How to Handle Customer Service for Digital Product Sales on Etsy

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Selling printables and digital products on Etsy can be a rewarding journey, but it also comes with its own unique set of challenges.

No matter what kind of seller you are on Etsy, customer service is inevitable.

In order to sell digital products and digital downloads, you need to take a much different approach than a physical product when it comes to handling customer service.

In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how to handle customer service for digital product sales on Etsy.

how to handle customer service for digital product sales on etsy

Understanding Customer Service for Digital Products

Before we dive into the specifics, let’s first talk about why customer service for selling digital downloads is important.

Customers who purchase digital downloads on Etsy have certain expectations, such as receiving their products immediately after purchase and being able to access them easily.

While many customers have prior experience with accessing their digital downloads, Etsy is growing more popular each day, so this will be some of your customers’ first time.

They will need a little bit of guidance in terms of accessing their digital download purchase from your Etsy store.

They also expect good communication from the seller in case they have any questions or issues with their digital download.

Sites like Amazon and other online retailers have created the idea of instant gratification when it comes to purchasing in the e-commerce world, so it’s important that you are ready and willing to help your customers whenever they reach out to you.

Here are some things to keep in mind when you create digital products to sell on Etsy:

  • Digital products are intangible, so customers often have questions about how to use or access them.
  • Customers expect quick delivery and easy access to their purchased products.
  • Good communication with customers is essential to building a positive reputation as a seller.

Creating a Customer Service Plan

To provide the best possible customer service, you need to have a plan in place for when you sell your digital printables and downloads in your Etsy shop.

This plan should cover everything from how you will respond to customer questions to how you will handle refunds and exchanges.

A satisfied customer will in turn leave positive feedback and oftentimes return to your Etsy store for future needs as well.

Here are some things to help you create a unique customer service plan for your Etsy shop.

Establish clear policies

Write down your policies for things like refunds, exchanges, and cancellations.

Etsy has a standard policy that says there are no refunds for digital downloads but also leaves it up to each individual seller if a customer is to reach out to them.

etsy shop policies
Here is an example of shop policies that are listed in my Etsy shop. Etsy allows you to choose their generic policy or customize the policy to truly make it your own.

Be sure to have your policies listed in multiple places in your Etsy shop such as your listing descriptions, in the terms of use page, and of course in the policies section itself.

Make sure your shop policies are easy to find on your shop’s page so customers can refer to them if needed.

Set response times

Determine how quickly you will respond to customer questions, and make sure you communicate this information to your customers.

You can list this information on your Etsy shop’s pages.

Responding to customers within 24 hours is ideal, as this can help with your rating to earn Star Seller each month.

Create templates

Develop templates for common customer questions, such as how to download a file or how to open a ZIP folder.

This will save you time when responding to customers.

etsy saved replies features

Etsy allows sellers to save pre-written responses to common questions and inquiries. Take advantage of this feature by creating canned responses for frequently asked questions, so that if a customer does have an issue with their product or digital download, you can quickly respond and assist them.

Learn how to create a thank you message that automatically goes out to your Etsy customers when they purchase from you that will help you get more 5-star Reviews for your shop.

Also having detailed instructions included with your digital files and downloads can potentially alleviate a lot of the customer service interaction that can occur.

Stay organized

Another tip you can try is to keep track of all customer questions, purchases, and exchanges in a spreadsheet or other system.

This will help you stay on top of customer service and identify any patterns or issues with a particular product or listing.

Communicating with Customers

Communication is key when it comes to customer service for digital downloads.

You want to make sure your customers feel heard and understood, and that you provide them with the information they need to use your products.

When communicating effectively with customers:

  1. Be prompt: Respond to customer inquiries as quickly as possible. This will show your customers that you value their time and are committed to providing good customer service.
  2. Be clear: Use simple, straightforward language when communicating with customers. Avoid using technical jargon or complex terminology that may confuse or frustrate them.
  3. Be helpful: Provide your customers with the information they need to use your products. This could include instructions on how to download a file, how to open a ZIP folder, or how to print a file.
  4. Be polite: Always be courteous and professional when communicating with customers, even if they are frustrated or angry. Remember that customer service is about finding solutions, not getting into arguments. When in doubt, remember the golden rule: treat people how you want to be treated.

Specific Customer Service Issues for Digital Download Sellers on Etsy

As a digital downloads seller on Etsy, there are some specific customer service issues you may face that differ from those experienced by sellers of physical products.

Here are some common issues and tips for handling them.

Technical issues

Customers may experience technical issues when trying to download or access your digital products.

This could include issues with downloading ZIP folders, accessing PDF files, or opening image files.

To handle or even try to prevent these issues, you can try the following:

  • Provide clear instructions with your products on how to download and access them.
  • Include troubleshooting tips in your product listings or in your Etsy shop policies.
  • Be responsive to customer inquiries and offer assistance in resolving any technical issues within a reasonable amount of time.

