Communication is imperative when selling online, since the customer cannot touch and hold your product to examine it themselves. An accurate description is important and gives the customer more confidence in your product.
Of course, it goes both ways. The customer has to READ the description!! I've had several experiences recently where customers overlooked important details in the description, such as the size of the book, and were surprised when they received a smaller book than expected.
Communication also encompasses email correspondence and Etsy's internal email called convos. I get a lot of convos regarding custom orders and inquiries about my books. If I don't respond to them within a reasonable amount of time, I risk losing the sale. Unless I am away for the day or out of town, I always respond to my convos within a few hours or less. My computer is in my studio so I hear the email chime go off when I'm working (unless I've got my music too loud!).
On the other hand, a mistake I often make is responding too quickly to convos. Sometimes in my haste to be prompt in my reply, I don't fully think through what I'm saying. Just the other day I shot off a response to a potential customer without a formal greeting and my usual "thanks for your inquiry, yadda yadda" closing sentiment. I felt bad about it as I always try to be polite.
By far the biggest mistake I've made to date was not thinking through a custom request before I quoted a price. It was for an international order and trying to estimate the shipping cost for a product I've never made before freaked me out. Lucky for me the customer never followed through with the order, so I had a narrow escape!
-Responding to convos in a timely manner.
-I do what I say I'm going to do, within the time frame I've stated.
-If I run into an obstacle which prevents me from keeping my promise, I let my customer know as soon as possible.
-I try, when I have the time, to touch base with my customers to be sure they received their book and are happy with it. Most don't ever respond, but at least I've made the attempt.
I'm certainly no expert and have learned most of this by trial and error! I hope you found this helpful. This by no means is an exhaustive write up on the subject. Please leave a comment and share your thoughts on communication as it applies to selling online!