Forget the fee hikes, never mind the listing changes. The single most terrifying aspect of eBay for sellers these days is the prospect of getting lumped with a whole lot of negative feedback just because it’s Christmas, shipping companies are overwhelmed and customers are impatient. In this document we are going to look at the proper process to remove negative feedback, how to prevent it and a couple of ways to pretty much guarantee increased sales and customer satisfaction. Enjoy
Removing Negative Feedback From EBay
While many transactions on eBay run smoothly and leave both the seller and the buyer happy there's always the risk of a seller getting negative feedback from a disgruntled customer, or even a competitor on occasion. As eBay no longer permits sellers to leave negative or even neutral feedback on buyers accounts this can play havoc on a sellers account and can even lead to them not being able to sell on eBay in the future. And once eBay crumbles into the dust you can also use these principles on eBay alternatives (http://www.chinavasion.com/ebay_alternatives.html) too.
Understanding the eBay rules on negative feedback
EBay has clear guidelines on removing negative feedback, particularly if it is abusive in nature. A Resolution Center is available on eBay which is for both sellers and buyers; this covers a broad range of transaction-related problems, one of which is feedback. Removing such feedback is a difficult process as eBay will only remove it under very specific circumstances. In fact the best thing you can probably do with negative or neutral feedback which has been handed out too quickly is to ask the buyer to revise their feedback they have given.
This process is called Request Feedback Revision and is usually the best approach. It lets both parties discuss the problem which may stem from a simple misunderstanding. If eBay or the buyer refuses to remove the negative feedback then be sure to tell your side of the story and leave a comment of your own underneath the one from the buyer. Smart buyers will most likely read the comments associated with negative feedback to see what the issues were. Just don't get drawn into a flame war. Some times it is even better to take a little bit of negative feedback on the chin.
Important resources from eBay
eBay information page covering seller feedback (Read this if nothing else) http://pages.ebay.com/sell/feedback.html eBay feedback withdrawal and removal policy http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/feedback -removal.html Removing unfair negative feedback on eBay http://pages.ebay.com/help/feedback/questio ns/unfair-feedback.html eBay abusive feedback withdrawal policy http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/feedback -abuse-withdrawal.html
Take a broader perspective
Just as everybody knows it will be cold in winter and hot in summer there are certain times of the year that eBay resellers can pretty much pick that there will be at least several disgruntled customers. Those times would be around Christmas, Mothers Day, Valentines Day or any other occasion which has been created to celebrate the patron saint of cash registers. And one of the new eBay features can either help you or hurt you based on your customer service record. Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs)
The DSRs show your record as a seller in more detail, giving a more accurate picture of the transaction experience to you and your customers. Things measured include: Item description Communication Dispatch time, Postage and packaging charges This represents the *total customer experience* and provides a very high level of transparency. You should therefore aim to provide a consistent quality of service at all times. So, even if you are not successful in removing negative feedback, your future customers will judge your services for themselves. The better your performance is, the better your overall feedback will be. And the less chance there will be that you will receive more negative ratings in the future.
The better your performance is, the better your overall feedback will be. And the less chance there will be that you will receive more negative ratings in the future.
A few negative ratings won’t matter to potential clients if you have: A high percentage of positive feedback High Detailed Seller Ratings showing a good track record of providing a quality experience to buyers Favorable comments from happy customers. Only transactions occurring in the past twelve months count toward your positive feedback percentage so if you rarely receive negative feedback then eventually these will “lapse” and expire from your positive feedback percentage. And with a little foresight and planning good feedback can almost be guaranteed.
Prevention is better than cure
As a seller, it is extremely important to adopt a “prevention is better than cure” approach with clear, consistent guidelines and information on all of your item pages. Remember, the item page is your virtual storefront and should be presented as such with the buyer in mind in terms of layout and content. The ultimate goal is to convert auction page traffic (people browsing) to sales (people buying). Spell it out for buyers While you don't need to outline every single detail for customers it is still helpful to cover the basics for them in the listing and on your seller page. A great way to do this is to include a short FAQ which resolves any common potential issues (such as late delivery) before they become disputes and lets the customer know that you are there for them.
