That’s exactly how I manage it and you’re right, most customers understand.
Occasionally there is that one guy/girl that is baffled that you won’t take their $20 offer for a 5 hour+ update
If the requests are simple I can explain for them how to do it. Even if it’s more complex, I will still explain, and then at the end say that I can do the process as a “paid customization”. Very often they will come back and ask me to do it for a fee.
Other requests are extremely complex, and I will straight away ask for more details so then I can send a price quote. For me, customizations like this are a significant part of my income.
Just work the ratings system.
Grab a couple of visa gift cards, create a few new accounts, buy your theme, give yourself a glowing review.
It’s only cheating if your caught.
I would recommend getting out of the habit of doing free customization as quickly as possible. I spent months giving in to every customization request and ended up doing hundreds of hours of work for free all in the aim of keeping buyers happy.
I think I’m at what you’re describing here. I’ve been adamant on offering as much support as I can without being overwhelmed. But it quickly piles up, and before long I’ve either lost track of a request or the requests keep coming time and time again. In some cases I feel quickly assisting a customer will result in a nice rating – but I’ve discovered that in most cases it results in receiving no rating at all.
On several occasions the customer will write a threatening email requesting this or that and blaming the theme for this or that (when it is nothing of the sort) – and I feel compelled to address the problem. I suppose I will have to get over this, and simply deny these people any support.
I find this challenging, but I suppose I’m learning the hard way. Thanks for the advice.
With the change just unveiled to the rating system this problem is about to get to a whole new level of hell.
Now even a buyer who rated 5 start after buying the file and loving its features, can return and give a 1 star when ever he/she comes up against a (5min) change which you refuse to do!
We only offer support for features which dont work as described due to a bug. If the request is concerning anything else, we can answer in short about how a buyer might go about achieving what they are after, but we will rarely jump in and make changes for them.
Buyers don’t understand that a finished template / plugin is a delicate balance of features and cross browser support. A 5 min change for a buyer may actually take 5 mins to change the source code, but could take hours to make sure it work cross browser not to mention works will all combinations of other existing features. So to agree to do this change is just the tip of the iceberg…you are also getting yourself into a situation where you are then feeling obligated to fix any conflicts that arise out of the new change you have made..because you caused them for the buyer and you now can’t leave him/her hanging….and it goes on.
The solution is just not to get involved in the first place.
Interesting discussion and points of view.
I think you have to draw a line somewhere. Unfortunately, there are some users that are not computer sauvy at all and they tend to be the ones causing the most amount of headache.
Personally, I think the whole support idea is ridiculous, especially for such a low sales cost.
But I guess that’s just how the market place is at the moment.
I’m not a theme developer but I can sympathise with some of the issues raised from a Graphic Design perspective.
I get tons of clients asking for small tweaks and additional help, on the basis that it will only take 5 minutes (it very rarely does).
All those 5 minutes add up and before you know it you could end up spending days working with many clients/customers and not receiving a penny.
Provide support if your bored and you know it wont take much of your time (ie – just telling someone what piece of CSS code to change etc.), other customisations, then charge them for your time.
As for negative reviews, I wouldn’t bother about them, you will always get some disgruntled customer. The theme I bought, I never bothered to check the comments, any reviews etc. I liked the theme, and bought it.
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This is a great thread and offers a lot of individual experience and advice, thank you to all the users who have posted responses, as giving helpful advice could be the difference between an author being taken advantage of and an author who loves what they do. I’m not an author, but I believe maintaining your business in a way that empowers you is important. Whether you are behind the counter at McDonalds or selling themes, there are customers who will try to exploit you just to achieve their end or make themselves feel big. You need to set boundaries within your business and rating or no rating make sure you don’t compromise those values. There is a difference between being helpful and being trodden on and the latter will make you want to stop helping clients all together. Establish a level of support that you are comfortable with, keep it consistant and remain professional. Remember you are running a business here, not handing out favours. Your work is worth your time, so make sure your clients respect and pay for it. Saying all this, be polite and professional to your customers, an undeserved rating can be overcome, a bad customer service attitude will ruin your brand. Check out the epic fail by fashion brand GASP to see an example of a hilarious (but awfully) handled customer complaint -http://www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/fashion/customer-complaint-email-and-response-by-gasp-clothing-goes-viral/story-e6frf8o6-1226151874005
Theme ratings do not affect sales.
I totally agree and I’ve looked at the stats/trends in great detail and there’s pretty much 0.00 correlation with rating having an impact on sales.
To share a little of the data with you out of 2.3 million ratings here’s a breakdown by stars
1 Star 0.77% 2 Stars 1.33% 3 Stars 5.66% 4 Stars 16.37% 5 Stars 75.86%
As you can see the amount of buyers rating 3 or lower is only 7.7%, 4+ is 92.3%!
So my advice don’t put 90% of your effort into keeping that 1 irate custom happy (in most cases they’ll never be happy), focus on the bulk of your reasonable and happy customers.