Etsy: How to handle negative feedback in 6 easy steps

There are 35.8 million active buyers on Etsy, 81% are repeat buyers according to DMR Business Statistics, that’s an awful lot of potential buyers for your craft products. So much is the potential that you need to present your best branded Etsy shop to woo buyers and show proof of your high level of customer service to convert them from lookers, to buyers. Etsy reviews is where your customers will look for proof.

Today in the podcast we are going to be talking about how to handle negative feedback in a way that shows potential customers how, even if things go wrong you can still produce the very best service and make it right. This goes a long way to helping build trust and customer retention.

handle negative feedback on Etsy

What is classed as negative feedback on Etsy

Anything below a 3-star rating is regarded as a sub-par review of your products and services (top reviews receive the full 5-stars). This is where you should be really focusing your efforts for assistance. Although having said that if you receive a 4-star rating and there is something to reply on, then do feel free to follow your customer service protocol through and email the customer.

Customers have the right to change their star rating, so spending time with them to establish what went wrong and how to correct it, goes a long way to seeing a positive outcome.


6 simple steps to handle negative feedback on your Etsy shop in a positive way

Recently on the podcast we have started to discuss customer retention with a focus on customer service. In that episode I mentioned that we should establish procedures for unhappy customers to help resolve issues quickly. Here’s how I recommend you elaborate on that procedure to deal with negative feedback specifically, so that you ensure a positive outcome;

  1. Don’t be impulsive – I know how your heart can wrench when you see a review come in that is less than 5-stars and there is that gut-wrenching reaction bubbling away inside you that wants to burst out and spring you into action, but don’t do it! Yes, I do believe you need to deal with this swiftly, but impulsive reaction is almost always ill-considered, and you might find yourself not offering the right solution for your customer or maybe even angering them further.

  2. Know your facts – First of all sit down and go through your paperwork… what facts do you have from start to finish of this transaction, and where is your customer telling you things went wrong? Make sure you know exactly what has happened. Secondly refresh yourself on your policies, have you covered this scenario in your policies and do you have a procedure for solving it? If you don’t then you need one!

  3. Empathize and offer solutions – Now you need to reach out. Use the Etsy convo system to do this, so that you have a paper trail. Always empathize with your customer in your emails, this helps to show them that you have a sense of pride in what you do, and you understand their predicament. This goes a long way to alleviating initial anger and resentment. Then make sure you offer them solutions. Go back through your procedures and list out to your customer any options they may have, whether it’s a replacement, refund, exchange or something else.

  4. Work though things together – Keep your customer in the loop at all stages of your efforts to handle this situation, as this will rebuild faith in your products and services. Take this further by being open (within the reasonable limits of your protocol and policies) to working through this with your customer. Sometimes during a conversation things can change, and you may have an opportunity arise to solve this positively, but differently to how you first imagined.

  5. Publicly respond – Etsy have allowed sellers to respond to negative feedback (here are the details) on their Etsy shop. If you do get a 3-star or less then you will see a little ‘reply’ button show up at the side of the feedback in question. My advice is to wait until you have done all you can to serve this unhappy customer and respond if they do not wish to change their review. Unfortunately, Etsy won’t allow customers to change a review after you have responded, so make sure you give them time to change their negative feedback if they wish – never push for it though! In your response, be polite and state the facts of how you have rectified the situation, publicly apologising for the mistake and inconvenience. This shows good will which is a powerful way to show potential customers reading this how you attempted to resolve this issue for your customer.

  6. Take this as a lesson learned – For every situation you find yourself in, even if the issue was not of your own making there is a lesson to be learned. Use this to strengthen your policies, protocols and even your products and services if you need to. Growing from this moment, regardless of how painful it feels to reflect on allows you to move on and grow your business in a positive light.

I know someone is going to ask how they get negative feedback removed by Etsy… the truth is that is unlikely to happen, as Etsy do not have a policy for this and rarely make it a habit to intervene. What Etsy do have for buyer’s is an ‘Open Case’ policy, which gives them 100 days currently to log a complaint against a seller regarding a purchase. This is where Etsy will intervene, and it will in most cases be in favour of the customer. My advice – sort this out before it becomes an issue for Etsy to deal with!



Negative feedback doesn’t have to end your customer relationship and if you treat your customer with respect and good will you can often repair any damage done. Publicly dealing with these rare issues will prove to potential customers that these one-off occurrences will receive your very best customer service. It will reflect how much care you take in your products, brand and customers.

Don’t take these things personally, deal with it as you’d like to be dealt with if you were the customer in question. Uphold your reputation and your brand and do the right thing. The positivity of the resulting outcome will outshine the initial customer reaction.



·         Here’s a great Etsy article on Negative Feedback

·         Free Etsy course for better sales growth

·         Etsy Seller Handbook


Have you ever received negative feedback on your Etsy shop? How did you deal with it? Tell me in the comments below!

Thank you for watching! I hope that was helpful, or at least thought provoking?

If you have any questions or comments, please pop them in the comment section below.