Sellers Beware - Customer Service Debacle


#1

Just for some context, I’m not very well liked here, but that’s OK. I wanted to talk about a dangerous precedence that’s been set by customer service today. First and foremost, I’d like to point out that I’m nearing $30,000 in just five months of working on Fiverr. That, as some well know, takes a lot of work. That’s not a boast, there’s a point as well. I’ve completed almost 1,100 orders in that time, and each time I hold my breath thinking that “well, this one will be a negative and ruin my gig” and each time it stresses me out. The truth is that I have almost 600 positive reviews, mostly five stars, and it took one negative to drop me to 98 percent. Here’s my recent $5 buyer’s order that should have every seller worried:



THE ORDER: Please look over my website and recommend changes to make it stand out. I am a commercial designer and I make my most money on selling furniture so I would like that to stand out. I also sell and install commercial flooring. Thanks.



That’s it. As you all know, that’s a generous amount of info for an order half the time, but it was enough.



MY RESPONSE: I’ll send you a short list of things that can be done to improve it. :slight_smile:

MY FINAL TURN IN RESPONSE: Here you go. Please let me know if these helped!

WHAT I WROTE:



1.The site could use an update as far as colors, layout, and usability. It only costs about $40 to buy a brand new theme from a site like Theme Forest.

2.The language could be punched up across the board. Not necessarily more ‘salesy’, but definitely more appealing.

3.Pictures are either too “stock” or not personal enough; or out of focus. All are bad.

4.Too much gap at the bottom of the home page. It’s called “white space” in writing terms. Some is good, too much is bad. Empty space = not great.

5.About page could be more concise. It could also flow a lot more.

6.Furniture Lines page is pretty barren.

7.It clearly has passion, it just need to be directed.



She then leaves me a 1-star review, stating:



"Hi I was not looking for a review of my website. Your ad said you would write copy and all you did was tell me my website stunk??? Next time start off by telling someone you will be happy to help them. Try to wrap the negative within positives. All you did for me was just bum me out not help me. Thanks anyway."



I gave her what she asked for, in an appropriate manner, and she’s trying to mismanage the system. She never made contact with me after the job was completed, NEVER asked me to simply review text, and then left a review that had nothing to do with the initial order.



I contacted “Jason” with customer service, and this is what I received:



"We have reviewed your request to remove the feedback placed on this order by your buyer. Unfortunately, your request to remove this rating does not meet our Feedback Removal Policy. If there is a difference of opinion regarding a feedback left by a buyer, then we suggest contacting the buyer to understand how they rated your services."



It’s not a difference of opinion, she rated me based on stuff I didn’t say, and changed what she asked for only AFTER she’d gotten what she asked for. To cap this all off, I want to show you how it’s finally ended.



Jason did remove the feedback, but he wasn’t happy about it:



His response: We reviewed the Buyer’s feedback and it does not appear that the feedback was meant for something else. Your Gig’s title is “I will create unique sales, ad, and web copywriting for $5” - it is best to refuse any work that is not directly related to what you are selling. A mutual cancellation would have been appropriate once you noticed the Buyer was requesting something completely different than the services offered here. As a one-time exception, I’ve gone ahead and removed the feedback. Kindly follow our advice to avoid any confusion with these kinds of orders in the future. Thank you.



So, in the future, if someone orders something from you, and you give it to them appropriately, on time, and according to EXACTLY what they asked for, you could still be screwed.



I’d recommend protecting yourself in the future, but it’s not likely possible.



#2

This is not news. This is how Fiverr works.


#3

Hi @levinewman - this is frustrating, but on the bright side, at least they ended up removing it! What makes you think you’re not well-liked by Fiverr? It looks like they have you front and center as a “Featured” Gig. Congratulations on your incredible success here!



@jtengle - just saw your profile. Happy Birthday! :slight_smile:


#4

I’m shocked that after making so much money for Fiverr, they wouldn’t take your side.


levinewman said: it is best to refuse any work that is not directly related to what you are selling


I disagree with CS, sometimes people order a gig as a tip, sometimes I deal with buyers that don't know the difference between a headline or a tagline/slogan, so I deliver what they want even if they use the improper terminology or order the wrong gig.

Today for example a buyer asked for a partial request, he liked my slogans, didn't like my brand names, so he wanted to get 50% of his money back. I refunded the entire order and asked him to purchase a $10 gig as a tip. The buyer seems honest, so hopefully he'll do it.

#5

I half agree with her. You did the job well, but it could have been a little more tactful to take her feelings into account. As I say below I’m not criticizing your approach - it’s fairly insightful …but here’s how I might handle the same information in a different way:



1.The site looks good, but I wonder if an update in the color scheme might just give it that extra zest. You know what works but from a different perspective it might be an avenue to play around with.



