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11 Tips for Dealing with Difficult Customers in Your Craft Business

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Difficult customers are just a fact of life for small business owners. Today, I’m going to give you 11 ways to deal with THAT customer. Always remember, the majority of your customers will be great – but every small business will have their handful of difficult ones.

Below, I’ve highlighted common customer problems in Silhouette or Cricut businesses, along with solutions for each problem. I’ve written about many of the solutions below on Cutting for Business before, so I will link to the appropriate posts.

11 Tips for Dealing with Difficult Customers

  • Problem customer: Can’t make up their mind on what color design they want.
    • This is easy to solve by creating color charts for your customers. When people have less choices to choose from, it will be easier for them to make a decision. Imagine if I gave you the choice between 1200 colors or 12. It’s the same when working with customers.
  • Problem customer: Wants to keep making changes to the design on a custom order.
    • When I create custom orders, I always use a mockup to let my customer “see” the product before it is made. I offer the original, plus 2 revisions at no cost, every revision after that costs a design fee of $5 to $10. (Note: Need help making mock ups? Click here.)
  • Problem customer: Asks you to lower your prices.
    • First, don’t be offended – aren’t you always looking for a great deal? Next, politely explain to your customer that your prices are non-negotiable based on your experience, time involved, and supplies. Thank the potential customer for their interest in your business and tell them you hope to serve them soon.
  • Problem customer: Wants you to make items for free.
    • Usually, friends and family are the culprits of asking for free products. I believe that friends and family often don’t understand the time that it takes to design and create custom products. I don’t offer discounts to family or friends on products, read why here.
  • Problem customer: Complains about shipping costs.
    • Unfortunately for small businesses, many big box retailers offer free shipping, and customers are beginning to expect everything to ship free. If you repeatedly have customers asking for free shipping, you can offer free shipping and add the shipping costs to your item instead. The customer ends up paying the same amount, but it is presented in a different way.
  • Problem customer: Claims that products were not delivered.
    • First, all packages you send should have delivery confirmation on them. If a customer claims that a package is not delivered, don’t get defensive – the postal service and package carriers lose things all the time. Either you or the customer can contact the carrier and see if they can track down the package. If the package cannot be found, you can replace the item or refund the customer. You should stick to whatever is in your refund policy. If you haven’t already written a refund policy, head to this post for helpful tips.
  • Problem customer: Demands products in a short period of time.
    • This is another easy problem to solve. You should be charging a rush order fee. I’ve written an entire post on rush order fees and you can read it here.
  • Problem customer: Gives you complete creative freedom to make whatever you want.
    • While this doesn’t seem like a problem, it can be difficult (and time consuming) to create a design when a customer gives you complete freedom to make all the choices. Ask your customer to send you photos to give you an idea of what they are looking for. Remember that it is not ethical to copy another business’ design exactly. Read more about that here.
  • Problem customer: Leaves you negative feedback. 
    • In this case, at least you don’t have to deal with the customer anymore. Unfortunately, you aren’t going to please everyone 100% of the time – it’s just a fact of business. Read more about dealing with negative feedback in this post.
  • Problem customer: Doesn’t pay for the products after you make them. 
    • Unfortunately, this is the fault of you as the seller. You should never make an item before you have received payment for the item. Write clear policies for your business and stick to them.
  • Problem customer: Doesn’t show up to pick up their items after you have made them.
    • I’ll assume that they already paid, because you should never make a product without the customer paying for it upfront. I give my local pickup customers 2 chances to pick up the item. If the customer doesn’t pick up the item in that timeframe, I offer to ship it to them at their expense. After I have received their shipping payment, I ship it to them. If they don’t ever pay shipping costs, I will resell the item or donate it to a good cause. You can read more of my local pickup policies in this post.

As you can see, clear policies in your business can help you prevent a lot of customer problems that may arise. Let me know in the comments if you have a problem that I haven’t addressed in the list above and I see if I can help you.

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John in Philly

Thursday 1st of October 2015

Great advice, it sounds like some things were learned the hard way. I will put my stubborn streak to one side and profit from your advice. (yes, a deliberate play on words!)

Thank you!


Thursday 1st of October 2015

Hi John! Yes, most of those were slow lessons picked up throughout the years! Love the play on words! Christine