This guide is our way of giving something back to the users of eBay for the success that they have given us and is primarily aimed at people starting out in selling, particularly those starting a new business, maybe working from home, or just trying to get a bit of extra cash (which is how we started out!) It is the result of the thousands of experiences we have had when buying and selling and although some of it probably appears obvious, you’d be amazed how many people neglect the basics and then have to deal with the fallout.
This is purely my opinion and what works for me – I appreciate everyone has their own likes and dislikes and this is intended to be read and used/discarded as you see fit! If you have any feedback on it or would like to ask any questions please feel free to message me.
So, here are my 8 Golden Rules for giving 5 Star Customer Service:
1. Your approach to selling
Most people sell on eBay to make money, which makes absolute sense and certainly helps the bank balance. But in order to really succeed you need to approach selling from a different angle. Making an extra few pounds here and there in the short term is great, but in order to sell repeatedly to people you have to give them a reason to come back. The key to this is how you approach your business – don’t think that you are in it for the money and every last penny you can squeeze out of people – you are in it to provide people with something they want and to do that really well. If you think like that, the by-product of making money will be enjoyable, but so will the method by which you get it.
2. Go out of the way for your customers
How many times have you e-mailed or phoned a company to be told you need to ring another number or send your e-mail to a different address? Why do they not make that call or write that e-mail for you and then give you your answer? I have found the most effective way to keep customers happy is to solve their problem for them, not give them more work. If they ask you “Do you sell that item in Orange”, don’t reply with “Yes we do, check the shop”. Hunt the exact link down yourself and send them that. A customer who doesn’t have to put too much work in is a customer who is more likely to buy from you – think of how much you appreciate it when you know a customer service person is doing everything they can to help you rather than trying to get you off the phone as quickly as possible.
3. Swift response
If you only check your eBay messages every evening at 8pm you are missing out on a lot of potential trade. With mobile technology these days it is possible to check your webmail on the go, so if you are eBaying part time, your 10 minute tea break at work could convert you a few sales. We are all short of time these days and we want things NOW! So a swift response to your customer’s queries is essential.
4. Terms and Conditions
I never buy from an eBayer who has a list of terms and conditions longer than the page! When you have to wade through numerous rules and regulations stating exactly where and when you must do things, how different postage combinations will work and complicated returns policies, it just starts to become too much trouble. Yes, have a list of terms and conditions so people know exactly what to expect from you, but make it as short and simple as possible so again, you are not requiring work from your customer in order for them to buy.
5. Don’t treat the 99% like the 1%
Yes, there are crooks on eBay just like everywhere else. But if you treat your customers like they are all a potential crook you are going to put them off. Aggressive returns policies, refusal to post until a cheque for £2 has cleared (sending out unique items before a cheque has cleared would obviously not be advisable!) and huge terms and conditions as said above, all create an atmosphere of doubt. If you are selling low priced items that you have plenty of, give people a chance. You might lose the odd item to someone of dubious morality (we have) but if that keeps the other 99% of honest eBayers happy and buying from you again and again because they know you trust them, have you really lost money?
People like a comfort blanket. If you are 50/50 on buying an item and someone says to you “Tell you what, take it away, have a good look over it and decide if it really is the thing you want. If not, bring it back within 14 days and I’ll give you every last penny back” you’d be more inclined to take it away. If you are confident in the products you sell then you should be safe in the knowledge that 99% of people will keep them. And if they return them, what have you lost? (A bit of postage actually, but that goes back to the point above – if it means hundreds more people buy from you because they feel safer then you’re still in profit!)
This is probably too obvious, but when you get an e-mail from somebody that contains lots of spelling mistakes I think that says a lot about the care with which the person is treating your enquiry. It goes back to the “get rid of this person as soon as possible so I can get on and make some money” mentality, when you don’t quite grasp where that money is coming from. Check over what you send out – it could be the difference in making a sale.
Customers can’t see your face to see how happy you are they are buying from you and how glad you are you could make their day by selling them something they really need. Therefore, you need to get this across in your e-mails. When you have finished writing an e-mail to a customer, leave it for 2 minutes while you do something else and then re-read it before you send it. This way you can ensure it conveys the message you mean to send rather than a cold calculated response to their query. I love nothing better than fulfilling my customers needs and I want them to know that, so I try to ensure all messages convey that message to them.
Well, that’s the 8 Golden Rules I live by when selling and so far it has worked for me. I’m sure there are many more, and possibly some that you don’t agree with, but as I said, it’s my opinion and you are free to forget as much of it as you want.
I really hope that you have found some of it useful though and if it means even one person on eBay gaining something then I have succeeded in giving something back. Thanks for reading and please feel free to contact me with any points/questions you might have.