Feedback is everything on Ebay. It is the only way of checking whether a seller is trustworthy and reliable. Here are some tips on how to achieve that elusive 100% rating as a seller.
Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed
Not only are you striving to keep your customers happy but you must make them feel that they have got a really good bargain and have received excellent service in the process. You need to impress them with your friendliness, prompt service and politeness so much so that as soon as they have received the item in the post, they feel they must get straight onto the computer to leave you some excellent positive comments.
Your Listing & Description
The advert is everything. Here you will describe the item to the best of your ability. The more accurate your listing, the less time wasted in answering questions from potential buyers. You must include measurements, condition, flaws, age, and most importantly, lots of photos. If the item is not very valuable, then one or two photos will suffice, but the more valuable the item, the more photos should be included. If you have no photos at all, then you are wasting your time, as buyers always like to see proof that you have the actual item in your possession. Try not to use catalogue photographs - buyers prefer to see the actual item that you have photographed. If there are flaws or faults, then a close-up photo does help as you must give the buyer an accurate description. At the end of my listing, I always state that I will give a full refund within 7 days if the buyer is not happy and a statement like this always helps the potential buyer to feel more comfortable dealing with you.
Payment & Postage Options
Always offer as many payment options as possible as this will increase your customer potential. Paypal is a must if you want lots of customers and it also means you can sell to anywhere in the world as long as you are prepared to post your items there. It helps to accept cheques, postal orders and cash but you will find nearly everyone now uses paypal as it ensures quick delivery (and also added insurance).
As long as the items are light, be prepared to post worldwide. You can get a list of postage prices from the Post Office and work out the postage costs in advance so you can publish them on your listing. Many of my buyers are now worldwide.
Make sure you mention that you will combine items if a buyer wins more than one auction - this always encourages potential buyers to look at your other items.
Give a small discount for buying more than one item from you - I discount 20p for every additional item bought.
Answer Questions as soon as possible
If you do get any questions from potential buyers, answer them quickly and politely. If the answer will help others, then publish the question and answer for others to see - this will also make your item look more popular. If someone asks you a fairly obvious question that you feel is unneccessary, send a POLITE REPLY back, giving them the information they need - NEVER BE SARCASTIC.
Become a member. This organisation recognises fair sellers and policies. You will receive an automatic logo on your adverts and this always helps to impress buyers that you are trustworthy if a transaction goes wrong.
Postage & Packing Costs
This is a big decision maker to many buyers when they have a choice of several similar items. Most will usually always pick the buyer with the cheapest postage and most buyers will not be interested if you include extra charges for packaging and handling costs. I never charge for packaging as I buy it in bulk and absorb the costs within my profits. USE BRAND NEW PACKAGING as this always impresses the customer and shop around for the lightest packaging as this will save you money.
I always publish my postage prices within my description which makes it easier for the customer to see and I always give the customer a choice of 1st, 2nd or Recorded Post. My postage prices are exact and I never try to make a profit from postage. THIS NEVER CEASES TO IMPRESS - POSTAGE COSTS ARE A BIG INFLUENCE ON EBAY !! I always advertise the 2nd class price first on the listing as this is the cheapest and most customers choose 2nd class anyway to keep costs down! For overseas buyers, I publish airmail and surface mail prices which is especially useful for heavy items such as books.
The End of the Auction
I have two automated emails set up at the end of an auction. One is from Square trade which thanks the customer for choosing my item and assures them that they will receive a high quality service. The other email is from paypal which invoices my buyers immediately. It gives clear instructions on how to pay and a choice of postage options. Most of my buyers pay via paypal within 1 day of the end of auction, without me having to lift a finger as all the details they need are in front of them. If you receive any queries from buyers, try to answer them within 1 day of the auction so that they can send payment as quickly as possible. The quicker the process, the better your feedback will be!
Enclose Compliment Slips or Business Cards in your parcel
These add to the personal touch and I print my own out on the computer. Not only does it look more professional but it also gives the buyer an immediate reference to your Ebay listings and contact details so that they can look at your other listings or pass your details onto a friend. I always add a small hand-written message to say thankyou for shopping with me.
Posting your items
I try to post all my parcels within 24 hours of payment. This ensures that the buyer receives a very quick service and THIS IS ANOTHER GOOD WAY TO IMPRESS. Sellers who only visit the post office one day a week can be very frustrating.
Wrap your parcels very carefully and take your time to make sure no parcels go to the wrong address! I never do parcels late at night in case I make a mistake as errors can be very costly! Use NEW PACKAGING and ensure the items are well protected.
Extra touches always help if you have a bit of time. I sell a lot of books, and I wrap them in coloured kraft roll before placing in a bubble-lite envelope. This makes the books look more appealing and expensive. Obviously you have to be sensible about the time you spend packaging but as a general rule, the more expensive the item, then the more care should be taken in wrapping.
If you are sending an expensive parcel and the buyer has chosen not to pay for insurance, then I would pay for the insurance anyway, just in case the parcel goes astray - otherwise you could end up out of pocket!
ALWAYS GET A CERTIFICATE OF POSTING OR RECEIPT
I have only ever had to deal with two missing parcels in 3 years of selling on Ebay. Generally, Royal Mail is very reliable but Surface Mail sometimes does go astray. If a buyer contacts you about a missing parcel, always investigate the matter for them and try to track the parcel down yourself. Do not leave it up to them - you have the certificate of posting, so you must do the donkey work! I usually wait a few more days and then give a full refund to the customer, whilst claiming the money back from the Post Office. All parcels are automatically insured for up to £25.
I always leave feedback for my customers as soon as they have paid me, and I always use the positive box in the hope that they will do the same for me. I give everyone a different comment and if they have bought more than one item, I leave different comments for each item. This adds to the personal touch. Never email buyers to remind them that they have not left you feedback - this just annoys people. If you have followed the tips above then you should not be short of positive feedback!
If you have an unhappy customer, then DO EVERYTHING TO PLEASE THEM.
THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT if you want to maintain your excellent feedback. Always offer a full refund on safe return of the item or come to a suitable arrangement that apeases the buyer. If the buyer feels the description was not accurate but wants to keep the item, then give a part-refund.
NEVER LEAVE NEGATIVE FEEDBACK FOR A BUYER WHO DOESN'T PAY. Do everything in your power to contact them and then leave it up to Ebay and the non-paying bidder programme. It is not worth risking your own feedback for as they could leave negative feedback for you in response.
AND FINALLY.... A lot does depend on what you sell and the type of person who generally buys your items. Know your market, have a passion for what you sell and try not to be a "Jack of all trades". The more knowledge you have about your items, the better, and specialise in one or two areas.
HONESTY IS EVERYTHING.