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Never Respond This Way to Negative Feedback on Fiverr!

Getting negative feedback on Fiverr is never pleasant, but even people who make a big effort to please their Fiverr buyers will eventually experience it. Today, the thing you must absolutely never do in response to negative feedback, and why.

OK, let me unpack this for you. First off, if you have gotten negative feedback on Fiverr, whether it’s a lousy star rating, and/or a negative review, you’re not alone. At one time or another it happens to everybody. We get so used to the really nice five-star reviews, that when someone torpedos us, it’s a shock to the system. It’s like we’re a ship that’s been cruising along serenely for months, and then suddenly a submarine blasts a hole in our side.


Well let me stick with that analogy. At the moment of the attack, our first and immediate response is to patch the hole and then go after the sub with depth charges. So we prepare a reply that discredits the remarks left by the buyer, and maybe even insults them in turn in some subtle, or maybe not-so-subtle way. At the very least, we feel compelled to tell our side of the story, which amounts to the same thing…it’s going on the counter attack.


There’s satisfaction in that, and to a degree it might even help restore our credibility with other buyers, a little, depending on how we word our response. Though I think we’ve all seen responses to feedback that made us think, “yeah that seller IS kind of a jerk, look at how he goes after the customer.” Maybe that’s why negative feedback is so frustrating. It feels like a no-win scenario. Danged if we reply, and danged if we don’t.

The situation is bad enough as it is, but if we’re not really careful, a day later, it can get worse…a lot worse. 24 hours after a buyer leaves a public review, they are contacted by Fiverr in a private way with their little “shhh, how did they really do” message, asking the buyer to fill out a form that gives Fiverr “just between us” feedback on your performance. If you’ve ever purchased a service on Fiverr, you’ve probably seen that. It’s like “we’ll keep this on the QT, but how did this buyer really do for you? Well if there was ever a great opportunity for a buyer to put an even bigger torpedo into your boat this is it. They can respond in complete privacy, without worrying about your even seeing what they respond with.


So in a scenario where we’ve gotten a poor review, the buyer was unhappy, and we’ve retorted in reply that the buyer is being unfair, that they’re a jerk, that their requirements were unreasonable, and all the rest, that buyer is now primed to leave us absolutely miserable private feedback. And unfortunately, that private feedback can be a ship-sinker.


Actually, it’s more like a ship stinker. When I’m talking with people during our Gig Doctor sessions, I compare it to a stink bomb. It stinks up the joint. Bad private feedback, especially if it happens more than once within a period of months, can seriously affect how Fiverr ranks us in search. I’ve spoken in Gig Doctors with sellers who are baffled as to why they’ve absolutely disappeared out of search results, and their sales have tanked, and it often can be traced back to a time when they had gotten into a hassle with someone and it had resulted in negative feedback, and very possibly, also negative private feedback, which detonates the stink bomb.


Alright, so what’s the solution here? I think there are three things we can do.

The first is to avoid the initial torpedo…the bad public review. That’s sometimes easier said than done, but sometimes it’s actually easier than it seems. When things start to go south with a client (and you can often see it coming from communications during the gig (that they’re less than happy), that’s the very best time to head this whole thing off, by compromising, being kind and helpful, and above all, not arguing with them, which brings out the very worst in human nature. Instead, take a few extra moments to consider your responses and ways you can make things right.


Let me give you an example. Yesterday, I received an order from someone who failed to add Commercial Rights, which was mainly because he didn’t understand what that meant. He and I went back and forth a couple times on it, with me struggling to get him to understand that “Commercial” in this case didn’t mean “advertisement,” it just meant “business use.” I could see the potential for trouble, s


I sent him my “give in” message, which looks like this:

It’s clear that you just didn’t realize it would be

required, and I don’t want to disappoint you.

Let’s go ahead and do it without the commercial

rights in this case. For future orders, we’ll just

make sure to include it. Fair enough?

Well guess what? When he saw that I was trying to be reasonable, he went to his team, explained that Commercial Rights was something that was ok, they approved it, and he thanked me for my patience. By showing I was willing to help him, it disarmed the potential problem and resulted in a positive experience. I then also delivered early. Suddenly, it’s a whole new relationship with this buyer, which could just as easily have gone the other way. So the first and best fix happens during the order itself.


If the buyer is particularly gnarly and unreasonable, and you just can’t satisfy their needs, then I recommend cancelling the order. That puts an end to things before it gets worse. In those cases, I’d rather not try and complete the order, because I know I’m just asking for a lousy review from them. >>> Under a new rule, Fiverr still allows a buyer to leave a review even when an order is cancelled, which I pretty much hate, but I’d rather have that, than to to have put myself out for the buyer, done my very best work all the way to the end, and then still get the negative review. So from the standpoint of my own piece of mind, I’d rather cancel than do all the work, knowing what’s probably coming. Now, cancellation brings its own down side, of course, because it lowers your completion rate…and if you’re not getting that many orders, it can even drop you below Fiverr’s threshold of 80% completion, which can also damage you in search results, so you need to weigh that when you consider cancelling.


That leaves #3. If you did complete the order, and the buyer left you that ugly 2 star review and remarks that suggest you are less than something found under a rock, you can either just ignore it and move on, or you can reply in some way. I suggest you DO reply, but do so very, very carefully. Here’s the wording I suggest. Understand that these words aren’t what you and I are tempted to say, they’re pretty much the opposite.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. Yeah, right, like I’m going to want to work with that person again. But that’s not really the issue. What we’re communicating here is that our philosophy is not self-serving. That, while this one didn’t go well despite our efforts to try and make the buyer happy (which does telegraph to other buyers that we tried), the failure to make them happy isn’t going to discourage us from trying to make them happy in the future. It’s a goodwill gesture to the buyer that says, “let’s still be friends!” Rather than telling the world they’re a jerk, which may or may not be the case, we’re just showing that our heart was and is in the right place. Actually, if I were to revise the message, I might even address it to them directly, so the wording would instead be:


I'm sorry that things didn't go well on this occasion. I do strive to make people happy, and I'd love it if you would give me another shot on a future project so can do better for you!

24 hours after they leave public feedback, Fiverr asks buyers for private feedback, so what I recommend is that you reply immediately to any feedback you receive, extending that olive branch right away. By demonstrating you’re one of the good guys, to them and to anyone who reads what you have to say, the odds go way down that your ship will sink, or stink!


There's so much you and I can do together to improve your gig's performance. Schedule your Gig Doctor appointment by hitting the Gig Checkup link at the top of this page for an inexpensive personalized checkup and consultation!


For those of you who do voiceovers, or who are interested in entering that fun profession, I can help there too. Check out my voiceover coaching services.

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