Just lately I have realised that I have an excellent feedback history compared to some Ebayers, so I thought I'd share some of my secrets with you all! Actually it's not really that mysterious, a lot of it is just good manners and common sense.
Here are the basic rules:
1) Provide an accurate description of the item together with a clear photograph. This avoids customer disappointment!
2) Answer any questions as soon as possible in a thorough and helpful manner. (Providing an accurate description should reduce the number of questions you receive but there will always be something you forget to mention!)
3) Know how much postage will be before you list an item! This is very easy. All you need is some digital kitchen scales and the Royal Mail website! Make sure when you weigh your item that you allow for the weight of the packaging itself and anything else that you may be including in the parcel (see point 6). Try not to charge more than the actual postage costs. It may be tempting to add an extra 50p to cover packaging but remember that your customers receive the parcel with a sticker or stamps on it allowing them to see how much the parcel cost to post! If they have paid more than this amount they will be disappointed! Try re-using packaging materials to keep costs down and if you really feel that you have to charge for packaging as well as postage then add the extra into the cost of the item.
4) Maintain good communications with customers. Send a friendly email thanking your customer for payment and let them know when (and how, ie; first class, recorded, courier etc) the item will be dispatched. This simple act of acknowlegement helps to put buyers at ease especially if they are new to ebay or have never bought from you before.
5) Package goods carefully and appropriately, making sure that any fragile items are well protected and labelled "Fragile". Don't assume that the Postal services handle parcels carefully. They don't!
6) Include either the Paypal packing slip or a printer friendly copy of the ebay "order details" in your parcel along with any promotional flyers. Make sure all of your contact details are on there! Email address, eBay ID and Shop name (if you have one). As a bonus, I always like to include a little gift in my parcels, such as an individually wrapped chocolate or sweet!
7) Finally, allow returns! If you are operating a buisiness then legally you MUST allow returns anyway! (Visit the Buisness Link website for more about the "distance selling" regulations). Even if you are a private seller off loading the out-grown contents of your child's wardrobe you should still offer a returns policy. I do find that if you have adhered to all the above rules you are less likely to have items returned to you anyway and you will attract more buyers/ bidders if they know they can return an item. I have been selling on ebay for 4 years and in that time I think I have only had a handful of returns and nearly all of them were due to postal damage out of my control! It is generally accepted as good practice to replace items lost or damaged in the post and remember, if a customer is being awkward then it really isn't the end of the world if you have to offer a refund. You will come across awkward customers but remind yourself that they are the minority and that most of your sales will be straightforward. Bite your lip and deal with them politely, they may still leave you positive feedback for other aspects of the transaction even if they weren't happy with the goods!
That's it really. Just be nice and everyone will be nice back!