Examples of this include: How soon can the buyer expect you to contact them after the auction ends
What the buyer should do if the item has not arrived What the buyer should do if the item arrives in a damaged condition
Keep the questions and answers clear and short.
Putting your feedback policy on the item page also lets you and the buyer prevent potentially difficult transactions.
For example, a good idea is to remind the buyer that if there is a problem then they should get in touch with you ASAP. This gives you both a chance to review the transaction and deal with issues before any feedback, negative or otherwise, is left.
The best way to work out what the customer is actually going to ask before it becomes a problem is to think like a customer and ask yourself what YOU would be concerned about if you were buying online. Think like a customer One of the biggest factors in customer dissatisfaction is when the reality of buying from an eBay seller doesn't match up with the description and process noted on your listings and seller pages. Think and plan ahead.
Besides the extra sales just think what good feedback about your level of communication will do for your eBay discount level
Put yourself in the buyer’s place and ask yourself what would be important to you if you were buying something. One way to minimise the possibility of negative feedback is to ensure that you communicate with the buyer, letting them know what is happening at all the appropriate stages. Talk to them via email or instant message: When the auction has just ended, When the payment has been made/received When the item has been shipped (Don’t forget to tell them their shipping/tracking number) Good communication means good business. This means being responsive to your customer whether they ask a product question, ask about delivery or any other sales-related question. Be aware of your tone and the way the message is presented. Is it courteous? Does it address the buyer’s concerns? What does your response say about your business? Just think what good feedback about your level of communication will do for your eBay discount level Just as a seller wants a page visitor to become a buyer, a seller should aim to turn a buyer to become a repeat customer. With this in mind, you need to consider the type of message being sent by your online retail skills. So what are the key messages to take away from this document?
Finding a new customer costs six times more than retaining an existing one
Be A Good Guide For Customers
Anybody can sell but to be a consistently good seller you need to take the right approach. A good seller is one who takes care of their customers, manages them well and adopts best practice by providing a professional service at all stages of the selling process. From the moment you begin to write the item description to the point where the transaction is completed and feedback is written. Think of an eBay transaction as a journey. It has a beginning and an end and your job is to guide the buyer through the entire process. Your ideal end goal should be that you will have many more journeys (transactions) with that companion, plus other companions in the future.
Some of the more successful sellers on eBay are those that guide their customers through the sales process This, more than anything else, will make the difference to either receiving negative feedback or glowing feedback from your buyer. It’s been said that finding a new customer costs six times more than retaining an existing one. Therefore, it makes sense to do everything right in the first place and keep return sales coming in.
This, after all, makes more sense than spending all of your time addressing problems and customer complaints.
Don’t Focus On ‘Damage Control’
It doesn’t take much to realize that the options to remove negative feedback are limited. But, while your positive feedback percentage it is only one of the criteria that buyers use to determine the level of service. How a buyer views your overall professionalism and salesmanship is actually a complex process. Some of the other key criteria that a buyer will evaluate include:
The quality, content and layout of your auction pages
Do they appear professional? Is the information clear, relevant and helpful? Are the photographs useful and an accurate depiction of the goods?
The quality of the communication from the seller
Was it timely, responsive and professional? Did it address any issues that arose?
Was the time between payment and receiving the item reasonable? Was the packaging appropriate for the item(s)?
The condition, size and quality of the item
Was it as described on the auction page? How problems are resolved Are returns accepted? Are refunds issued in a timely manner?
Remember that, even if there is a problem (e.g. if the item is no longer available or the shipping company is at fault), it is possible for both the seller and buyer to reach an amicable conclusion. But to do this you will need to explain any issues with the buyer in a clear and transparent manner.
Share What You Know
Never underestimate the importance of sharing knowledge, tips and resources from existing online groups of eBay sellers. If you are experiencing a problem as an eBay seller, it’s worth remembering that, someone, somewhere, will have experienced it before. Review your eBay listings and seller page and make sure that you’re giving your customer all the information they need to proceed in confidence with your order. Take an objective look at your communication method to make sure your customers leave happy and check out some eBay alternatives while you’re at it.
US EBay Community Discussion Boards
UK EBay Community Discussion Boards
You will gain from the improve customer service without having to worry about the monetary punishment of increased fees if you get your customer service policy wrong.
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