TPT Feedback: The Good, the Bad, and the… Constructive?


Have you ever seen a new review pop up for one of your resources and felt an anxious knot in your stomach? With TPT feedback comes a roller coaster of emotions. When the reviews are positive, it’s the best feeling in the world. But when you see those negative reviews, it’s the total opposite. 

The truth is, getting reviews (whether they are negative or positive) is a part of our business that we have to deal with. Sometimes it has absolutely nothing to do with our actual resources, and sometimes it can provide us with constructive feedback. Today we’re going to explore how to navigate this TPT feedback from how to process it, whether or not to respond to it, and everything in between.

After listening, take some time to review your TPT feedback strategy. If you need a place to start, turn off those notifications! Share what change you’ll be making with me and other sellers on Instagram @kristendoyle.co.

1:14 – Why you should expect negative TPT feedback

3:12 – Strategies to implement for processing TPT feedback without taking it personally

7:09 – Examples of “out there” negative feedback that other sellers have received 

9:49 – Answering the question, should I reply to negative TPT feedback or ignore it?

13:51 – How positive testimonials on any product can be a very powerful tool, and ways to leverage them

Hey, TPT sellers ready to see growth in your business? You’re in the right place. Welcome to The Savvy Teacher Seller. I’m Kristen Doyle. And I’m here to give you no fluff tools and strategies that will really make an impact on your sale. Let’s get started y’all.

Hey, y’all, and welcome to this episode of The Savvy Teacher Seller. I’m your host, Kristen Doyle. And today’s episode is all about TPT feedback. If you have ever felt that pang of anxiety when you saw a new review pop up on one of your resources, then this episode is for you.

TPT feedback just like any other platform can be a total roller coaster of emotions. But it is an important part of our product listings. And today we’re going to explore how to navigate it from understanding that negative feedback is a normal part of business to strategies for handling it in a healthy way to the big question of to reply or not to reply.

We are talking all things TPT feedback. So let’s get right to it. The first thing to keep in mind is that negative feedback in any business on any product is normal and really should be expected. I did a little research and the average rating on a product on Amazon ranges between 3.4 and 4.2 out of five possible stars.

Now I know we would probably all be devastated if our products averaged that low. We are upset when our store average dips below a five. Now I wasn’t able to find an average for Etsy. But I did find that in 2022, Etsy changed their criteria for becoming a star seller on the platform from needing 95% five star reviews to 95% 4.8 or higher reviews.

And they did that to account for the fact that more people are giving four star reviews even when they’re very happy with the product they purchased. The reality is we have learned and our platforms have learned that people really don’t trust the ratings, if every review is five stars, because that just seems improbable.

No product out there is 100% Perfect and can cater to every single individual’s needs or their preferences. So it just makes sense that if a product has been purchased more than a few times, you’re going to have at least some feedback that isn’t glowing. Even the biggest most popular sellers on TPT have their fair share of less than glowing reviews.

When we read negative comments about a product that we have worked hard on, let’s just be honest, it sucks. It is really hard not to take that personally. But I would encourage you to try to separate your personal worth from someone’s perception of your product.

And honestly even separate the products worth from one person’s perception of it. A couple of strategies that I would love for you to implement for processing feedback and trying not to take it personally. If you are currently getting emails or notifications on your phone for every rating that you receive, turn them off.

You can do that in your account settings, there is really no need to be alerted in real time of every single review, even if you’re not getting a ton of them. I know for me, once I had gotten a couple of less than stellar reviews, instead of getting excited that someone had rated my product, I would immediately see that notification or that email, and I would feel anxiety or worry that this might be a bad rating.

So for me, it is much healthier to only look at my ratings once a week or so. So that I can keep tabs on them reply to the ones that need it. But I can also protect my peace. The last thing you want is to let a bad TPT rating pop up and derail a good time you’re having on a date night or a fun afternoon out with friends.

It is much healthier for you to decide when you want to look at your ratings, and put yourself in a good headspace to read the ratings and not take them personally. Another strategy is to have a trusted seller or even a non TPT friend that you can vent to because sometimes we really just need to get those unfiltered, probably not very professional or polite thoughts out of our heads and into the world.

Sometimes that feedback is ridiculous, and you just need to let those feelings out. But the last thing you want to do is let them out on the person who left the rating. We’ll talk more about that in a minute. Have a friend that you can vent to when someone is angry that your resource didn’t come laminated. That is a true story. And I definitely vented to one of my friends about it.

