A customer is driving me nuts and I need to vent!

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Sherri S. wrote
on Nov 2, 2014 4:05 PM

I haven't posted here in quite a while, but I really need to vent.  Will you guys bend an ear and provide input?

I have a customer who is absolutely driving me up a wall.  On the one hand, my situation with her is good, because there is a very good chance that she will be buying four necklaces and a pair of earrings from me.  She has already bought one necklace from my Etsy shop, which I shortened for her.  She received it and is happy with it, and now wants me to make three more necklaces and a pair of earrings, the latter which she is going to send me flowers for which she has that match one of my flower pendants.

I'm going to try and make this as short and concise as possible.

It all started October 16.  I was on the road, sitting in the Seattle airport when the Etsy App on my phone dinged at me.  This customer liked one of my necklaces and asked 1) if it can be shortened and 2) was the color in that particular bead the only color I had in that bead.  I thought I had two colors and she liked the idea of white MOP, so she bought the necklace.  This first order actually turned into a custom order.  When I got home from my trip, I discovered I didn't have white MOP in the correct size so I ordered it just for her.  She told me she also wanted to purchase another necklace of mine, to be shortened as well, the following week, which she did.  So, last week I sat down to recreate the first necklace she bought in MOP and shorten the second necklace she purchased.  I ended up restringing the MOP necklace several times because she wanted it an exact, very short length, so both necklaces took me an entire evening.  

She wanted to see pictures before shipping.  The next day, I photographed them both - and she decided she didn't want the white MOP one (which I went out of my way for her to get the beads she wanted), but she wanted two other necklaces instead!  In other words, she was rejecting the MOP, and wanting to purchase an ADDITIONAL necklace, bringing the total number of  necklaces to three!. I was upset that I went out of my way for her for the MOP necklace, but pleased that she wanted an additional necklace.  I went ahead and canceled the original order and refunded her money, and wanted to start from scratch with a custom order.  By this time, I am starting to go nuts with all of the convos, which as of this writing, are numbering close to 150 since 10/16.

I got on the Etsy forums for some advice.  I ended up shipping the second necklace she purchased to make sure that she would be happy with it.  I am also in the process of creating a custom listing policy to post on Etsy.  I will ask her to read it and agree before posting the upcoming new listings.

The custom listings are not posted yet.  I will require full payment up front before beginning any bead work.

I have sent her pictures of bead strands and crystals to choose from in the color she chose for the two necklaces.  She chose what she wanted, and now she wants a third necklace also, but with a different pendant.  I had told her when I shipped the first necklace, that since it was my decision not to wait (she wanted to wait to get the combined shipping rate), that I would only charge her the combined shipping rate on the remaining necklaces.  I'll lose a little in shipping costs, but that's not a big deal if she buys everything she says she wants to buy.  I wanted to make absolutely sure that she likes my work before making anything custom for her.  She has changed her mind so many times!!  I didn't want her to tell me she wasn't happy with an order after putting so much work into it, as I already had done with the initial necklace which she ultimately rejected.

But long convo strings about the orders with this customer are driving me mad!Super Angry  I'm a fast typist, but they are still taking a lot of time!

What would you do in this situation?  Would the long conversations and taking photos of beads to post in the convos be worth it to you for three necklaces being sold for $42-$55 each?  I've done custom orders before, but nothing like this!

 

 Sherri S.

Check out my Etsy Store......

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6321824

Check out my Etsy Beads Store.......

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=7141344

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shanks wrote
on Nov 2, 2014 8:13 PM

Hi Sherri,

I have felt your angst in the past.  There are three kinds of customers, the ones you had yesterday, the ones you have today and the ones you will have tomorrow. It sounds like the one you are trying to deal with should fall into the yesterday file. Some times the best way out is to tell a customer that you just don't feel that you are able to satisfy her, and therefore I am withdrawing any further offers. For $150 worth of sales, what you are going through and what you will go through with this person in the future,  the small monetary gain is not worth it. In all my years of selling, not jewelry, I have had a hand full of customers like that. At first I went through what you are going through on the first couple of customers and found that it drove me up the wall as well. Talked to a person that had sold for years, and the advice I got was to dump any one that is unreasonable, super picky, or just a big (Pain in  the  ******)

Work for the customer of tomorrow.

