Selling occasionally on eBay is one thing, but making a living professionally from it is a totally different beast. There are plenty of guides which can help you make the perfect listing but this concentrates on what happens once you have made a sale.
Next question should be asking - why am I writing this guide? well I started selling bits and bobs and now sell on eBay for a living and my business is starting to take off. I strive for and have fantastic feedback with many customers coming buying from me again and again, they recommend my shop to others and I have a relationship with them! Why?
REALLY Happy Customers = More sales; Content Customers = maybe more sales, unhappy customers = less sales! And if that is not enough, REALLY Happy customers = less stress for you! If you have dealt with a unhappy customer you will know its not a pleasant experience!
So you want REALLY happy customers right? In most cases just by selling your item at a fair price and sending it as advertised the customers are 'happy' - but will they remember you? will they think to come back to your shop or buy some of your other items? It's not hard to turn a happy customer into a REALLY happy customer
Tip 1) Communicate.
eBay does a great job of keeping customers 'informed' with it's automatic messages, but buyers expect that, what they do not expect but appreciate when they have it is the personal touch. We send a thank you message when someone has bought something, if we are sending by courier we will tell them that the courier has been organised and we will send them a note when the item has been dispatched with an estimated delivery time. We take it a step further, every item we ship also contains a personalised 'thank you' letter which also gives details of my shop! We try to make the customer feel valued at every step of the journey, which not only helps us promote our other items, if anything does go wrong (which does happen) its easier to deal with as you have the relationship already. If that is not enough - it actually feels really good to be nice! Be friendly yet professional and it will go a long way!
Tip 2) Magnificent Packaging
This doesn't mean spending hours on every package - but do make enough effort that it looks presentable, this is especially important for second hand items where the original box may be missing. When someone open's something they have bought they do so with anticipation, if their first impression is not great then the anticipation may drain away a little no matter how nice the inside. We always first wrap our items in lovely tissue paper before properly wrapping so the last thing they see before they get their item is some lovely paper! it doesn't cost much shows that you do care. One final tip - make it that little bit hard for them to unwrap the last step, one extra bit of sticky tape can build the anticipation!
Tip 3) Go Above and Beyond Expectations
Depending on what you sell this may be a step or cost too much - we include a simple lollipop (you can buy a case of them inexpensively on eBay :)) with every one of our items and mention it as a token 'thank you gift' in our thank you letter. The buyer did not expect this and they often email to thank us or mention it in our feedback - its a simple step but it all adds up.
Tip 4) Dispatch ASAP
Amazon has set the precedence of fast dispatch - and buyers now expect things to be sent ASAP, unfortunately it doesn't matter if you state that you will dispatch in X no of days, buyers still expect it fast. That is a fact - the only way to ensure your DSR's do not suffer is to post it ASAP.
Tip 5) Deal with problems quickly, effectively and non-personally
You cannot please everyone all of the time, things go wrong - items lost in the post, late deliveries, broken items buyer believes it was not described properly. THE most important thing to do is not take it personally, it is a business and it can't all go right all the time! Every situation is unique but there is almost never any benefit to you as a seller to argue who was right and who was wrong. Look at each problem, find the quickest way to resolve the problem and resolve it - if a customer is furious then be calm, listen - offer a solution make it happen move on. Things have gone wrong many times with us, sometimes the customer has been really angry but in every case we have resolve it, in some cases the customer has bought other items from us again because they knew they could trust us. Putting right what has gone wrong is an opportunity to show your excellent customer service.
Tip 6) Learn from your mistakes FAST
Mistakes happen, for example if something is damaged in the post could it be you are not packaging it correctly? be honest with yourself and deal with the problem and move on. If you do not learn from your mistakes quickly it will get a lot worst before it gets better!
I hope this guide has been of some value - it is of course just the author's opinion and what has worked for us, we are constantly evolving our process and are committed to being a fantastic seller on eBay