make their experience better, in hopes that they change their review to 5-stars. Because having a perfect 5-star rating on Etsy is crucial to your Etsy Shop's success.

Here are ways I recommend dealing with unhappy customers based on my experience. From what I have seen, roughly 50% of unhappy customers will change their review if you do something to fix their concerns. The other 50% will not get back to you or will not be happy even if you do fix their concerns. So you need to be prepared to have some unsuccessful attempts while doing this. 


Writing an unhappy Etsy Customer
When you do get in touch with an unhappy customer, make sure that you are as kind, pleasant, happy, and accommodating as possible.  Make sure you express your guilt, sorrow, and responsibility for the problem - even if you do not actually believe you did anything wrong. Then, offer a solution to their problem in a way that makes it very easy for them to accept. Some ways to help fix the customers problem might include:

  • Offering a substantial discount
  • Offering a full refund
  • Sending a new item that fixes their problem
  • Offering them a 2nd item totally for free
  • Expressing an apology that is genuine

An example of what you could say might go something like this:

"I am so sorry that you had a bad experience with my Etsy product, and I would love to do everything I can do fix the problem. What issues did you have in particular? Because of the trouble you've gone through, I'd like to offer you a full refund, and a totally free replacement of your item." 

Now, if you have digital items, this is easy for you to do, because you are really just losing your time. If you sell physical items, you probably cannot afford to be so generous, so your response might go something more like this:

"I am so sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with your purchase. What exactly were the issues your item had? I would love to fix the problem by sending you a 2nd item, free of charge, that fixes your concern. Whenever you have time, feel free to ship back your item. I will prepare a free shipping label to make your return as easy as possible. I appreciate your feedback and hope to hear from you soon!"

Make sure that whatever you offer to do to fix the problem is something you can reasonable do in terms of costs and time. If your item sells digital products, you have no excuse to go above and beyond with this. But if you sell physical items, still try to go out of your way to do something to improve your customer's experience.  Often times, when you have a store that sells physical items, customers tend to be more harsh, and getting 4-Star & 4.5-Star reviews is a bit more normal and a little more acceptable. But for stores selling digital times, there should be no excuse for having anything but 5-Star reviews. 


Waiting for an unhappy Etsy Customer's response
Often times when you write your Customers an Etsy Conversation, they will not get back to you, or they will take weeks before they do. Either they are upset and need time to cool off, or they are busy, or something else. So don't push too hard to hear from them. Simply wait to hear a response. If they do get back to you, Great! Continue the conversation with them.  But if the customer does not get back to you, make sure to wait at least 2 weeks before getting in touch with them a second time. Remember that, on Etsy, you have about 30 days where the customer can change their review, so you don't need to be super pushy with them. If you are pushy, you could actually scare them away or make them even more upset.


If they change their Etsy Review to something higher - rejoice!
Once you work out the issue with a customer, even if the customer changes their review from a 1-star to a 2-star review, you have won a small battle! Having a customer increase their star rating to anything higher than before is a great victory for you, and you should be totally happy that they bothered to improve their Etsy Review at all. Those small increases in Stars will greatly have an impact on your Etsy Shop's long-term success. Of course, you should hope that they change their review to 5-Stars, and most of them will. Whatever the case, be mentally prepared for your efforts to feel like they did not fully pay off as much as you hoped for.


If the customer does not change their review - accept it gracefully
If the customer does not get back to you within 2 weeks, try again.  And if they still do not get back to you, try again on more time after 3 weeks.  

If the customer has not responded to you within 30 days after their review, and they left a 3-Star review or lower, then the time has come to leave a public response to the customer's poor review. When you do this, be as honest, kind, and understanding as possible. Never blame the customer and defend yourself. It's just going to make you look stuck-up and seem like you think you never do anything wrong. Every Etsy Shop is going to make mistakes. But not every Etsy Shop is going to deal with their mistakes and customer complaints gracefully.  When you write your customer response, simply say you are sorry, that you would love to make this product better for then and fix the problem. Here's an example:

"Thank you so much for leaving your feedback, and I'm really sorry my product did not meet your needs. I'd love to do anything I can do fix these issues for you as soon as possible. I hope to hear from you soon!" 

Below is a sample of the most recent bad review I got.  The customer had left a 3-Star review. It was fair criticism, as I often worry about color quality, especially large blocks of 1-tone colored prints like the one below. I tried getting in touch with this customer 2 times.  They did get in touch with me after several days, I fixed the color to be a lighter shade of grey, and refunded the order. The customer did not change their review. So, after 30 days, I left the following public response.  This review is from over 2 months ago, with 8 pages of 5-Star reviews before it, so likely not a lot of people will see it. But, if they do, I hope it shows that I am always will to try and fix the problem, even if the customer didn't ask for anything to be fixed. 

Your response to the customer should show other people that you know that you can never be 100% perfect with every listing you create. But when you do mess up (or even if the customer just thinks you messed up) you are showing that you are willing to fix and improve the situation. And other customers on Etsy are going to appreciate seeing that kind of attitude from you. 


Keep moving forward
Unfortunately, some times people are mean and they leave bad reviews for no reason, and sometimes it just doesn't work out when you try to fix a problem. At some point, you have to let these things go and move on. But the most important thing when building and Etsy Shop is that you have to do your best every day, and keep moving forward, learning each day, and trying to make your Etsy Shop just a little bit better. 



Justin Wood

Minimalist Website Designer