In fact, in the moment I was really upset, but now it’s a story that we laugh about all the time. In the last episode, I’ve shared keeping a smile file as a strategy to help your motivation and to help you combat burnout. But that is also a really great strategy for dealing with bad feedback. You get a crappy review, head over to your smile file and read something from teachers who have loved this exact same resource.

That will help you remember that it’s not always about your resource, sometimes it just wasn’t right for that teacher. Another thing that you can do is try to focus on the constructive parts of the feedback, what is there in that review that you can learn from, use that feedback to help make your product better. I know constructive criticism is still a criticism, and sometimes it’s hard to take, but it does help us grow, and it helps us improve our resources.

Ultimately, even when we’re mad about a low rating, we can be grateful for the feedback and the opportunity to make this resource even better, because it’s almost like we’re getting a free consult from our target audience. They give us insights a lot of times into what we can improve.

Clearly, sometimes their requests, like laminating a digital file are ridiculous. But it also might be that one little thing that you need to add to your resource that really makes it take off and sell better than you ever imagined. So try to find those bits of constructive criticism that you could implement to improve the product.

On the flip side, sometimes their feedback has nothing constructive. And it’s really a reflection of them, and not a reflection of you or your product at all. Their feedback might be influenced by a ton of external factors, like maybe they just had a really rough teaching day before they decided to leave you feedback. And they’re letting that out all over your product that probably wasn’t nearly as bad as they’re suddenly making it sound like.

I asked in my Seller Facebook group for some examples of some of the really out there feedback that sellers have gotten. And I got some that were definitely not about the product at all. One teacher was upset that the resource they purchased was in French and not in English, when the entire title of the product is written in French. And the thumbnails in the preview clearly show screenshots of pages full of French words, not English one.

So this teacher probably should have read the description or looked at any of the images. And I know lots of us get feedback like that. And it is tempting to get really frustrated. I know it’s not fun, but this is reflected on them and not on you.

Another buyer was upset, because her students rushed through the activity and did sloppy work so that they could have the free time that their substitute had promised them. So that’s clearly the TPT sellers fault, right that the substitute incentivized rushing and doing a half done job? Don’t think so that was definitely a reflection on the teacher and not on the product.

Keep in mind that one person’s disapproval does not equate to a flaw in your product. And that reviews are very subjective. Like I said earlier, no product is a perfect fit for every single person.

Now when it comes to really bad and unrelated feedback like this, a lot of times we are tempted to reach out to TPT and ask them to remove the feedback. But keep in mind that that is something TPT very rarely does. They have a policy in place. And it’s an important one.

The reason that they don’t remove feedback very often is because they want to maintain the integrity of the reviews, and they want to keep buyers trust. If buyers think that every negative review is getting removed by TPT, then they aren’t going to trust that the ratings they’re seeing are accurate.

There are a couple of circumstances when feedback might be removed. And in these cases, I would recommend reaching out to TPT if you think you have feedback that falls into this criteria. Typically it is for tech issues that have nothing to do with the resource they are on the buyers end, like their PowerPoint wouldn’t work or something.

Or if feedback is overtly rude. It includes bullying is vulgar, or we have had kind of an uptick recently in spammy reviews, where people are leaving ratings that have nothing to do with our product. I saw one that was advertising some financial services in a review, those sorts of things TPT will remove for you.

Now let’s talk about the question have to reply or not to reply? Sometimes I hear sellers who seem to think that this is an all or none scenario either. Either you always reply or you just ignore them.

I think it is much more complicated than that. And it is okay to pick and choose when you are going to reply to feedback. And when you’re not, whether it’s positive or negative. Keep in mind that when it comes to replies to feedback, the reviewer has to check a box that says that they want to be notified when the seller replies in order to find out, and if they don’t check that box, they’ll never see your reply.

So what that means is that the replies we leave are really for the customers who are shopping today, not for the person who left that review last week. When it comes to positive reviews, I would suggest replying to all of the positive reviews, if you’re a brand new seller. And when I say all I mean, all within reason, if you’ve got a positive review that just says great with 47 Exclamation marks, so they could get over that character limit. Maybe don’t reply to those. But if you get a positive review that has any sort of real comment about why they liked your resource, and you’re a newer seller, or even just if this is a brand new resource, then I would recommend replying to it.

However, if you are a veteran seller with 1000s of reviews, I probably wouldn’t reply to every positive review. First of all, it is extremely time consuming. It probably does not make people purchase more from you. So it isn’t a needle mover type activity. And it really just clutters that review feed, so that people are seeing more of you responding and less of the actual reviews that might help them decide to make a purchase.

