No matter where you do business, you are going to have some clients who are fantastic, and some who are trouble. That’s true on Fiverr too, of course, Unless you are protected a mysterious force field nobody else has, you are GOING to have them from time to time. What can you do about it? Actually quite a bit.
What makes someone bratty? Here’s my top ten list of bratty buyers, and how I deal with them:
Buyers with bad people skills. They are either from another country, and their cultural ways of communication are different, so they feel more in-your-face than they intend to be...or they communicate harshly without realizing how they come across...or, they actually are as insolent as they seem to be, and don’t mind unloading on you. What can we do with someone like that? The exact opposite of what we’re tempted to do. Rather than responding in kind, with equally harsh words, we answer in kind words instead. There’s something straight out of the Bible that is absolutely true, and considering how long ago it was written, was always true: "A soft answer turns away wrath." No matter whether the harshness is just perceived, or they actually do have a bit of an attitude, the solution is always to communicate with grace and kindness. If that means we need to step away and collect ourselves first before we respond, we do that. But never respond harshly to a buyer under any circumstance. In a worst case scenario, if they’re being downright brutal and abusive, which in my experience has probably only happened once or twice in 5000 orders, it’s time to contact customer service. But most of the time, when buyers see that we are on their side, and we show genuine concern for their needs, they come around nicely when they are treated well.
Buyers who under-communicate. They aren’t intentionally being rude or neglectful, but they don’t understand the importance of thorough communication, and they either have to be pumped repeatedly for all the information we need to complete an order, or they disappear for extended periods of time and leave you hanging. When this happens, the best we can do is to politely explain that, in order to meet their needs, we are going to need the following information, and hope they will give us what they need. If they leave us hanging for days, when an order timer is running, we can request a time extension from them, but of course if they’re not getting back to us, there’s nothing for it but to contact Customer Service. The most important thing is that we don’t let their lack of communication damage our statistics on Fiverr in the form of a late or cancelled order. If a buyer disappears, Customer Service needs to understand this has been totally out of your hands. Provide them with the details, screen grabs, whatever it takes, to make certain it doesn’t get counted against you.
Buyers who over-communicate. I see this somewhat regularly. I’ll hear from a buyer who takes twenty texts back and forth before they finally place (or don’t place) an order. They are either high needs, or suspicious...and need lots of reassurance before ordering, or are just chatty and can’t contain themselves. They like the back and forth repartee. The problem is, they don’t consider you might have other things going on and can’t spend an hour or more answering message after message. Making matters worse, often they aren’t in front of their computers. They’re at a cafe somewhere on their phone, hunting and pecking on the screen, and each message takes forever for them to finish typing, while we, at our computers, watch the three little dancing dots. We have to try and be patient, but there is nothing wrong in a situation like this, in saying, “Excuse me if I am away for awhile now, because I have a project I’m working on. Please go ahead and finish up all your questions, and I’ll be back later and will answer them all at once for you. Thanks!”
High expectations buyers. Ironically, it seems like, the lower the price point you work at, the more of these you get. You’d think it’d be the opposite, wouldn’t you? But the same people who want work for five bucks are also more particular than the ones you work for for five hundred bucks. But regardless of whether their budget is high or low, the solution is the same in all cases. We do our very best to satisfy their needs. One thing that can soften them up is by actually acknowledging the needs they’re expressing, and assuring them you want to meet them. Once they see you’re on their side, they’re actually more likely to ease up and loosen their grip a little. In the end though, there’s this: happy are going to be made happy more easily. Unhappy people take more comforting. But if we are able to turn that frown upside down for them by the way we treat them and the quality of our work, we will sometimes have an even more loyal customer than the one who was happy to start with. Because the unhappy person feels relief at having found someone who takes care of them.
Falsely sweet high needs buyers. They seem all goodness and light. They communicate clearly, they’re polite, they flatter...but when you get their order, you can see by the lengthy order description that, under the sweet veneer, there is a high needs person with extra high expectations. They usually conclude their job description by saying they’re sure we’ll do a great job. When I see these types of orders, I cringe a little, because in my experience, these can sometimes be the brattiest buyers of all…so I redouble my efforts to do a great job for them. After I delivery, I can nearly always expect to receive profuse compliments on what I did for them, followed by an extensive list of things they’d like done differently. And off we go to the races. Ultimately here, the solution is to have really clear parameters in our gig description and in the wording of our requirements that leave no doubt about how much in the way of revisions we are willing to do, and not willing to do, and try to stick to that as much as possible. But look out…because the “falsely sweet high needs buyer” is also the one most likely to make trouble when you try to stand your ground on revisions. The veneer falls away, we find out what's really underneath. In the end, a little compromise may be necessary, but a point must come where we say, “Here’s a final bonus run at it for you…if we need to go further, we can start a new order.” But there’s one other approach too, and you can take it closer to the front of the order process. If you get an order that describes the job with a dozen adjectives, and you’re a voiceover or live camera talent, offer them a monitored session so they can direct the read live over Zoom or Skype, for an extra cost. Often, they’ll back off when they realize there is additional money involved, and instead will just express their confidence in your abilities. In that case, you’ve sort of called their bluff at the start, so they’re going to be less likely to request multiple revisions.
So there are five bratty buyers, and some ways you can help turn them into better buyers, or at least have a better experience with them. As you can tell, the overarching theme here is that buyers are just people too, like us, with both good and bad points…and in most situations, they will respond the same ways we would. If we are hard with them
, they’ll be hard, and that quickly escalates. If we’re more yielding, they’ll come around more and be easier to work with in almost every case.
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