Blog contributor Charles, aka silberma1976 on Fiverr, struggled with writing in high school. After learning to express himself through poetry, his writing improved so much that he was able to get his poetry published. Now, Charles shares his talents on Fiverr. Here are a few things he’s learned about responding diplomatically for any situation on Fiverr.
Freelancing on a global online marketplace like Fiverr allows entrepreneurs to reach a worldwide audience far beyond their time zone. However, 24/7 digital communication can also have some pitfalls. Working with people from around the world means that there is a higher risk of misunderstanding due to language barriers. Somewhere along the line, you will run across buyers who ask questions that require a nuanced, professional response.
There are many FAQ’s to which a ready-to-go answer saves time and energy. To prepare you for anything, we’ve rounded up several situations—both common and uncommon— that buyers ask, and suggested, time-tested replies.
Cancellations are a part of the nature of the business of freelancing. Sometimes, the cancellation is inevitable: the buyer accidentally made a purchase, overlooked something important, or pulled the project altogether. However, there are times when a cancellation is not the first course of action because too many cancellations can hurt you as a seller and cause frustration.
Before responding, attempt to gauge why the customer canceled. Perhaps the price wasn’t the issue. Maybe the buyer needed more work and thus needs to cancel and reorder. The buyer may have another reason you can actually help with without canceling. After finding out the reason, try something like the below response
Dear (Buyer’s Real Name or Handle),
I am so sorry to hear you need to cancel the order because ________________. I appreciate your situation, and I believe I have a solution that will help solve your situation without the need to cancel the order. Here is what I propose: (I will do the extra work for x dollars in order to help complete your project with the understanding that if we work together again, any changes after the fact will cost x dollars). I will send a custom offer extra for you to accept. Is this solution acceptable?
Notice that you are compromising as well as setting ground rules for future work. You are offering a solution, and you are asking permission to proceed. Respecting the client’s needs shows that you are human—and goes a long way in building successful, long-term relationships.
No (or Poor) Review
Reviews are the lifeblood of Fiverr. They are one buyer’s way to communicate honestly to another buyer about your service. We all reach for all five-star reviews. We all want every Gig reviewed. The reality is that not every Gig will get a review, and some, in fact, will get negative feedback.
When the buyer does not leave feedback, you have a manageable situation on your hands. Simply send a message like the one below before the sale officially closes and is marked complete, which is three days from when you deliver it. If nothing is done, the order will autocomplete three days after the delivery date and marked as completed. Buyers can add or remove a work sample to their review. Buyers and sellers have 30 days to leave feedback.
Dear (Use Buyer’s Name),
I noticed you left no review. I am writing to ensure the work delivered is as expected. Fiverr closes the Gig three days after I deliver, and I want to be able to make any changes and redeliver before that occurs. If you are completely satisfied, a review helps me here.
This message is informative and not begging for a review. You are educating the buyer while letting them know a review is helpful only if they are satisfied. You could go into how they can request a modification if you like. The shorter this message is, the more likely you will get a response. And if you do not get a response, let it be.
If you do get a bad review, you have a couple of options. The first option is to accept it and move forward. While a five-star review is great, sometimes a 4.5-star or 4.7-star review is not as damaging as you think, especially if you have other five-star reviews. Buyers can easily look over 4.5 reviews if it is the exception.
If your review is lower than that, you must be careful. The buyer in this situation was not happy with your work, and you do not want to push them to contact customer service because you are badgering them or begging for a five-star review. Never offer free work for a better review. If a buyer asks for free work for a better review, report them to customer service. Make sure to take a picture of the screenshot of the messages and send it in with the report. If you really want that review changed because you did the work the way it was asked, be assertive. For example, you might say the following.
Dear (Buyer’s Name)
I am so sorry you are not pleased with my work. Based on the order, we agreed I would do (list what you agreed to) for the project. As you can see, I delivered this by providing (list what you provided that matched what you agreed upon) as visible in the x part of the work delivered. I would greatly appreciate either an opportunity to tweak the work, based on what you purchased, in the hopes you will consider adjusting your review to represent what I redeliver. If you are not amenable to this, please let me know what I can do better in the future so I can learn from this experience.
Notice how the message uses facts, and not emotions. The message also shows you want to learn, which is more likely to get you, at the minimum, feedback that could be helpful. Lastly, it cannot be taken as being inappropriate. Acting belligerently is a surefire way to get thrown off the platform for good—and this includes leaving a counter review for the client that is emotional in a negative way. Simply thank them for their honest feedback and business. Class goes a long way in a digital world.
At times, especially when you show online, a buyer may contact you in bits and pieces. This most likely is because messaging can be confused with instant messaging. If you are online, you can reply immediately. However, you may be in the middle of something, and getting multiple or repeat messages can be very disruptive. The message thread may look similar to this;
Message 1: Hi
Message 2: You there?
Message 3: Can you help me?
Message 4: Still there?
This is one possibility, but you may get bombarded with messages when discussing a possible order. If this is overwhelming you, be honest. Any relationship flourishes with honesty. Say something like what is below.
Dear (Buyer’s Name)
I am grateful for your interest, detailed communication, and persistence. I am interested in learning more about your needs/project so I can help. At the moment, however, I am engaged in a big project. I received your messages, which are overwhelming me. Please leave one detailed message with your information, or attach a Word document with your questions and information. I will look over it and reply no later than x hours from now. Thanks for understanding.
By being honest, you are letting the person know you appreciate their communicative style and validating them though acknowledgement of the information. You are giving them a way to send you everything at once and setting a time frame for your response. This sets boundaries for you and provide clear instructions and expectations for the buyer. It is a win-win.
My Buyer Wants the World for Only $5
In any service business — which, as Fiverr sellers, we are in — buyers have different budgets and expect different results based on their budgets. It is not our job to judge the buyer’s wishes, no matter what the request for however little the price may seem to you. Consider that in many countries, $5 goes a long way, so when spending $5, a buyer in one country may be spending what is a small fortune to them, and/or be used to getting a lot for $5.
If a buyer places an order or asks to place an order that seems like it is too much for just $5, ask yourself some questions. Is this $5 I would not otherwise have? Are some $5 orders over a certain period worth the income they generate for me? Can I negotiate to do a little less? Is there upsell potential here? Is this an opportunity to educate the buyer? Your answers will dictate your response. You can then act accordingly.
If you choose to take the sale on as-is, you have no right to complain. Do the same level of work you would for a larger order, as you never know if this buyer can become a long-term customer or refer you to others. If you choose to negotiate, state what you are willing to do for the $5 and why in a factual manner. If you want to try to upsell, show why you deserve more than $5 for the work. Prove your value. If, on the other hand, you choose to educate the buyer, try to give the buyer an understanding of what $5 will realistically get them in the category, and point them to someone else who may be better suited or willing to do the job. The worst thing you can do is respond negatively. This can cause a report to customer service because you are breaking terms of service, which state you can be penalized for treating buyers disrespectfully.
There are countless situations you may encounter as a Fiverr seller, so feel free to take these templates and make then your own. Just always aim to respond with respect and kindness and educate the buyer on how your Gig works and Fiverr works in general. Accept that some things just are part of being a freelancer. How you handle situations shows your character, so be the person with whom you would want to do business.
Fiverr sellers, how do you respond to cancellations and other common situations? Tell us in the comments below!