Tip #7 - Talk, talk, talk to the buyer
Even if you have bad news, it's better to tell the buyer than to keep them in suspense.
Backordered? Let them know you're backordered, and give them an ETA on when their order might be shipped out. If you miss the ETA, be sure to update the buyer. You can also throw in a freebie or reduced (or free) shipping to keep them happy.
Tip #8. Respond to emails and messages quickly
Check your eBay messages, and respond as quickly as possible. Even if you don't know the answer immediately, or you have bad news, it's better to give a quick reply.
Worst case, you can just say "I got your message, I'm looking into it, expect to hear back in a few days." Your buyer will appreciate the reply.
It is ten times better (from the buyer's point of view) to know about bad news than to get no response at all. Don't you hate it when you send out an email and the recipient never responds? You know it's infuriating, so make sure your buyers never feel that way about you.
Tip #9. Include a nice letter in your shipment
Let the buyer know that you will work to resolve any problems they have. Encourage them to contact you first if they have any problems or questions. Be sure to include your customer service phone number or email address.
The idea is to show the buyer that...
- they're dealing with a real person, and
- to give them an easy way to work out a problem (instead of using the feedback form).
Tip #10 - Ask for feedback, both to eBay and to you
Instead of fearing your buyer's feedback (a sign that you're doing something wrong), welcome and encourage even more feedback. Show that you really care about having happy customers, and your existing customers will appreciate it. They will even forgive small mistakes.
For example, you could include a self-addressed, stamped feedback postcard in every shipment. Or you could run a survey asking for help to improve your business. (SurveyMonkey.com is a good, free and low-cost Web based survey service.) Link to it from all your eBay listings and/or in emails to buyers.
These calls for feedback above and beyond the eBay feedback system shows that you really care about providing good customer service. And that leads to building buyer trust in your business.
Tip #11. Talk to the buyer before unilaterally cancelling unpaid items
When a buyer commits to buying one of your eBay products, that transaction counts. That means both you and the buyer can leave feedback for each other, and you are charged the Final Value Fee for the purchase.
If the buyer never pays, however, you can get your fees refunded by eBay by filing an Unpaid Item Dispute. But don't just file it without talking to the buyer first! Contact the buyer and mutually agree to cancel the transaction. Only for completely unresponsive buyers (say, after 3 attempts to contact them) should you pursue the Unpaid Item Dispute course.
You don't want to incur a retaliatory negative feedback from the buyer without first trying to contact them.
Tip #12. Always use a shipment tracking number
Buyers want information. They want to know the status of their shipments.
UPS shipments track packages door-to-door. USPS uses a simpler system they call Delivery Confirmation. UPS provides more information, but it's more expensive as well.
Whichever shipping provider you choose, make sure you get a tracking number for shipments. More importantly, tell buyers what the tracking number is so they know when to expect their package.
Tip #13. Don't leave feedback until you've received positive feedback first
Even though sellers can no longer leave negative feedback for buyers, if you haven't left feedback yet, the buyer will be more willing to contact you first for any problems.
Buyers want positive feedback too. If you've already left positive feedback, then the buyer has absolutely zero incentive to be a little forgiving when giving you your seller ratings.