Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Handling negative feedback like a pro

Etsy seller reaction to negative feedback
Negative feedback happens to us all
If you sell long enough, it happens to you. We all receive negative feedback. It is just a fact of online selling.

Yikes, negative feedback!

First off, take a deep breath. Step back. Relax for a day.

Most have heard the saying, “life is 10% of what happens and 90% of how you react to it.”

Negative feedback is one of those situations where you have limited control over what happens, but you CAN control your reaction. Your public reaction to bad feedback is one barometer that potential buyers use to decide whether or not to make a purchase with your shop.

Should you leave a response to negative feedback?

What will you say? After someone buys from you and has an issue, how will they be treated? You would not want to shut the door on future purchases from your shop by blaming past buyers, would you?

Experienced sellers have always counseled me to avoid commenting on the few negs my shop has received. That is what I have done, not to comment at all and move on.

Etsy does allow sellers to respond to negative feedback, if it is three stars or less. Sellers have 60 days from the last feedback revision by the buyer.

There is a caveat: once you respond, the buyer feedback cannot be changed. Interestingly, you can remove your response should you change your mind. But the buyer's feedback remains locked in place.

Remember, "you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar."

How can I prevent this next time?

Do some soul searching. Is there any truth to what was said? Can you improve in your item descriptions, photos, packing or customer service?

Use it as a learning experience. As a buyer, how would you want to be treated?

Why do people do it?

Feedback is, after all, the buyer's opinion. "You can please some of the people some of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time."

Savvy shoppers realize this. They will overlook a minor amount of negative feedback buried in a mass of stellar reviews.

Buyers come in various moods. A few buyers may choose to spread their bad mood by leaving negative feedback. In that case, you can wait a day or two and perhaps reach out to the buyer to see if anything can be done.

No seller wants negative feedback
Stars are important!

Will Etsy remove negative feedback?

Etsy rarely removes feedback. Of course, they may remove feedback that violates their policies. That would be things like exposing private information or harassment. They may also remove it if the review is for a third party (for example, the buyer berates the postal service, or hates Etsy's automated service asking them to review you).

I can remember when eBay started. The new world of online auctions required some checks and balances. The feedback system was a revolutionary way to assess sellers.

Now, decades later, feedback remains relatively unchanged. Most buyers are kind and forbearing when they do leave feedback.

Buyers still do still leave negative feedback, unfortunately. We must improve if there is room for it... endure if it is unwarranted.

And keep selling.


  1. I am both a buyer and a seller on Etsy. I agree with all the above, with one exception: If I see a really negative review for a shop where I'm considering buying something, I like to see how the seller handled the situation, which can only happen if they respond. If the shop tried to make amends through good customer service, then I'm even more likely to buy from the store. If the negative review is just left there with no response, then I start to wonder and may look elsewhere.

    1. Interesting, Carolyn... thanks for your insight. I will bear that in mind.

  2. Wish I had read this before responding to my negative feedback!


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