Shop Talk: Communication Essentials for Sellers

Most business owners know that reputation is everything, which makes online reviews and feedback extremely valuable. Negative reviews can tank your business while positive reviews propel you forward. One of the most important ways to gain positive feedback and expand your reputation is to maintain an open line of communication with your customers. Here are just a few of the most important things to keep in mind as you communicate with your buyers.

Be Timely

Respond to messages and answer questions as quickly as possible, even if the answer is just “I’m still looking that up for you.” Any answer is better than no answer at all. It demonstrates that you’re mindful of their request and are not ignoring them. Also, make sure to post tracking numbers and shipping info as soon as you have it. People want updates. Give them what they want.


There are much better ways to emphasize text in a written dialog than ALL CAPS. It implies yelling and it’s not very professional to yell at your customers. Bold is a good way to emphasize single keywords or headers, but can seem too forceful if overused. Italics are much more subtle, and a good way to emphasize key words, phrases, and sentences, without seeming overbearing. The main point is to not overuse any of these. Let the facts speak for themselves and provide accurate information. The purity of clean dialog will carry its own weight.

Be Polite

It’s impossible to read the written word without imparting it with some sort of voice. Be sure you don’t read someone else’s message in a negative way as if they were intentionally being rude or confrontational. Even if they're acting like the south side of a north-facing donkey, that doesn't give you the excuse to do the same. Read and re-read messages, and attempt to remove any sort of emotion from the text. It’s always best to respond with truth and facts, using good manners. Even a simple "thank you" can go far.

Mind Your Grammar

I know, I know. You used a cell phone to respond to that message. but srsly if u use bad spllng and no cap lttrs i dont no who im talking 2. omg ru13? Not to sound too much like your mother here, but it never pays to be lazy when talking to someone who is trying to give you his money. Everything you put out there represents your operation, and poor grammar and punctuation communicates that you’re either lazy or uneducated. Cruel and unfair, perhaps, but it’s a downgrade in the perception of you and your gear. Punctuate, capitalize the first letter of a sentence, and spell the whole word. It leaves less room for misinterpretation, doesn’t take that much extra effort, and may be the thing that seals the deal.

Offer To Go The Extra Mile

Customers have unrealistic expectations. Get used to it. Then learn to predict it. Then find creative ways to exceed those expectations. Now you have yourself a flourishing business.

This is especially true if there’s something unique about you, the customer or the transaction. Sometimes we'll throw in shop swag, or an extra set of strings or draw a silly picture on the invoice. This can be reassuring for the customer if there is some problem or delay with the order. You’re acknowledging the issue and thanking them for their patience by giving them a little something extra. It doesn’t have to be huge or cost a lot. It’s the gesture that counts. This goes for presentation, too. Pack things well so that when their new gear arrives, it’s like opening a gift from a friend.

Leave Feedback

At least tell them, “Thanks for the purchase!” Even better, mention something personal about the transaction like, “Good luck in your new Artist-Formerly-Known-As-Prince cover band!” We occasionally just mention the gear: “Enjoy that new fuzz pedal!” On Reverb, leaving feedback is also an easy way to remind your buyer to leave feedback in the other direction if they have not done so yet.

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