eBay is a platform which unifies the buying experience for many different items sold by many different sellers. This means a buyer can never really know what to expect from a seller until they make a purchase, which can cause some anxiety. Providing top notch customer service is a great way to put the buyer at ease.
Above all, be professional, polite and friendly in all communication with the buyer. This goes a long way.
Getting the sale
You want to instil confidence in your potential buyers in order to make the sale. Making yourself available by inviting questions is a great way to show that you take customer service seriously, and that you are a seller worth dealing with.
Respond to all seller questions promptly and in a polite, helpful manner. If a potential buyer has gone to the effort of asking a question, this usually means they are genuinely interested in the item.
Don’t balk at ‘stupid questions’. On larger purchases, I personally never place a bid or Buy it Now without first contacting the seller to gauge their response times and helpfulness. Getting a satisfactory response from a seller is often what seals the deal for me when making a purchasing decision (this is one of my top tips!). Often I don’t actually have a genuine question, I just want to get a response, in which case I make something up.
Once you have a buyer
Once you have made a sale, your customer service role really begins. It is their experience from here that the buyer will base your feedback and ratings upon. All communication and actions from here can be handled in My eBay (or the Selling Manager if you have that enabled).
Often small problems in a transaction can be smoothed out by simply keeping in touch with the seller. There is nothing worse than giving your heard earned money to someone and then having them going quiet. So keep them in the loop as you process their order.
Once you have made the sale, send the buyer a quick message thanking them for their order. If you are still awaiting payment, them give them details of how they can pay you. Once payment has been received, inform them of anticipated dispatch times and tell them that you will be in touch once the item has shipped.
Once the item has been dispatched
Update the seller as soon as the item has shipped, providing them with an estimated delivery date (between date A and date B works well) and provide a tracking number if you have one. You should also mark the item as ‘dispatched’ in My eBay and add the tracking number (useful for both the buyer and eBay in the case of any disputes).
You can also encourage them to get in touch if they have not received the item a certain number of days beyond the expected delivery window. This shows them that you realise your role as a buyer doesn’t end once the item has left your hands.
Once the item has been received
Most of the time transactions go smoothly and the only way you will know that the buyer is happy is once they leave positive feedback. Unlike sellers, when it comes to buyers, silence is a good thing. If you haven’t heard anything from the buyer and no feedback has been left after a couple of weeks you can always send a friendly message to the buyer asking if everything is OK with the item and asking that they leave feedback. Make sure you don’t come across as pushy.
In the event that something does go wrong, like the item arrives damaged or the seller is not happy, make sure you keep up your professional, polite and friendly manner. Should this turn in to a dispute, make sure you go through eBay’s resolution centre. It can be frustrating if the buyer bought the wrong item by mistake and is requesting a refund, but if that is allowed under the returns policy you specified then you have to just see the time and money incurred as a business expense.
With changes to the feedback and refund rules over time, sometimes it can seem like eBay have tipped the selling experience so buyers have all of the power. Unfortunately there isn’t anything you can do about this, so at times, even with unreasonable buyers (and they do exist) you just have to grit your teeth and do what needs to be done to appease them. Otherwise you run the risk of being hit with a negative or neutral feedback and poor ratings. It’s never nice, but try not to lose sleep over the occasional transaction that goes south.
Do you have any other tips about how to provide great customer service to your buyers? If so please feel free to leave it as a comment below.