Customer service is a HUUUUUUUUUUGE factor in gaining traction on Etsy-- not only does Etsy reward excellent customer service with higher search placement (read: free traffic), but it is also one of the best ways to set your shop apart from everyone)
And here's another thing: it costs 5x more to attract a new customer than to retain an old one. And I'm not just talking about dollars and cents-- I'm talking about 5x more TIME (and if you're anything like me, you're probably a bit short on that!). Wouldn't it be awesome if you could save some MAJOR time by selling to previous customers-- customers who already KNOW your brand + LOVE IT.
Hey, strategy that saves time? I'm in!
While a lot customer service skills will hone and develop over time, today I'm sharing 3 of my TOP tips for providing a superior customer experience that will keep your customers coming back for more!
TIP #1 | Communicate more than you think you need to
In my 5 years of selling online, I cannot honestly think of one client that has ever said “please stop sending me the details of my order.” Seriously—customers love knowing how things are progressing with their Etsy orders and any updates you can give them are always welcome—promise ;)
One thing that is awesome about selling on Etsy is the automatic emails that go out to customers when they a) order a new product, or b) their product ships out. It’s a fantastically passive way to keep your customers satisfied, but it shouldn’t be the only communication you’re initiating.
Take it from someone with a few sales and a fair share of customer service experiences (both good and bad, if we're being honest ;)--customers usually don't read those emails from Etsy. To some customers, they simply look like another generic notification email or (worse yet) another promotion from Etsy (anyone else get bombarded with those when you initially signed up?!).
While there is nothing you can personally do about getting those confirmation Etsy emails opened and read, you can step up and over-communicate (in a good way!) with your customers to make sure they are getting the information about their order that they need.
The main reason for doing this? Your customers want to know that they’re order is being taken care of. While Etsy has a mostly stellar reputation, there have definitely been more than a few instances when products haven’t shipping on time, an order has been cancelled without notice, or communication back and forth on a custom item has come to an abrupt halt. Those “horror stories” are everywhere on the forums and web, so they can tend to make a customer nervous about purchasing on Etsy.
Thankfully, this doesn't have to be your story--by communicating with your customers throughout the order process, you're ensuring a positive experience for everyone involved!
Now, I’m not talking about sending out 5+ spammy conversations/emails pitching product to them—I’m talking about conversing them naturally about their order. This can be simple things like:
- An order progress photo for a custom order
- A standard turnaround time notification
- An estimated delivery time-frame update (if things are moving faster/slower than anticipated)
- A resolution of any issues with a specific order
Make each of your customers feel like they are your absolute #1 priority (even if you have 50 of them at the time!)--it’s the best way to ensure a positive sales experience + get them talking about your business to everyone they know (hello, free advertising for the win!)
And, also, make sure your messages are prompt. Apart from taking off the weekends + holidays, you should always, always, ALWAYS respond to your customers’ questions/concerns as quickly as possible (within a few hours at the very most). This quickly sets you apart from the other “popsicle stick” craft shops on Etsy (you know the ones I’m talking about…) and makes you look real-deal professional--even if you still don't feel like it!
TIP #2 | SEND A PERSONALIZED THANK YOU TO YOUR CUSTOMER
One of my absolute favorite tips is to send out a personalized thank you convo (or email) to every single person I sell a product to. This is SO easy and SO often overlooked.
If the word “personalized” has you overwhelmed just thinking about it, rest easy, my friend! This is such a simple, simple thing to do and the ROI (return-on-investment)? It’s ah-mazing!
For LittleHighbury, I simply created a draft of a thank you letter that I could send to every buyer I received. It simply thanked them for their order, gave them an estimated delivery time frame, and encouraged them to share their pictures on social media and tag @littlehighbury in them (which, bonus tip: having your customers tag your products on their social media is free and effective advertising for YOU!) Super easy, just cut + paste as a conversation to each buyer. I would customize it with their name at the beginning (just pulled from the order information) just to give it that personalized aspect. Here’s a sample of what I write:
Thank you so much for your order—you made my day! Your items will be shipped in 2-4 business days of purchase and you should receive your package in 3-5 business days via USPS First Class mail (If you selected Priority shipping, your order will arrive quicker). International shipping averages about 3-4 weeks.
We’d love to see your little one modeling our collections! Be sure to snap a pic on Instagram or Facebook and to tag us in it — #littlehighbury
Also— exciting news!— we just added SWADDLE BLANKETS to the shop (and you can get a FREE matching hat if you leave the note “matching hat” in your checkout notes!) You can find them [insert link here]
We’ve designed them to be whimsical, fun, and one-of-a-kind — we’re hoping that with their beautiful packaging, they’ll become your go-to gift for baby showers!
(You’ll also note that I threw in a soft product pitch there as well—nothing too crazy—just mentioning items that I have for sale that might appeal to them, since they’ve already shopped from me once.)
The best thing about writing up these quick, personalized thank you notes is that you have now made a personal connection with them. You already know they are interested, since they purchased your product, so the likelihood of them purchasing more goes up significantly. With a personal connection, they are that much more likely to remember you and the super awesome shop owner that you are!
I receive SO many replies back to these emails thanking me for taking the time to write to them and keep them updated. Seriously. It is one of the reasons I believe I have a 50% return rate on previous customers.
TIP #3 | UNDER-promise + OVER-deliver
There is nothing as frustrating as placing an order for an item and finding out that shipping has been delayed (regardless of the reason and regardless of if you actually needed the item by a certain time or not…). Not only is it incredibly unprofessional, but it also casts an initial damper on the whole order-- the customer will be less than enthused while opening it because something has already caused frustration in the order process.
Need an example? Here’s a scenario:
Scenario A | Your Etsy shop states that it’s current turnaround time is 2-4 business days. And while you can normally fill that timeframe, lately things got a little busy at home, and as a result, one of your items ships out a couple of days late.
Scenario B | Your Etsy shop states that it’s current turnaround time is 2 weeks, even though it usually only takes you around a week to fill your orders. When an order comes in, you get started quickly, and have it shipped out the door in just over 1 week.
Which scenario do you think made the customer happier?
Even though the item goes out in 6 days in the first example, it is still 2 days late.
But in the second example? Yes, it took longer to ship, but because that had been communicated to the customer prior, and their expectations were already set at two weeks, you just provided an EXCELLENT customer service experience that is going to rock your customer’s world.
This also creates a sense of wonderment about your business—not only do you sell high-quality products, but you also were super-awesome and went above and beyond to get them their product as quickly as possible. I cannot tell you how many product reviews I’ve received on Etsy that give 5-stars because “My order arrived sooooo quickly!” (Yes, I do realize that USPS determines a large portion of that, but take that complement and own it, girl! You deserve it!)
Under-promising might also mean that you cannot guarantee a certain arrival date with USPS shipping. While most times you are okay with USPS Priority or Next-day mail, take it from someone who’s learned the hard way—USPS is NEVER 100% reliable. Never. And when an item is late? You have to take the rap for it.
Always be as truthful as you can to a customer, but never guarantee shipping unless you are ready to eat the consequences. This is especially true during the holiday season, as mail is often delayed and even Priority Mail has no claim to meet deadlines.
So there you have it-- my top 3 tips for excelling at customer service on Etsy (AKA getting more sales!). Any tips that you've found work ridiculously well in your business? Share them in the comments below-- I'd love to hear them! xoxo