The backbone of any business is good customer service. eBay is no exception. In fact, it could be argued that customer service is even more important for an eBay business than a traditional retail store.
eBay has fairly strict seller performance standards that are tied closely to customer service factors. On eBay, bad customer service doesn’t just mean loss of sales and customer satisfaction. It could lead to limits, restrictions and even suspension. Read on to discover seven ways to offer great customer service when selling on eBay.
Create honest and detailed listings
Creating and maintaining accurate and descriptive listings should be the number one priority of every eBay seller. The listing offers the buyer their first impression of both the item and the seller, thereby setting up expectations for the rest of the transaction.
Photographs should be plentiful and show representation of all angles and sides to the item. Damage should be featured and also noted in the description. Take the time to clean and prepare the item before taking photographs. Use a neutral background to present the item clearly.
In the description, include all positive and negative features of the item. It is important not to oversell, to ensure that the buyer will be satisfied with their purchase. The more accurate the information given, the less likely there will be any misunderstanding. Include measurements, both metric and imperial. Be careful not to use any protected terms, such as ‘Velcro,’ and do not compare the item to similar products and brands.
Respond quickly to customers
A fast response to a customer can sometimes make or break a sale on eBay. If a buyer is looking for a specific item, it is likely they will contact a number of different sellers before finalizing their purchase. If you wait too long to reply, it is very possible they will buy the item from someone else. Aim to reply within the same day.
Besides resulting in more sales, replying to buyers quickly is a good indicator of your overall standard of customer service. Keep in mind though, that responding to messages from customers can be a strain on time as well as a distraction. Put aside some time in the day to exclusively spend checking for new messages and replying to customers.
Think and speak positively
When communicating with customers, keep in mind that tone does not always translate well online. To prevent misunderstandings or offence, it is best to write as positively as possible. Avoid using the words with negative connotations like “can’t” and “won’t.” Always be happy to help with questions and concerns. Be sincere. This positive vibe can help to keep customers happy too.
If a customer is frustrated and acts aggressively, take a break before replying. It can be tempting to reply straight away (as per the advice above!) but in this situation it is a good idea to reflect and evaluate before responding. Whatever happens, don’t rise to their level. Maintain your professionalism and stay calm.
Pack items with care
The better the condition an item arrives to a customer in, the better the customer service. Packing items carefully can also negate many common post-sale issues with buyers. No-one wants an item to be damaged in transit, but the risk for sellers is twofold – loss of the item and a mandatory refund to the customer as per the Money Back Guarantee.
The first step to appropriate packing is to start with the right container. Choose clean, strong boxes with adequate space around the item for adequate cushioning. Padded envelopes work great for smaller items but be sure not to overstuff them.
Take the time to cushion and protect all items to prevent movement while in transit. Bubble wrap is an ideal material to use and can be purchased cheaply in bulk. Styrofoam has long been a popular choice for protecting items, but some more environmentally friendly options include biodegradable foam and wood wool.
eBay is an online marketplace with thousands of independent eBay sellers. This is one of the major aspects that sets eBay apart from so many other retailers. Embrace the individuality of eBay and provide a more personal shopping experience to your customers. This may not only help with the process of the transaction, but it may also lead to more sales in the future.
While it is crucial to remain professional when communicating with customers, try not to sound like a robot. So much of modern life is automated and so many people appreciate connecting with real people. Consider including a handwritten note with the item shipment, thanking the buyer for their order.
Ship items promptly
In a digital age with same day delivery in major cities, fast shipping is becoming more and more important. While delivery of this speed isn’t quite necessary for eBay sales (at least, at the moment), it still crucial to ship items to the standard that the customer expects.
Always be realistic with stated shipping and handling times. Accuracy is more important than the actual overall shipping time. It is better for an item to have a longer shipping time but arrive punctually rather than be advertised with fast shipping and arrive late.
Offer fast solutions
When a transaction doesn’t go as planned, it is important to remain professional and find a solution quickly. As tempting as it may be to put off the issue for a few days, it is better to deal with problems sooner rather than later. The customer will appreciate it and then the weight of the issue will be off your own mind quicker.
If a solution isn’t immediately obvious, put yourself in the customer’s shoes and try to see the situation from their side. If you were them, what would make the situation better? If that doesn’t help, don’t be afraid to ask the buyer what their ideal resolution may be. While some buyers may ask for too much, in most instances this will put you in the right direction.
With considering solutions, remember to take the long view. This is just one transaction of many. Sometimes, it can be more beneficial to take a loss than spend the time fighting it.
Read more about resolving common issues with buyers on eBay
Experienced eBay sellers, how do you offer great customer service?