P.S. Slow the poor cat down, he must be getting tired

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D.M.Z wrote
on Nov 2, 2014 9:07 PM

I totally agree with shanks, years ago I sold vintage costume jewelry...........and there would be times when someone would want me to alter a piece......... a manufactured item, made somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 years ago? To me, then, that represented a person who was clueless and waaaay too self centered to even think that could be done

I've had bead item customers request the same thing and my stuff is generally loomed and almost impossible to alter once done. I just politely say no and put them on my personal list of "do not sell to" people. Worst case is that she will eventually return all your items and then you will have to make them longer again to sell them to most any other customer. If she is paying with a credit card, she can request a chargeback against you up to 6 months after the sale.........I'd definitely kiss off this person, just to save your sanity. Donna

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Sherri S. wrote
on Nov 3, 2014 9:50 PM

Thanks you guys, for your input.  She "absolutely loved" the necklace that I mailed to her (which was the second necklace she purchased that I shortened when I was also recreating the MOP necklace).  I may just go through with this because things seem to be progressing.  I get so few sales in my shop, I would like to see this through if possible.

She asked me to retake the photos of the available pendants and to number them, so that we were both sure which ones she wanted in the necklaces.  I did that tonight and still have my photography studio set up on my dining room table waiting for her reply.  I sent her two photos with a total of 12 pendants.  I foresee her picking several and asking me to retake the photo with those chosen pendants in the same photo.

I received the earring pendants that she sent me today, and they are indeed an exact match to some of the pendants that I have.  What gets me is that 8 of these pendants I photographed are very nearly identical, but she still wanted me to number them so she could choose.  In the end, regardless of which one she chooses, the necklace will look the same!  I'll likely see this through to the end, but I dread having another customer like this - it is just taking up too much time!  But I feel like I am already in this one for the long haul.  She does seem to be very nice, just super picky, and she was happy with the first necklace she received.  

I told her that if I was going to do this for her, that I would not "finish off" the necklaces until I was certain she would be happy with them.  That means that I will take pictures before I cut and crimp the wire, and get her approval first.  I did charge more for the necklaces that are similar to the first necklace that she received - to make up for the extra work that I am doing on them.

Regarding the cat in my signature line.......a BD member created that for me several years ago (If you are reading this, hi Pam!).  I don't know how to slow it down, but I love that cat! Wink

 Sherri S.

Check out my Etsy Store......

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6321824

Check out my Etsy Beads Store.......

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=7141344

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Sherri S. wrote
on Nov 3, 2014 9:58 PM

Oh, and I might mention, my husband thinks that she is being so picky because he is assuming she has been burned in the past.  He says he understands that.  I still hope that I don't get a lot of customers like this.  If it was my full-time job, that would be another story.

 Sherri S.

Check out my Etsy Store......

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6321824

Check out my Etsy Beads Store.......

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=7141344

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shanks wrote
on Nov 4, 2014 1:23 AM

I am glad to hear that things have settled down. Good luck in your future dealings. 

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Sherri S. wrote
on Nov 4, 2014 12:04 PM

Well, this is very interesting.  Your advice may be spot on.  Last night I took pictures with numbers as she requested, posted my custom item policy for her to read, posted the 4 custom listings she wanted, and her convos have suddenly stopped!  Perhaps your intuition about my story is stronger than my own!  If she does not respond by the end of the day today, I'm going to anticipate her asking me to send her earring pendants back to her.  If that happens, I will be somewhat relieved, since the orders could have turned into a can of worms.  Perhaps the part of my policy stating that "30% of payment is nonrefundable if the buyer backs out before completion" scared her away.  I've put too much into this already to not require that.  It is protection of my time!

 Sherri S.

Check out my Etsy Store......

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6321824

Check out my Etsy Beads Store.......

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=7141344

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Sherri S. wrote
on Nov 4, 2014 6:30 PM

I sent my last post too soon.  I heard from her at lunchtime today.  I am getting ready to call this quits. 

I had agreed to give her combined shipping after I shipped her the last necklace because it was my decision not to wait, so I listed the combined shipping rate in the custom listings thinking she would buy them all at once.  She only purchased one of the listings today.  She is going to begin to feel my frustration now because I can't hide it anymore.  If she is going to buy them one at a time like this, then I'm going to tell her that I will need to charge her the full shipping cost.  I do not want to wait and hold custom items as they are purchased individually over an extended period of time. 

