A short guide that may help you avoid problems and negatives..
I will start with a rule: If a package arrives broken or damaged the buyer will 99/100 initially blame you and your packaging.
Now this is mostly unfair as it is normally the "fault" of the carrier but the buyer knows you and your name and not the name of the bloke who threw a 11 kilo post sack on top of you parcel. Accept that your packaging always gets the blame and deal with it.
It is best to always reply with a praise sandwich - you know good stuff - bad stuff - good stuff etc. Start by saying that you can appreciate how they feel and that you are sorry that the item was damaged.. Then explain that you packed the item well and that your feedback will demonstrate this. Maybe other similar items arrived ok that day/week. Gently remind them that once the item leaves your care then it is at the mercy of the carrier. End always by actively suggesting a way forward - it may be a claim with Royal Mail, it may be a replacement or a refund of sorts or it may be none of the above but lead the way to the next step. I would end with a "does that sound fair?" type ending - if you always leave them thinking they have the high ground you won't go too far wrong.
If you buy something and it arrives broken then same thing kind of applies. Saying to a seller: "thanks for sending the book so quickly, unfortunately it arrived with no cover and the packaging was torn, is there anything that you can do?" is going to get a lot more results than " the book arrived in bits due to your poor wrapping..what are you going to do about it.."
Try to speak in real language and do not default into so called "corporate speak" - ie "i write with reference to" - Ebay's advantage is that it is not the world of faceless corporations but real people speaking to real people so speak in emails as you would face to face.
Be polite at all times, avoid any insult, try as best you can to turn the tables and imagine how you would feel if you were in their shoes (that is a cliche but really is helpful). If you get a negative don't immediately retaliate - if it is unfair then try and get them to withdraw it (this works well when new Ebayers use the feedback system to post a message that they should have sent by email - "item arrived broken"). Try and always rise above the situation and keep calm, give yourself the night to sleep on it if you get a rude and silly email.
Good customer service is not taking it in the neck from all and sundry but being smart, keeping the perceived balance in favour of the customer, knowing your next move, steering transactions the way you want them to and - at times - swallowing pride and looking at the big picture. Rather than spend ages with a crazy who wants to argue, let them win, move on and spend the time making new customers.
Always remember.. to know an Ebayer you have to walk a mile in their shoes. That way you will be a mile away from them and you will have their shoes (which you can sell).!
Good luck and stay in the good zone.
How to deal with COMPLAINTS
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19 October 2006
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