Have you ever lost an afternoon seething because someone sent you a bad review on Etsy?
You were just walking along, minding your own business…and BAM.
A shitty human being came up and slapped you in the face with some BULLSHIT covered bullshit with bullshit filling.
This is the reality of working online, and unfortunately, I can 100% guarantee this scenario will happen to you. Even if your items are flawless.
The next time you catch yourself ANGRY at a customer comment or review, I want you to remember something:
Whether you’re the most flawless blogger, the You Tuber with endless followers, or the Etsy seller who has critically acclaimed products…ALL these people get terrible emails, shitty comments, and 1-star reviews for no reason.
It doesn’t matter how amazing your business is. Bad reviews happen.
Between the hundreds of good comments we all get, there’s always a troll wedged in there.
It happens to everyone who does business online. And the more you grow, the more likely it is to happen.
Seriously, you could give EVERYONE who ever visits your website a crisp $1000 bill, and there will STILL be people out there who find a reason to complain about you.
Just to prove my point, I’m gonna tell you a story. Not long ago, I launched a video training series.
I decided that I didn’t want to leave people out just because they couldn’t pay – so I offered my video series (which took over 30 days of work to create), and I GAVE it away, completely free, to my email subscribers.
The only catch?
Subscribers got 48 hours to watch over $200 of serious Etsy training for FREE – then after 2 days, those videos got locked away in my members-only vault.
The amount of appreciation I got for a giving away some of my best stuff for free was beyond overwhelming, and incredibly humbling:
These people were so grateful – they totally appreciated how much time and energy I spent just to GIVE them something helpful for FREE. And they were happy to grab their videos within a 48-hour window.
But among the glowing emails, there’s always one of these:
Did I have to give this person stuff for free? Absolutely not.
Is it shocking that I only gave them 48 hours to watch? Not really, it’s my content – I get to choose how I put it out into the world.
Was I trying to sell her something? Um, DUH – that’s how I pay my rent each month. What do you think I do, pray the bills away?!?
Is it shocking that people get angry at you when you give them something for free? Um, hell yeah it is!
But it proves an excellent point:
People will find a reason to get ANGRY at you no matter what you do.
Even if you give them free stuff.
Even if you have the best product in the world.
And even if there’s no reason at all, and they just want to be shitty.
That’s the definition of a troll – they hate for no reason at all.
So, what do you do when trolls happens to you?
Let’s look at this lovely little scenario right here:
If you’ve sold on Etsy for any amount of time, you’ve probably encountered a review just like this.
A lot of customers forget that it’s difficult to hand-create items, and not only that – it never occurs to buyers that you have business expenses!
But as a seller, if I posted a response telling the buyer, “it’s expensive to create handmade items, and I have expenses too, you know!”, it would make me look defensive, hot-headed, and worst of all: difficult to buy from.
Let’s pretend that, INSTEAD of getting upset about this review, I posted something like this:
“Oh no, I’m so sorry you’re not happy with your item! I’d love to make this right for you, so please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’ve just sent you an email and Etsy convo so you can get in touch with me easily!”
WOW. That feels like some kick-ass customer service!
Added Bonus: For anyone who’s reading through your reviews and sees this response, it’s going to make them WANT to buy from you. It makes you look like the coolest person on the planet.
Here’s the best part about this strategy – NOWHERE in that response did I offer up a refund, or anything specific AT ALL. Since they’ve already reviewed me, I’m not obligated to do anything.
BUT, I will usually provide a 50% refund in this case. I think of it as my “I’d-pay-money-to-never-deal-with-you-again” fee. And I’m usually happy to pay it.
(BONUS: When I give people this kind of customer service, they almost ALWAYS amend their review to 4 or 5-stars).
Realistically though, once someone leaves you a bad review like this, it’s unlikely they’ll contact you or reply to your messages. So at least this way, you can cover your ass!
What to do with Trolls that wind up in your Inbox
On Etsy, we’re required to deal with customer service and feedback. It’s a part of the job.
But what do you do when trolls wind up in your inbox?
I personally believe that your email inbox is a sacred place. YOU get to choose who CAN and CANNOT contact you, and you have the right to filter people however you’d like.
When readers write me about LEGIT customer service issues, this is always my top priority, and it should be yours too. After all, these are the people that pay our bills and allow us to live our dreams. The least we can do is try our best to make them happy.
BUT when someone just wants to say something awful to you, or tell you that you suck, or provide unsolicited criticism – THAT is an inbox troll.
I’m going to tell you a secret:
If trolls write you shitty emails, leave comments on your social media, or otherwise harass you…you are NOT obligated to answer them.
In fact, I delete them.
Whenever I find a troll, I ask myself two questions:
- Is this person currently paying me for something?
- Will this person EVER pay me for something? Are they likely to become a customer?
And if the answer to both these questions is “NO” – then I hit DELETE.
Immediately. No thought required.
Using this system removes emotion from the equation. You don’t even need to get upset, or waste your time on this person. Just REMOVE them from your life entirely.
Rather than wasting my time answering these people, I can move on with my day and keep right on running my successful biz, interruption free.
So, take a breath, and LET it GO. This person doesn’t deserve ANY more of your valuable attention.
And don’t forget: it’s widely known in online communities that NEGATIVE comments are a sign of major business growth. Many bloggers (myself included) report that they get an influx of negative emails right before their business gets a serious income injection.
All businesses get trolled. A LOT. The pain WILL subside with time, then it won’t matter anymore. If you give this person too much of your attention, you’re wasting time on them. That’s what they WANT — to make you upset and ruin your day.
LETTING GO and realizing this person isn’t worth your energy is the #1 thing you can do to win out over trolls. It’s upsetting to them when they don’t rattle you.
Give trolls the middle finger: Focus on YOUR business and what YOU need to do to grow more each day, and forget that troll ever existed.