I’ve had an ebay account for ten years now, and I have been a serious seller for quite a few of them. We all have to adapt to any changes ebay makes, and it’s fun to watch the progress that we make over the years. I had a chance to look back and reflect at some of my early years as an ebay entrepreneur, and it’s funny to see how I’ve grown. My credo has developed and has transitioned into a business model that has been holding strong. I still continue to grow and make changes to my business, but there are three things that I have learned that have kept my business successful.
1. Handling Time: I’ve learned that there is a direct correlation between handling time and feedback. I was lazy when I first started to sell on ebay. When an item would sell, I would wait until I felt like boxing up the item an shipping it out. Most customers wouldn’t say anything unless it was extremely late, but that’s the problem. I wanted them to say something on my feedback (positive of course). As my business continued to slowly grow, ebay made some changes that required a faster handling time with sold items. When I officially made the change to shipping out sold items the next day, with no exceptions, I watched as my feedback exploded. I went from a 30% feedback take rate to a 70% overnight! It was amazing to see how much customers really appreciated me shipping out their product the next day (or the same day in some cases). On a side note: You may have noticed that items you’ve shipped via USPS this holiday season are taking a little longer to reach you buyer. If you are not already shipping out the next day, then now is a perfect time to start. Customers may be angry if their item arrives a little later than expected, so minimize the time spent in transit.
2. Return Policy: I use to think that offering a return policy would just be an opening for trouble. I wouldn’t offer it on any of my items, and if there was a customer issue, I would just take the negative feedback. Looking back on this I think I must have been crazy! I have adapted with ebay’s policies over the years and I quickly understood the value of a Return Policy. For customers, seeing a return policy is like a guarantee. It makes the buyers feel confident that they are getting the right product, and if they received something that they didn’t expect, then they can just return the item. Now, I offer at least a 14 day return policy on all of my items, and the crazy thing is, no one uses it! I have only had a handful of buyers say that they want to return the item, and only one was because of buyers remorse. This is nothing to be afraid of, if you are honest and take good pictures, then the customer should understand what they are getting. I’ve never had anyone use my item and just return it or abuse the return policy. Since offering a return policy, I’ve seen my sales and repeat customers increase.
3. The customer is always right (most of the time): When a customer has a problem with their item, I mostly side with them. I might show empathy for their problem, and try as hard as I can to come up with a solution, but that doesn’t always mean give them what they want. Do you even know what the customer wants? I had a customer email me to let me know that one of her video games that she ordered was scratched. I shared my concern and expressed how sorry I was. After exchanging a few emails, I sent her a link on how to clean a video game CD and the game ended up working. I could have easily gave her a full refund for the problem, but that’s not what she wanted. She wanted a video game that would work. I got a positive feedback, and the deal was done. I always make the customer feel as if they are in the right. Sure I have ran into a scammer or two, and I’ve dished out a partial refund to save the day, but I immediately add them to my “bad buyer” list, and I never have to deal with them again. I have found that when the customer feels like they are right, and they feel like you are doing your best to resolve the issue, then you will have a happy and repeat buyer.
These three basics in customer service really have helped boost my sales and get me to where I am today with my business. If your not doing this already already, I suggest incorporating these three lessons into your own business, and watch how your customers react. It’s fun to see your business grow