The first part is here.
Lack of response to messages or a reply after a long time
I’m sure I’m not much mistaken if I say this is the bane of all artisans. There is no absolute answer as to why some customers do this. Well, come across it 2-3 times – okay. But when 20-30% of correspondence with customers in 70% of masters are like this – this is a system.
Many of you and many customers have had to refuse an order for various reasons. In this case, you just need – to write, explain, and apologize. At least, this is the position of an adult. Indeed there are objective circumstances – we are all human, we understand, even if “the husband forbade to buy. If there was a force majeure – someone got sick, you have to leave urgently – it too can be written in a short sentence, without going into details – at least no one will remain sediment, and you – feelings of guilt. There will be an opportunity to go back to this crafter.
A crafter girl once asked me if I had any wooden rings – the order was “burning.” She ordered the rings, which are still on their way, but she needs them urgently. And we live near each other. I agreed – it is necessary to help out a colleague. Then the girl master stopped answering. A month later, she showed up again with the same question, explaining that she had to leave urgently, but the rings were still needed. I politely declined – I had only a few rings left for my needs. In addition, I was left with an unpleasant impression of her. She was offended because “she had hoped for me, and I had failed.”
I have a few questions: The last rush order was waiting a month, too? If she had already ordered the rings, the package should have arrived by now, I guess? I think of the “urgent need to leave” as a panic escape: you grab the baby and your documents and run away from home. Yes, I’ve been in situations where I drop everything and go – to my mom in the hospital, to pick up a sick child in the garden, to a friend in hysterics … But now there is a way to find a minute on the road to text from your smartphone “sorry, the meeting will have to cancel, I’ll text as soon as I can.” Or is that not true?
What should the crafter do? In each case, you have to decide separately. It is necessary to write, to clarify: “Is everything all right? I’m waiting for an answer.” If the person has something urgent and he explains, even without details, giving her a second chance makes sense. Suppose this behavior is normal for someone who believes nothing terrible happened. In that case, it’s worth considering whether you’re ready to get into this situation again…
Changes in a nearly finished order
Everything was going well. We had an agreement. No one was missing, and no one was pushing or arguing. The last stitch was laid, the last rings were stapled, the final bow was tied, and the teddy bear was combed. And then you get a surprise in the mail: “I completely forgot, I wanted juniper beads/not rings, but squares/not a bear, but a doll/not green, but pink! What, is it all done now? It doesn’t take long to redo, does it? Because I have to give it to you tonight.
Even if you tell the client that redoing it is the same as doing it repeatedly, nothing can be changed, and it means spending as much time as you have already spent. Almost none of the clients offer to pay double or at least compensate you for the time. Rarely do customers not increase the order term – it’s the master’s fault – she did not ask too many times and did not foresee it.
What is a crafter to do? Either cancel the order completely or negotiate a new deadline. Before the order – discuss the nuances of the order in writing. Each of us remembers what we encountered in similar orders. If there was a problem at some point once with one customer, it might occur again, but with another customer.
– Messaging with the client. Possible misunderstandings
When the order is completed, the photo of the finished work is approved by the buyer, and you are almost ready to send the order, the client may ask you for a small favor. A pretty tiny one; you won’t even notice. For example, you must wrap the product in a beautiful gift box because the order will go straight to the birthday boy, not the customer. Let me guess: the parcel you promised to send tomorrow morning, and now it is the evening before the closing of stores left an hour, and you do not have gift wrapping.
And here’s what to do in this case. Refuse the customer from saying that you will send just a new package/box, as you usually send all the orders. Or figure out where to find the packaging. That’s what happened to me once, running around looking for it. Promised not to give in to a request for “a little extra service” again unless it was voiced in advance.
What’s a handyman to do? You can be specific right away about what kind of packing is needed. Tell them how you usually pack their work. If you need different packaging – discuss what kind, how much it will cost, and whether it can be done. If not – try to find the best compromise.
