Although I have had an open contact-the-designer attitude for nine years, now I must make some changes at Sandpiper Wedding. At Zazzle, the idea is to give buyers, who need some special items created, the option to ask for such items. It’s a good idea. If it worked out as I’d hoped, I’d be making coordinating wedding stationery per customer request, which would increase the size of orders and in turn make me more money. I’d have happy customers with beautiful matching wedding suites, who would be grateful for the personal attention. I would be paid nicely for my time. Win, win.
But it has seldom worked out that way. Because I have wanted to keep an open line of communication with potential buyers, I have patiently answered all types of questions over the years. From shipping times, paper suggestions, and returning items advice, to sizes, prices, discounts, and much more, I have patiently replied. Approximately one out of five contacts are actually about design. And even those requests have lately turned into very small orders.
The idea of the contact was to garner design questions and requests, but I became an extension of Zazzle’s customer support team. A team member who was not paid a penny for her time. That’s right. Those of us who design for Zazzle are not paid an hourly wage. We make money from sales. Up until a few years ago, the Volume Bonus made up for that in my mind. Now the VB is as good as gone, and there is no incentive to continue on like this.
Whenever a customer uses the contact button and asks, “Do envelopes come with this card?”, or “When can I expect to get this item?”, or some other general information, of a designer, that person is working for Zazzle for free! I’ve done it for years. Now, I am stopping.
You may wonder why I allowed contact at all. I had high hopes that I would make referral money, and increase my sales by offering design help. The majority of my contacts do not request design help, and therefore I end up making very little, and truthfully not enough to make it worth my while.
Anther downside to helping via e-mail is the difficulty in understanding exactly what the customer wants. Usually a whole collection of back-and-forth dialog is needed to come up with one simple product design. It is a lot of time spent doing something that the customer may ultimately decide not to buy in the end.
I don’t know anyone who “works” for NO PAY, yet Zazzle expects us to do so. We can turn off customer contact, and that is exactly what I have done for the first time in nine years.
I have a busy life. I can’t afford to sit and answer e-mails, which the Zazzle company should be answering, using it’s paid customer support team. It’s up to Zazzle to come up with a better solution to this problem. Until and unless they do, I regretfully must shut down my communication via my online stores.
My customers are important to me. Anyone needing matching items made, or who have requests for invitations and other stationery, can certainly contact me. This blog gives anyone the ability to do so, but the option is turned off in my online stores. Simply leave a message on the About page and I will reply promptly. If you are unsure of what I can help with, please read the FAQ’s page.