Providing Excellent Customer Service

In This Chapter

^ Making a good first impression ^ Describing items effectively ^ Writing the perfect e-mail tf rn he customer is always right' may be an old adage, but if you want your m business to thrive on eBay, you need to take a leaf out of this book.

While not always right, the customer is your primary concern - and you must treat them thus. Businesses become successful by providing fantastic customer service and selling quality products. You are no different. The image that you project through your e-mails and ads shows bidders whether you are a good guy or a bad guy. Your e-mails should be polite and professional. Your ads shouldn't make prospective buyers feel like you're hustling them, sneaking in hidden fees, or being pushy with unnecessary bidding.

You don't have to have the most beautiful auctions to succeed on eBay. You need products that sell, and you must take the time to build good customer relations! In this chapter, we cover some ways - from writing effective auction descriptions to sending cordial e-mails - to let your customers know that they're number one in your book.

Providing a Homely Touch eBay is a person-to-person marketplace. Although many sellers are businesses (like you), the perception is that sellers on eBay are individuals (as opposed to businesses) earning a living. The home-grown personal approach goes a long way to making you a successful eBay seller. One of the reasons many buyers come to eBay is that they want to support the individuals who had the get-up-and-go to start their own small businesses on the site.

After you write a catchy title for your auction (check out Chapter 10 for advice on how to do this), prospective buyers click your listing and scroll down to your description. Do they have to wade through pointless verbiage, losing interest along the way? Or do you get right down to business and state the facts about your item?

Here are a few things to remember when writing your auction description:

^ Write a factual description. Do you carefully describe the item, stating every fact you know about it? Are you clear in your description and careful not to use any jargon? Does it answer all glaring questions a potential buyer may ask? If not, do some revising.

^ Include some friendly banter. You want to make the customer feel comfortable shopping with you. Don't be afraid to let your personality show!

^ Update your 'My eBay' page. Let people know a little about you and who they're dealing with. When customers have to decide between two sellers offering the same item and all else is equal, they typically place their bid with the seller who makes them feel secure.

^ Limit the number of auction rules (or terms of sale). Some sellers include a list of rules that's longer than the item's description. Nothing turns off a prospective buyer like paragraph after paragraph of rules and regulations. If you really must put in a litany of rules, do not use capital letters and apply the following bit of HTML to make the size of the text smaller: <font size=-1>

^ Choose a reasonable typeface size. Many users are still looking at eBay on an 800 x 600 display. If you design your auctions at 1024 x 768, your typefaces may be too large for the average user. Forcing users to scroll and scroll to find the details only frustrates them.

^ Quote the shipping charge. Many bidders pass up auctions that don't disclose the delivery costs. Make use of eBay's shipping calculator to give your customers an idea of the shipping costs. If many others are selling the same item you're selling, quoting reasonable shipping costs will help you reel in buyers.

Overcharge on shipping is just wrong. eBay buyers expect that you pad up to a pound for packing and shipping costs, but adding more than that can make you look like you're trying to squeeze every last penny out of your bidder . . . not a good feeling when you're on the receiving end!

^ Keep photos a practical size. A large proportion of users still use a dial-up Internet connection, and if they have to wait for your large pictures to load, they may go elsewhere for the item. If your listing doesn't fully open within a few seconds, the person may back out and go on to another listing.

Telling your story

Being honest and forthright encourages customers to consider your offerings on eBay. Also, if you go the extra mile and give some bonus information, the customer may feel more at ease.

An excellent example comes from a PowerSeller, John Rickmon of e.vehicles. He always throws in a few special touches to draw in the customer. As you may gather by his user ID, John sells vehicles on eBay - and does very well out of it!

John posts his business philosophy at the end of his auctions; here's part of it:

My dealership is entirely focused on the sales of vehicles via the eBay format. I make all purchasing and sales decisions and am 100% responsible for the content of my auctions, including all text and photography.

I personally answer every e-mail and conduct all business regarding the sale of this vehicle.

I buy and list approximately 10-15 units per month; I look at hundreds of vehicles each week that do not cut the mustard.

This is my living. I do this full time. I do not have a showroom. eBay has been my dealership for years, and all operations are focused towards bringing you the best vehicle possible at the best price you will find. I am committed to this format and take your vehicle purchase very seriously You are dealing with a secure seller

Would you by a used car from this man? We think so!

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