2.The writing style could possibly be fine tuned just that little bit more to get that final sparkle! You know your industry better than me but as a lay person I generally don’t concentrate enough on these things, so it’s always helpful when you can spell it out for busy folks like me. Don’t take this the wrong way - it definitely shows the loving care you’ve put into it. Get some opinions from your friends and see if they share my view.



3. To be brutally honest the pictures you have are fine …it’s just that your competition tend to do the same thing and often have higher resolution shots. I think this is a great opportunity to really sell your design skills and I really think the world needs every opportunity to “get” your style. You’ll be okay for now, but as the website progresses I would change them up when you can (also keeps the website looking fresh)

4. This is a style debate, but if it was my website I would remove some of the white space at the bottom of each page. Other people may think it’s not enough. I can’t really give much more than an opinion on that but I’ve found a quick article that may help you decide. I’m not too sure what I feel about it myself, again I’d get some more opinions before you decide.



http://www.seguetech.com/blog/2013/03/20/why-whitespace-important-web-design

Last thoughts (some small ideas for when you have some free time)



5. The “About” page could be tweaked - my trick is to open the text and spent half an hour deleting every word that isn’t essential, if I can get a single word that can replace two words then those two words are replaced. The message is excellent, but if a visitor reads only 100 words, you need to take a 300 word piece of text and cut it down to 100 without loosing a bit of information. (I’ll copy this point to show what I mean:)



Cut Down 1

5. The “About” page - open the text, delete every non-essential word. If a single word replaces two, do it! Excellent writing. But when a customer only reads 100 words, you can write in a way that gives 300% more information.



Cut Down 2

5. “About” page - edit and delete the unnecessary words. Condense phrases. Excellent already, but now reading 100 words, the customers learns 300% more!



6. The “furniture Lines” page is obviously still being populated. Perhaps a few examples of products that are in the works could balance it out and allow visitors to engage with your work. Perhaps a question like “vote on your favorite” or “what design features have you looked for but could never find?”. People are generally quite forgiving if you put a “under construction” sign or a “more coming soon message” - but many sites have similarly empty pages with no explanation and I tend to assume it was laziness (which in your case its definately not)



Don’t take my points the wrong way - if I thought it was bad I’d tell you it was nice enough and just take the money. But what you have here is something with real potential which is actually worth crafting into something killer… I’m really excited to see what you do with it!




Home | Segue Technologies - Custom Software Development, Professional Website Design, Information Technology

http://www.seguetech.com




#6

Reply to @one_price_gig: lovely responses! Sounds like you will do wonderfully here.


#7

Okay, so I don’t like to complain about CS–they’re overworked and I’m sure they get thousands of ridiculous requests every day, and they did eventually remove this feedback. But the one and only time I’ve ever asked them to remove negative feedback, the buyer asked for extra work for free and when I refused, told me explicitly that he was going to give me a one-star rating and that he would remove it if I was willing to write him an extra 400 words for free.



I refused and sent in a ticket to CS, explaining that I’d done everything the buyer asked, and that he’d admitted that his instructions were the problem, not what I wrote for him, and then that he was clearly trying to extort more work for free. Their first response was that I should try to “work this out with the buyer,” which is obviously just what they tell everyone.



I was pretty angry at that point, since I’d sent screenshots (and I’m sure they have the ability to look at our back and forth anyway) of our communication and how he admitted that I’d followed his instructions and wanted me to redo the work with new instructions (essentially, get double to work for free) and how I’d pointed him to my revision policy, etc., etc.–basically, that I had already been through the communication wringer with him and that he actually very clearly stated his intention to extort free work with a bad rating, so my reply back was probably a bit short…



In the end, like with your situation, they eventually removed the feedback, with that same “one time exception comment,” but I really had to press the issue, which is what upset me the most. A) I never bother them. Okay, I bother them sometimes, but only about issues that will lose both me and Fiverr money. B) I provided all the evidence they needed to clearly see who was in the wrong in that situation, and they still sided with the customer over me until I made a little bit of a stink about it.



It’s not exactly a new issue, but thankfully trying to get unjustified negative feedback removed is (at least in my experience) a very rare issue.


#8

I have no problem complaining about CS and have many times on the forum. Overworked or not, there’s just no excuse for not reading the message before responding. They are PAID to do so.


#9

Reply to @one_price_gig: I disagree–not with the idea that Levi could have used a more tactful approach, but with the idea that a more tactful approach was necessary. If someone approaches you looking for honest suggestions about something, they should have thick enough skin not to get offended when you offer those honest suggestions. I don’t think the original suggestions were insulting, just honest. Not even brutally honest, just constructive.



