China Crisis | Poor Feedback | Bad Reviews | Customer Complaints
My own mini China Crisis.
Odd thing for me to write about, and to draw your attention to, but on this occasion, I really want to talk about it. If I sound a bit preachy, sorry not sorry, but I do promise to try to reign myself in, when I’m going on a bit…
Don’t get me wrong, reviews are very important, good and bad. Good is a pat on the back, and a spring in your step, a little boost to your ego, a smile for a day etc. etc. And bad, although a bitter pill to swallow, is a pill that needs swallowing nonetheless. It can be constructive, and a learning opportunity, a way to improve. Blah blahdy blah blah. But let’s face it, no-one actually wants one do they?
Now, I’m lucky, I’ve only ever received a handful of complaints, which I’ve always dealt with promptly, apologetically, and have resolved the problems that have arisen quickly, and to the satisfaction of the customer. I can’t do any better than that. And if people want to make a complaint, then absolutely! Go right ahead! I just ask a couple of things…
1. Please read the information in the listing before getting cross with me.
Please don’t get cross with me, when I’ve said that there’s a long lead time for a hand made item.
My Etsy listings all say…
“As these [blankets] are hand knitted to order, please allow 3 weeks for despatch. We aim to despatch a lot sooner than this, but at busy times of the year, we would not wish to disappoint due to delays.”
Now I know that it might seem a long time, but I have to order the yarn, which may take anything up to 4/5 days to arrive. I can’t keep stock, because I live in a mouse-house, and have a moth issue (they ate my favourite handbag goddammit!! and the insides of 5 balls of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino). Anyway, yes, I have to order the yarn, then I have to hand knit the item, which, if it’s a blanket, takes over 22,000 stitches would you believe? Well, yes, and that’s without casting on and off. Then there’s the finishing, then the blocking, and to be honest, you may not be the only person I’m knitting things for, but I can guarantee that you’re all as important as one another! So, rather than give myself a heart attack because of undue pressure to knit stuff, I allow myself some breathing space, and state, clearly, that there’s a “healthy” lead time of up to 3 weeks. If you need something faster, it may simply be the case that you need to order from elsewhere. Sorry I’d love to accommodate you, but I’d also like to make it to my next birthday.
I’ve taken the quote above, from the actual listing, which you can find here
Back story #1
A customer ordered a zinc coloured cellular blanket at 22:05 on Friday 26th January from my Etsy shop. Hurrah! Etsy calculated despatch date as 16th February. Great! Plenty of time to get it knitted, blocked etc.etc.
I ordered the yarn on Saturday 27th January from my supplier. It arrived on Tuesday 30th January, whilst I was out taking a crochet class.
On Tuesday 30th January, I got home at around 2.30pm, took the dogs out, made some lunch, sat down for a second or two, fannied around a bit, probably ate a couple of hot cross buns, did a little bit more to a crocheted v-stitch blanket I’d started, made dinner, ate dinner, washed up after dinner, then, at about 8pm, #1 son appeared and suggested I might have a parcel. I located said parcel, opened said parcel, organised the yarn from said parcel, then started knitting the blanket with the yarn I’d organised from said parcel… I didn’t get particularly far, as by then it was about 9.30, so I cast on, did a couple of rows from the bottom border, put it down, did a little bit more fannying around, probably let the dogs out, probably tidied the kitchen a bit, may have had a bath, definitely went to bed.
Anyway, I started working on the blanket at a decent pace, knitting a fair chunk of it every day that I could. I even took it to the hut with me last Sunday, but it was too cold to hold the needles. By the time I got to sit down on Sunday, it was about 8pm, so out came the blanket and I pressed on. I’d made good progress, anticipated finishing it on Monday night, ready for the blocking process to begin on Tuesday. I’d be able to post on Thursday or Friday, a week early, hurrah!
And immediately afterwards, this…
In my head I was saying, woah, woah, woah! It says! It says 3 weeks!! In the listing!! I’ve knitted half of it! It’s not due to be sent until 16th February!
I ranted. I ranted internally. I ranted to #1 son. I ranted to company assistants canine 1 and canine 2. I ranted to G, who I share the hut with. I ranted out a reply. I read out ranted reply. I [was told to] delete ranted reply. Then I calmed down a bit and wrote a polite reply (through gritted teeth), apologised about her wanting to cancel (of course I did, I’m British); explained the process in making her blanket; had a one sentence mention about having knitted most of it; agreed to her full refund request; asked her to reflect on her indignation now she understood what goes into the process; and [theoretically] let it go (hmm… time is a great healer).
She didn’t reply, and I suspect she probably didn’t even read it, but hopefully, the next time she buys from someone like me, she’ll realise that it’s not the same as buying from Mothercare; it’s not off the shelf; it’s not mass-produced, made by a machine; it’s not order by 10pm to get next day delivery. It’s painstakingly made by a person. And perhaps then, the whole processing time thing won’t be beyond her belief.
2. Please don’t blame me for the international postal system.
I was at my friend’s house, shortly after my weekly crochet lesson (there’s a common theme here…) telling them about the cancelled order, and *PING* went my phone, and up popped B**** B**** has left you feedback.
I read it with utter dismay, my heart just pounded unhappily in my chest.
I read it out loud to my friend, who repeated it back to me with incredulity. It came from China?
I called G from Sainsbury’s car park, because obviously I couldn’t go in until this had been resolved, not with all those hot cross buns on show, I’d have brought home the entire stock! She said, with sympathy, “Lord you’re really going through it at the moment”, something like that. Well, something like that, or “ha ha, you’re rubbish”.
We discussed the China thing, was it the quality? Was it the customs label? What? Whilst on the phone to G, I dug out the postage receipt (handily stashed in my handbag), to confirm the date it was sent, and I’d posted it the day after she’d ordered it (I fairly often have a pile of seagulls ready for the Hut). So, was she just cross? Cross that somehow it had got stuck in the postal system? So cross that she decided to give me a 1* feedback, instead of contacting me to chase the parcel? Or cross because she thought the seagull was a crappy Chinese import? Who knew?
G said that I’ve sold enough of them (almost 1.000 now) face to face to know that people like them, there are enough chirpy “oh, look at the seagulls” comments, down in Whitstable, to know that they’re appreciated. She said, it must be the length of time it took.
So, I bought up the entire stock of hot cross buns, went home, opened the laptop and wrote the message I wanted to write, deleted it, and politely asked her to explain what she meant, because here’s the proof of postage, what do you mean about China, please remove the comment about China, because it’s not true and I cannot have people thinking that my hard work is actually a Chinese import.
She replied saying that my grey waterproof parcel and customs label looked Chinese. She agreed to remove the China comment, but that she was still “very cross” about the delay. I explained again that the delay was out of my control, I had taken her gull to the post office the next day. Perhaps she would reflect on this, and agree to perhaps delete her feedback, as the first part was untrue and the second part someone else’s fault. I offered to accept the gull’s return (I can’t have someone having one of my gulls that hates it, can I?!), and offered a full refund upon its arrival, and she posted this…
And just in case you think that they really are crappy Chinese imports…
(and if you don’t, you can buy one here.)