If I have arranged everything with the buyer and she is on her way to a meeting, I check my emails and messengers often – in case something has changed, and she has written to me. There have been precedents. The buyer is late/cancels the appointment/wants to clarify whether the change from a large bill/can I transfer money to the card, and instead of just calling me to clarify or writing a good old-fashioned text message, writes to me on the website, on social networks, in messengers. If the call and text can be seen quickly, then, for example, only some people are on social networks 100% of the time.
No one has any idea that by the law of meanness, I could suddenly run out of internet, have no signal in the subway, the phone is jammed, or anything else could happen. So they get upset that I don’t respond to messages. If an appointment is set for today and I have questions for a client, I call or write a message. If there is no answer to the message, I try to call again. If I don’t reach the client – at least there will be a trace I tried to contact. Well, the client’s phone couldn’t have broken down, either!!!!
What should the artisan do? Agree with the customer immediately, and specify different phones and methods of communication. Ensure you have enough money on the phone, pay for the internet, and do not run out of charge. If you want to tell the buyer something urgently – call! This is the only way to ensure the client has received the information.
Manchester, Builders 15/2. And where should I send the parcel? Is it a street? An avenue? An alley?
2 – is it a block or an apartment number? Is there an index? Ah, the street, the number of buildings, and the apartments are forgotten to specify!
I come across inaccuracies in the address systematically. As well as inaccuracies in the name and surname. For example, my name is written with one letter. I have to ask a question additionally. Usually, the buyer just copies the same information from the profile. And then you write the next message, clarifying every nuance, explaining that there will be questions in the post office…
What’s a handyman to do? To save time, ask the buyer a specific question: is this street, or is that the neighborhood’s name? Do you live in a house, so no apartment number is listed?
Walking Buyer, Auto Buyer, and Pickup Address
If you have agreed with the buyer that she will come or come to you for the order – you need to write clearly how to find your house, if there are difficulties to overcome on the way to you, and what to do when your house is found. Are you ready to go out and give the order, or do you need to go to your apartment?
An observation: customers who get there by public transportation or just on foot tend to find the correct address faster and are more likely to arrive at the agreed time than those who get there by car. So if you can’t wait longer than planned, you must be more specific about this.
Once, a customer was coming to me from a nearby street. It was ten minutes on foot and not in a hurry. She drove for an hour and a half by car – I took time to notice. I called her three times to see if she was lost. Sometimes that happens, and the buyer is too shy to call. No, she didn’t get lost. Just on the way, she stopped at a store at a gas station, and then she looked for a long time where to turn because the road was repaired. What if we agreed on a specific time? By the way, my address is simple. I specifically checked that the house number, building, and apartment are listed where usually indicated on the house.
Some buyers stop not at the house (we have parking lots and convenient exits) but behind or at the neighbor’s house. It’s more convenient for them to get out of there. And I, of course, must quickly get to them because they are in a hurry.
Another thing about the motorists: they get there, they find the house. They call and say, “I’m here.” That’s how I want to ask – so what? I have to rush out into the street without getting dressed. Especially in the winter. Or is the customer willing to wait for me to get dressed and go out? Or should I get dressed in advance and wait for her to arrive “during the day”?
Of course, the question “So what?” remains unspoken on my part. I write the address to buyers by text message, and at the end of it, I write “3rd floor, the elevator works” and a smiley face. I hint that the buyer will have to go up to the apartment.
I often ask buyers if there are no children in the car, which I can’t leave alone, and of course, I would go outside. Situations are different.
Anticipating your questions – no, I don’t have a car. Ninety percent of the time, I am on time everywhere. I call a taxi if I have to go far away with a child or a heavy load. I’m not against cars, just that kind of observation.
What is an artisan to do? Be patient. Give an exact address. Write in advance about the fact that the buyer will have to go up to your floor. Or vice versa – you will come down yourself but have to park nearby. Agree on a time if you have other plans and can’t wait for the buyer all day. For many people, this is not obvious.
– Messaging with the client. Possible misunderstandings
“Meet me at midnight by the subway. I’ll be wearing a black cape, a hat, holding a newspaper. Password: are you here for the order?”.