The buyer was asking what could be improved–why does every improvement have to be couched in a compliment or coated in sugar? If her takeaway is “Oh, my website is pretty great, it just needs a few adjustments,” when it should be “Okay, I’ve got some stuff to work on,” she’s not getting any real value there.



That’s obviously just my opinion. I studied writing in college which involved a lot of peer criticism and saw a lot of people take personally what was actually a very apt suggestion that could really improve their writing, so I’ve become very opposed to candy-coating, when criticism needs to not be candy-coated.


#10

I just wonder how many people they can “stave off” just by that first copy and paste message, though. And then the users that make a second and third run at asking them to actually look at the evidence are the ones they actually pay attention to.


#11

Been there done that… move on :slight_smile: there’s no other solution


#12

Reply to @emasonwrites: now I want to rescind my comment before! TOTALLY agree with you from the perspective of a writing workshop scenario. How maddening was it in college when someone’s writing was being workshopped and they interrupted every point of criticism to argue with it!! You just gave me some serious flashbacks here :slight_smile:


#13

I know CS is busy, but I have a hard time accepting that as an excuse. They maintain a blog, facebook, twitter, and are always updating (sometimes not for the good), etc. So for me, it is a mater of priority and it feels like customer service is at the bottom of the totem poll.



For all of you who have been a member on Fiverr for a while, I’m sure you remember the days when Fiverr CS replied in minutes to your help ticket. They even would brag about it saying they will reply within minutes. It seem like a priority then, but not now.



Sure they have more members than ever, but Fiverr is also richer and they charge more fees, but for reasons I don’t understand, they shifted their priority when it comes to CS.



When I do contact CS (I try to avoid it because of that helpless feeling you get when they don’t seem to care but yet they are the only ones that can fix the problem), I go out of my way with screen shots, even do videos and 99.9% of the time you wonder if they took the time to look at it.



I know if we treated our customers the same way that Fiverr CS treated theirs, we would not be in business for long.



#14
steveeyes said: I know if we treated our customers the same way that Fiverr CS treated theirs, we would not be in business for long.


Exactly!

#15

Reply to @david388: Thank you!


#16

@levinewman I don’t think you stated it correctly that you are


levinewman said: not very well liked here


as your previous posts have been mostly been deleted by you and you had a lot of fans on those posts. Of course, the last time I remember you posting you mentioned that you were writing that post because a Fiverr staff member asked you to. The wording was something like "at the behest of" some staff member and when you got many fans but a few other users that didn't care for the tone, you send out personal messages and then again deleted your posts.

Now you may be observing why many forum regulars are still on Fiverr and glad to be here, but also get annoyed at some of the inconsistencies. I'm sorry that your buyer responded the way they did and messed up your record. I would hate that too. I look forward to your comments on the forums sharing your positive and negative experiences. If you want to share them, please keep doing so! If you are upset that I brought up past references and decide to flip out over it, I won't be surprised, but I hope that you don't. Have a good one and good luck with your gigs!

#17

Reply to @david388: Don’t rescind your comment! I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with being nice about constructive criticism, if that’s just the way you naturally approach it. I just didn’t think there was anything wrong with the way the OP gave feedback. It’s not like he actually said the website was crappy. If he had, there might have been need for some candy-coating, but if I’d gotten that feedback, I would have been pretty pleased and had a go to-do list to get started on.



When I TA’d for one of those classes, I made a rule that the writer who was being critiqued wasn’t allowed to speak unless asked a direct yes or no question by one of the reviewers for that exact problem! Like you, I just hated sitting in class and having someone argue every point of feedback they were given. These are your readers, people! They’re telling you what doesn’t work for them–you should probably listen!


#18

I concentrate on the idea that EVERYONE on fiverr is well liked. We all have our individual strengths to contribute and there are no exceptions.



When someone requests that you tell them what is wrong, be prepared for these kinds of responses, where they get offended when you tell them. Under the circumstances of giving criticism which has been solicited from a buyer, I think a little sugar coating is going to help the bitter pill go down. Not all can handle the truth.


#19

The problem is also that you did something that was outside of what the gig was. Many buyers don’t always understand how to communicate and there is a language barrier as well. You have been here for only 5 months, and to be honest I think you probably have gotten lucky to not encounter other buyers like this, who cannot communicate clearly.



But if the asked for something that is outside a gig, you should politely explain that is not what the gig is, and give them a chance to modify their instructions or offer them a mutual cancellation. If your ad is for writing copy and someone asks what they can do to make their website stand out, and they want to emphasize furniture, I would have thought you would have given them maybe a combo of what you did, some feedback but also a few headlines, and copy to drop in, etc., etc.


#20

Reply to @emasonwrites: Were you a TSR at the time?