Welcome to Episode 11 of Etsy Jam. In this episode we talk about YOUR customers. How reaching out and learning about your customers will put you in a much better spot than relying on information from other sellers about THEIR customers.
Why talk to your customers? Why not just ask someone about their customers?
You’re not gonna gain as much information out of talking to someone else about their customers. Something I see all the time in Etsy and anywhere else is people are always very interested in asking other people about their customers and their experience. They always ask things from someone who they think is successful: “Hey, will you critique my listings?”, “Will you critique my shop?”, “What do you think about these photos?”
The advice you should ask other people that are successful is to learn their framework. The best way to learn from somebody who figured out something for themselves is to understand how they approached getting to where they are. How they approached overcoming those obstacles. How they approached those moments of enlightenment for their business so that you can do the same.
You don’t have to ask somebody a question or look for these information from someone else. This stuffs fall in our laps everyday on Facebook Group, Etsy Forums etc. People are sharing things that they’ve done where they found success. For example, someone recently changed their product photos and sat it behind a wooden fence to give a rustic feel to it and it worked great for them. It doesn’t mean that the same will happen to you if you copy their style, but what you can do is to test that. Keep in mind that it worked for somebody else so test to see if will work for you, too.
But it’s also important to talk to your customers. In talking to your customers, you’re gonna get a better sense of who they are as people, and the things that they’re interested in. If you can describe your customer just like you’re describing one of your friends, you’re in a really good spot in how well you know your customers.
Doesn’t Etsy tell me that I can’t talk to my customers?
Etsy does promote good customer service. You just want to make sure they’re getting excellent customer service which benefits everybody in the entire Etsy ecosystem including Etsy themselves. Following up your customers to check their satisfaction about your product isn’t frowned upon. That’s just good customer service. That extra outreach gives you the opportunity to reinforce a super positive experience OR reset a neutral experience and turn that into a positive one.
When someone has a great experience on Etsy, whether that be from your shop or anywhere else, it’s a net positive. Because that person may go out and be like “Wow, so I bought this on Etsy, and this person who sold me this bracelet reached out to me to make sure I’m super satisfied”. When was the last time you went to Target and bought something and they called you up to make sure you’re super satisfied?
For a couple of reasons, it’s totally okay to talk to your customer as long as you’re not soliciting or asking them to join your newsletters and whatnot. You’re just following up, making sure that they have an exceptional experience with you.
How would you set something up if you want to get to know your customers more?
I would start with a warm welcome or invite in your packaging. Put a nice little thank you note and let them know that you will be contacting them up about the product.
Example: “Hey [name], in 2 weeks, I’m going to follow up with you and ask you how it’s going because I want to make sure that you had a chance to get familiar with it, and that everything is going just beyond your expectations. But, if for any reason you need to reach out ahead of time, you can contact me [insert preferred contact method] here.”
So that way you opened the door and also letting them know that you are gonna reach out. That lets them know right off, that you care. The people that really care about you and your shop are gonna start thinking right away about what they’re gonna say to you. They’re gonna start thinking about their experience, “What was it like?”, “How am I liking it?”, “Do I have any questions?”. A lot of people are keen to talk to the people who made the stuff they care about. “You’ve taken the time to make this thing for me, and I’m probably buying it because I couldn’t make it myself so it makes it plain interesting to me.”
After you have established connection with your customers, what do you talk about?
It’s probably a good idea to have some questions pre-planned ahead of time. You can ask them about their experience and some of them possibly have an idea in their heads of what they’re gonna be talking about. But in our experience whenever we’ve talked to our customers – the best information comes out when you go off-script. You get to have conversations that are just real. Conversations that are organic and you really get to know these people.
How much time should you be devoting to talking to your customers?
As much as you possibly can. In fact, over these summer months where sales tend to be slower for most shops – this is a perfect opportunity to reach out to people. I wouldn’t even be too worried reaching out to people who may have purchased from you months ago. I don’t think there is a time where it would necessarily be too late to reach out to a customer to solicit feedback from them and get to know them a little bit better.
Think timely, but also give them a chance to use it before you even try to talk to them. Let them get acquainted with the product, let them kinda make it their own and then see how it went.
Why is it so hard to get reviews?
The big thing about people is the “What’s in it for me?” There’s the “What’s in it for me and why should I leave a review” and there’s also “Does my review even matter?” If people don’t think it matters, then they’re not gonna take the time to do it – except for people that had bad experience. People that had bad experience will go out and leave you a bad review. They’re doing it for them, they’re doing it out of some sort of revenge. That’s their “what’s in it for me?”. But for a lot of good people that have a good experience, if they have a good reason why to go leave a review and they believe that’s gonna help, then they are more inclined to do so. Not all of them, but they’re definitely more inclined to leave a good review if they believe that’s gonna help you.
So what should I do with all my unhappy customers?
20% of your customers cause 80% of the problems. People that are not a good fit for your business can be very high maintenance. As a small shop owner, you can’t afford to have too much unreasonable customers. I see people spend a disproportionate amount of their time and energy either 1) being upset about a bad shopping experience or 2) talking about it and making them more upset about it. Not that I’m telling you exactly how to resolve this – because I’m thinking sometimes it might be better to leave them unresolved.
You have other customers to serve and you’re not doing good customers any service if you spend all your time trying to please people that are bad for your business. If it makes you feel any better, you owe it to the customers who are there for you – your true fans – you owe it to them so spend your time on them. They are the ones that are there for you.
Get out there and talk to your customers. Shoot them an email right now. Just reach out and see how it goes and what happens. The more you do it, the more comfortable you’re going to be with it and you’re not gonna think it’s as big of a deal. The next time you do it, it would be easier and you get into a groove and we think you’re going to find it fantastic.