Some buyers think the master can quickly and at any time come and pass the order. I mean the situation where the buyer informs you that you are meeting at a specific place and at a certain time. She has made up her mind. I often offer to meet at the subway at 7-8 pm. Yes, the buyer is more convenient – she lives on the other side, finishes work late enough, or does not want to walk an extra hundred meters. But they need to think about whether it’s convenient for the crafter. And the artisan has her evening planned for sure – dinner, kids to bed, something to cook for tomorrow…
To such buyers, I honestly and directly inform them that such an appointment does not suit me and briefly explain the reasons. Judging by the response, some buyers didn’t think it was worth discussing in advance, and some were offended that I didn’t want to run to the subway at night. And they even once asked me why I couldn’t put the baby on after 9 p.m. and take a walk with him since I had no one to leave him with – after all, evening walks before bedtime are healthy. No comment.
What’s a handyman to do? Write that you have yet to have the opportunity at such a time to go out of the house. If necessary, argue why. Consider choosing another option – a day, time, or place that will be convenient for both of you.
Will there be a change?
Usually, this question is asked when finding a place to change money is no longer possible. Such a question is requested at the meeting, so it is better to write to the buyer in advance and ask how it is more convenient for her to pay. Not all buyers realize that you may not have the cash to give change, that there may not be an ATM nearby, and that even the online bank can fail at the most critical moment.
I recently had a woman order from me, but the ATM gave her a 500 euro bill. The toy was worth 90 euros. She had an online banking application on her smartphone, but only her son knew the password. I couldn’t give her change online either – just before the meeting, I withdrew the money, and there wouldn’t have been enough left to give her change. The withdrawn cash wouldn’t have been enough, either. It was in the subway; ATMs are only upstairs. I took a closer look at the customer and concluded that such a person simply could not cheat me – I gave her the toy and went home. And she, as promised, transferred the payment to my card through an ATM ten minutes later.
What should an artisan do? Write to the buyer in advance and specify the method of payment. If cash – warn them about the need to prepare the amount without change. The buyer doesn’t want to have to think up payment options on the spot, either. Have a few options for payment – different banks and payment systems.
Don’t leave a review
I don’t always leave reviews for the stores I shop at either (I’m not talking about the stores on Etsy). I rarely write bad reviews, either, only if something terrible happened. But on Etsy, there is even a reminder if I postpone the review for later. Leave reviews, not all customers who placed an order. And so you’re sitting there thinking – didn’t you like it? Although some customers came back, so everything was fine. I must check the tracking number to ensure the parcel arrives at the buyer.
What should the artisan do? In each case, to decide separately, depending on the order, the characteristics of the sale, and the buyer. When you send the track, you can ask to write that the order is received, whether everything is all right. You can write to the buyer and clarify whether the order has been received – this is a good tone. Even if the buyer writes briefly, you will know everything is fine overall. More often, customers still write quite detailed – maybe it just doesn’t occur to them that the master is waiting for feedback or is shy to write first praise and thank.
Sometimes it’s a shame that so much time has to be spent on various tiny nuances of sales. On the other hand – it is an invaluable sales experience, developing the ability to find common ground with any customer and learning how to consider, anticipate, warn, and ask back correctly.
If you read carefully the rules in the stores of many artisans, sometimes you can see that they are not just rules, but sometimes they are just a cry from the soul, a chronicle of difficulties and an attempt to consider all possible problems. Problems that may arise during the purchase/sale to anticipate any customer questions and possible consequences. If the military code is written in blood, then the stores’ rules are no other way than laid out by the nerves of the masters…
I reread this text and thought it came out very emotional. However, I always treat my customers with respect and patience. Even if they don’t say hello, don’t understand something, disappear or stop at three stores on their way to me, and then change their minds. The vast majority of customers are good people; they have a different perspective on some things, a different experience. None of them set out to bring the master to a “boil”; they are just the way they are and don’t have to conform to the idea of an ideal customer.
Thank you, and be tolerant of each other!