This is getting ridiculous!!

 Sherri S.

Check out my Etsy Store......

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6321824

Check out my Etsy Beads Store.......

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=7141344

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shanks wrote
on Nov 4, 2014 7:02 PM

 

Sorry to have posted too soon myself, so I will revert back to my original post               

"dump any one that is unreasonable, super picky, or just a big (Pain in  the  ******)  Looks like she is 2 out of the 3.   Tongue Tied

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Sherri S. wrote
on Nov 4, 2014 8:27 PM

Thanks Shanks (that rhymes!), I should have canceled the whole thing, but after I sent that last post and left the office, by the time I got to my destination, she had purchased all 4 items, so I am stuck with the orders.  I think I'll just deal with it and chock it up to experience.  At least I now have my custom items policy in place.

What is really weird though, is that she made all of the purchases individually instead of adding them all into her Etsy shopping cart.  In addition, all four payments were paid with PayPal and each of them are showing as pending, but they are not showing up in my PayPal account at all.  Ever hear of such a thing?  I know that eChecks show as pending, but they are visible in the PayPal account and are shown as pending.  These payments aren't showing at all.

 Sherri S.

Check out my Etsy Store......

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6321824

Check out my Etsy Beads Store.......

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=7141344

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trayck wrote
on Nov 5, 2014 2:58 AM

OMG I can feel your frustration.

I have made a few necklaces on request for friends and work colleagues for special occasions and each time I make something it gets shown around and I have often had the comments 'You should open up an ebay or etsy store and sell them on line'. To which I reply ' No thanks I do this for enjoyment and it would end up not as fun if I was to do that'  After reading this thread I am even more sure in my decision not to make jewellery and sell it online.

Good luck with finalising the orders with this woman and may all your future customers be nice.

T.

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Sherri S. wrote
on Nov 6, 2014 8:19 PM

tracyk - My situation actually seems to be turning out okay.  The convos have stopped and she is letting me get to work.  Even after all of the convos, we have narrowed down exactly what she wants, and I have a plan in place to send her photos as the projects progress so that I am making what she wants.  I am now sensing she is just a very particular customer.  

All of my other online customers are nothing like this.  I have friends with brick-and-mortar stores who also have occasional customers like this one.  It just happens sometimes.  I don't think you should let my current experience dictate your decision to not sell online.  I highly recommend selling online, because when you sell online, the whole world (literally) is your marketplace!  I suggest going for it, you really don't have anything to lose.  

 Sherri S.

Check out my Etsy Store......

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6321824

Check out my Etsy Beads Store.......

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=7141344

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Posts 2,114
Sherri S. wrote
on Nov 6, 2014 8:21 PM

I did find out the reason why her payments weren't showing in my PP account.  I had recently removed an email address from my PP account that I no longer use, but the address is still showing as my PP email address on Etsy.  When I added back that email address to my PP account, the payments appeared.  I am heaving a big sigh of relief.  Things are progressing okay now.

 Sherri S.

Check out my Etsy Store......

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6321824

Check out my Etsy Beads Store.......

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=7141344

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Posts 220
trayck wrote
on Nov 7, 2014 3:30 AM

Yay Sherri, Glad things are turning out well.

Don't worry that your situation has put me off selling stuff online. I already had reasons why I would never do such a thing and this is just another little thing to add to the list.

I had a look at your store and must say you have some made some very beautiful jewellery.

T.

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Sherri S. wrote
on Nov 10, 2014 8:59 PM

Thanks trayck!  I appreciate your compliments.

Incidentally, I am finished with this custom order.  After about 200 convos (you read that right!) regarding the four custom orders, once she made up her mind on what she wanted she was actually very easy to work with.  She left me alone to get the jobs done.  After all of my complaining here, I have to say that the $150 or so that I made was worth it.  The jobs were easy. And when I sent her photos, she actually caught errors and pointed them out to me (a backwards beadcap and a missing spacer), so she's just really particular.  I'm glad this had a happy ending and that the job is over.  I am not anticipating that she's going to come back with complaints after receiving the merchandise.  

Thanks to all of you for bending an ear!

 Sherri S.

Check out my Etsy Store......

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6321824

Check out my Etsy Beads Store.......

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=7141344

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