So as a veteran seller with 1000s of reviews, I personally only respond to really special really glowing reviews, where I am hoping that the person might see my reply.

Now let’s talk negative reviews. It is good to reply to negative reviews. But you don’t have to reply to all of them. If the review is obviously a reflection of their bad attitude or outside factors like our substitute example earlier, future buyers will see that and they will realize that.

In those cases, there’s really nothing to say to that person anyway, I’m sorry, your substitute didn’t do a good job really doesn’t add anything to the conversation. It’s very important that when you’re replying to negative feedback, that you’re replying, not to vent, not to confront that person and prove that they’re wrong, but you’re replying to provide clarity for potential buyers in the future.

So with that in mind, you want to make sure that you stay professional, calm and informative in your replies, especially when it’s a reply to negative feedback. If you’re having trouble staying professional and calm, some strategies for that would be to step away for a little bit so that you can cool off first.

You don’t have to reply to that feedback right away. Remember, the reply is really for people down the road anyway. So step away a bit cool off first, put on your customer service hat, pull out your customer service voice. If you are really still struggling, you can also use tools like polite post, which is an AI tool that will rewrite whatever you say in a polite and professional way.

Or you could even think about hiring someone else to do this for you. And if the negative feedback is really causing you stress, if it is bad for your mental health, you might consider hiring someone else to handle it for you, just so that you don’t have to deal with that side of your business.

Keep in mind that unless the customer checks that box to be notified, they probably will never see your reply. So always make sure that you’re writing those replies for the future buyer who’s reading it not for the person who left the review in the first place.

Now let’s talk just for a minute about positive feedback. Positive testimonials on any product can be very powerful for influencing potential buyers and getting them to make that purchase. So you want to make sure that you’re highlighting those on your products.

Now I know you might think that there’s no need to highlight them in other places because they’re right there on the product listing. However, keep an eye on where they are on the product listing page. Before buyers get to the reviews, they have to first scroll past the title and the thumbnails and the name of your store and the entire description.

And then eventually, they will finally get to the reviews which are sorted by most recent combined with the ones that have the highest helpful ratings. That means the best feedback might not always even be on the first page. And then buyers would have to click see more.

And let’s keep in mind how busy our teacher audience is. They are busy, they are burnt out they’re probably not clicking see more. So my suggestion for you is to put that best feedback that you have, in some strategic places higher up on your product listing.

Take advantage of the featured testimonials that TPT rolled out this year. And I know they’ve been a little bit buggy recently. Hopefully that’s getting worked out. But take advantage of those featured testimonials. And make sure you select two really good ones to put there.

Include them in the product preview, so that you’re catching those potential buyers eye as they’re scrolling through your preview and showing them that other teachers have been happy with this resource. And drop some of them into the product description to provide some social proof in there as well.

Another place that you should definitely incorporate some of your best feedback is on your social media. Instead of just posting a picture of the resource, try posting a carousel that includes the picture of the resource, but also some really amazing feedback about it.

Remember, your TPT journey is uniquely yours. And it is okay to approach feedback in whatever way is going to nurture your growth, protect your peace, and make your seller experience one that you enjoy. Use the constructive criticism that you get to improve your product so that they sell even better. Brush off the feedback that is clearly their issue and not yours. And always, always be professional and polite in your replies.

This week, I would encourage you to take some time to review your feedback strategy. Maybe it’s time to turn off those notifications so that you’re in control of when you check your feedback. Or perhaps you could add some new positive reviews to your product description or your preview, whatever it is make one little change that aligns with what we’ve talked about today.

And if you’re feeling brave, share your action step with our community on social media and tag me @kristendoyle.co Thank you so much for listening to this episode. Let’s keep learning growing and supporting one another. Talk to you soon.

I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. If you did, please share it with another teacher seller who would also find it helpful. For more resources on growing your TPT business. Head to Kristindoyle.co/TPT. Talk to you soon.

Ready to see growth in your business? You’re in the right place.

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About Your Host

Your host, Kristen Doyle, has a decade of experience selling on TpT and has made all the mistakes so that you don’t have to! As a web designer and the go-to SEO expert in the TpT world, she loves helping TpT sellers stand out in the crowd & grow their businesses with passive income strategies.

Tune in to hear Kristen cover all aspects of running a TpT business – from leveraging SEO, to improving product listings, to effective TpT seller strategies for your store and website.