[identity profile] laughsatthunder.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] artists_beware
Hi again.

This is the second time this has happened to me, but back in August I finished a fursuit head for a client who commissioned it in January. They were supposed to have it paid off MONTHS before I shipped it out to them (I think April/May) but kept putting it off. The base was completed months before the fur was added on.
However, they received the head and never contacted me after.

Now they're selling it (which I have no issue with) but point out problems they never brought up to me, such as the fursuit head not looking like their character and issues with communication when I sent them regular WIPs. I'm more than positive, however, that they're upset and bringing up drama because I un-added them on Facebook since they were getting into fights with my friends on my posts after I told them to stop.

Before this, I had another client commission me but pay more promptly, but nit-pick on the foaming and then upon receiving the item, never mention anything that was wrong with it and then write a fursuit review on it with pretty much everything you could imagine being wrong that, again, was never pointed out to me.

Is there really anything I can do to prevent this from happening in the future? Others have told me not to stress out about it since it's 2 out of god knows how many fursuits I've built, but it's what they have to say that really soils it for me. I can't improve or do anything if it's not pointed out to me.

Date: 2015-10-25 10:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jakejynx.livejournal.com
Might be a weird question, but how much do you charge for heads?

Date: 2015-10-26 02:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jakejynx.livejournal.com
Take what I say with a grain of salt because I'm pretty ill right now and doped up on a lot of meds.

But this sort of thing seems to be more common in people who have lower prices. And your prices are pushing towards the lower end. You get strange clients when your prices are on the cheap side. They either expect super spectacular pro level work and are never satisfied, or they view your work as cheap and crappy and will never think it's very good.

I'm not saying your prices are the problem, or that changing your prices would stop it from happening, I've just noticed a strange anecdotal correlation.

All that said, I would recommend in the future sending a final correspondence. Either print it out on your own letterhead and put it on the box with the item, or send a final email. Thank them again for commissioning you, remind them of your warranty if you have one, and tell them you value and encourage feedback, both good and bad. It might work, it might not, but at least you'll have gone that extra mile to try and get what you can from your customers.

Date: 2015-10-25 10:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] celestinaketzia.livejournal.com
There's not much you can do except learn from what they bring up in their reviews. People will be afraid of confrontation, and will sometimes opt to not say anything. Which really isn't fair when you're building physical items, but that's sometimes how the cookie crumbles.

A couple of things you can consider is how you put yourself forward. Would people feel comfortable coming to you about issues with their suit? If you give out an air of "oh do please come tell me!" and they still don't, well that's on them.

Second, for person Two their hesitation on bringing up the issues with the head could have stemmed from the foaming area. If they felt you didn't want to deal with it anymore, they may have just opted to not say anything.

Date: 2015-10-25 11:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] celestinaketzia.livejournal.com
Ah, I found the second review in question. That really could have been handled a lot better. But as you said, you know now that you can refund and walk away. Definitely don't ever be afraid to do that.

I agree with a lot of the technical aspects the client brought up, and really? That's all you can take away from it is to improve your suits in the future. It's a shame they couldn't come forward, but running into a bad transaction happens every now and then.

Date: 2015-10-26 02:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jakejynx.livejournal.com
Do you know any other local makers? I don't speak for anyone but myself, but I'm always willing to offer help or critique to others. Maybe someone else who does suits could help you out with some critique?

Date: 2015-10-26 12:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mortymaxwell.livejournal.com
My two cents:

1) You might consider adding something to your FAQ, making it clear there are certain limitations to wearing fursuits and the types of things you are able to build. Some people are going to come in expecting to have perfect vision in their fursuit heads, for example. This way if you get someone coming in with unrealistic expectations, you can point them to it, and they can think about what they want. There's a chance they may continue to have unrealistic expectations, anyway, and nitpick and not be satisfied, but at least you were upfront and presented all the information to them.

2) Be careful with tone. At one point, you had a clause in your terms of service that made it sound like you would rush a costume if someone annoyed you. **I know this was not how you intended that to sound** just saying that to some people, stuff like that could come across as intimidating and make them reluctant to interact with you/or provide feedback.

3) Ask questions during the commission process that invite the customer to give feedback. "Hey, what do you think of this? More like this, or more like this?"


Edited Date: 2015-10-26 03:00 am (UTC)

Date: 2015-10-28 07:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whoop-zi.livejournal.com
this isn't really relevant to the thread, i just wanted to point out to the mods that the fursuit tag is misspelled here!

Date: 2015-10-29 03:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kadaria.livejournal.com
Unfortunately, even if you are the best game in town for what you do you will always see negative reviews. It is actually very rare that people use a feedback service like Yelp to leave a good or kind review. They are way more likely to invest in writing a review if they have a negative experience. This is why fast food businesses looking for a good review or honest survey tend to offer something in exchange for just leaving any kind of review, good or bad.
So my advice would be to learn from those reviews, and do what you can to keep your reputation intact. Accept that some of them will be negative (you can't hit a homerun every time after all).
-Use those reviews to learn from your mistakes.
-Ask all of your customers to review your work (at the risk of getting those negative reviews) and offer a list of places to do so.
-Is there anything in those reviews that you can rectify? What about your warranty?
-Protect yourself from "vengeful customers" by making sure that your website and advertising show your best work (semi professional photos from all angles, examples of your stitching and process).

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