Lost or missing files

There are going to be many times when customers claim that they did not receive all of the files included in their purchase, or that they have lost their files.

Many customers also do not realize that they cannot access their digital downloads on the Etsy mobile app and must use a browser to do so.

Some simple fixes to these issues include the following:

  • Check to see if the customer has actually downloaded the item.
  • Send a gentle reminder that they have to access their downloads from their Etsy account using a browser and not the mobile app.
  • Remind them that Etsy themselves sends an email with the link to access their downloads as well.
  • Offer to resend the missing files to the customer via Etsy messages or to the customer’s email.
  • Consider offering a discount or partial refund as a goodwill gesture in some cases. Caution should be taken with this approach, as unfortunately there are some customers out there who watch TikTok trends and know if there is enough badgering about an issue, a refund can be a result.

Dealing with Difficult Customers

Even with the best customer service practices in place, there may be times when you encounter difficult customers. Here are some strategies for handling challenging situations:

  1. Stay calm and professional: When communicating with a difficult customer, it’s important to remain calm and professional. Avoid becoming defensive or confrontational, and instead, focus on finding a solution to the issue at hand. If needed, take a minute to breathe before responding to any messages.
  2. Listen actively: When a customer is upset or frustrated, it’s crucial to actively listen to their concerns. Repeat back their concerns to demonstrate that you understand their point of view, and show empathy for their situation.
  3. Offer solutions: Work with the customer to find a solution that meets their needs and resolves the issue. This may involve offering a refund or exchange, providing additional support or assistance, or taking steps to prevent similar issues from occurring in the future.
  4. Set boundaries: Sometimes, customers may behave less than ideal or make unreasonable demands. In these situations, it’s essential to set clear boundaries and communicate them to the customer. You may need to escalate the issue to Etsy’s customer support team for assistance if necessary.
  5. Know when to walk away: While it’s important to strive for positive outcomes in customer service interactions, there may be times when it’s best to walk away from a difficult customer.
  6. If a customer is being abusive, threatening, or otherwise unreasonable, it may be best to end the conversation and disengage.

By being prepared to handle difficult customer service situations, you can maintain your professionalism and provide a positive experience for most of your customers.

Handling Refunds and Exchanges

Despite your best efforts, there may be times when a customer is not satisfied with their purchase and requests a refund or exchange.

It’s important to have a clear policy for handling these situations.

policy settings on etsy
Digital products will default to Etsy’s preset policy and are not eligible for returns or exchanges, however, Etsy encourages that if a buyer reaches out to you then you handle the issues however you see fit, meaning you can issue a refund if needed.

Here are some tips for handling refunds and exchanges.

Be understanding

When a customer requests a refund or exchange, try to understand their concerns and be empathetic.

Acknowledge their frustration and work with them to find a solution.

Follow your policies

Stick to the policies you’ve established for refunds and exchanges. If you make an exception for one customer, it could set a precedent for others.

Provide options

Offer your customers a variety of options for resolving their issues. This could include a refund, an exchange for a different product, or a discount on a future purchase.

One of the biggest customer service interactions I experience in my shop is when customers buy one of my templates and even though it is posted everywhere that the template is not editable, they misread or don’t read at all, and think that it is. When those customers reach out to me, I remind them that the item is not editable, however, if they let me know the changes they would like to see, I can do it for them. This normally appeases the buyer and leads to a 5-star review as well. Don’t be afraid to go above and beyond for your customers. With this approach, I have turned a lot of my customers into repeat buyers.

Tips for Preventing Common Issues

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some tips to prevent common customer service issues.

Be clear and descriptive in your product listings

Include all relevant information in your product descriptions and listing images, including how to access and use the product. This will help minimize the number of customer inquiries you receive.

Provide instructions

earth day bingo dropbox link instructions
Including instructions for how to access a file is very helpful to a buyer and will reduce the need for customer interaction, helping your Etsy shop truly become a passive venture.

Include detailed instructions with your digital products to help customers use them. This can also help prevent issues like customers not knowing how to open a ZIP folder.

You can use programs like Canva to help you create an instructions template to include with your files.

What Can you do with Canva?

Canva is the #1 tool that all printable sellers should learn. You can make designs very quickly using Canva and can use it to create materials for your business or start a new business with your Canva designs! Learn more about what this platform can do.

Related posts:
The Best Ways to Make Money with Canva
The Ultimate Guide to Using Canva to Sell on Etsy

Test your products

Before listing your products, make sure you test them thoroughly to ensure they work as intended. This will help prevent issues like broken links or missing files.

Final Thoughts

Customer service is a crucial aspect of selling digital products on Etsy.

By following the tips and best practices outlined in this post, you can provide your customers with excellent customer service, build a positive reputation as a seller, and grow your online business.

Remember to be prompt, clear, and helpful in your communication with customers, and to have clear policies in place for refunds and exchanges.

With a solid customer service plan in place, you’ll be well-equipped to handle any issues that arise and keep your customers happy.

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by Julie and Cody

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