Assign Customer Service and Listing Management Functions

As soon as a listing is submitted, you begin a new phase in the life cycle of an eBay sale. Initially, you will begin to receive e-mails from prospective buyers and bidders inquiring about the item. Concurrently, you will need to handle

Figure 3-9: Set up an area where you can leave lighting, backgrounds, and other equipment in place for repeated use.

several potential issues with current or past listings, such as canceling a bid, whether to limit buyers and bidders for a listing, feedback concerns, canceling or ending a listing early, and dealing with unpaid items. Each situation can involve several hours and many e-mails, but to protect your eBay reputation, you need to invest the effort to try and reach equitable resolutions (Chapter 5 describes how to handle several issues you might have with buyers and ways to protect your eBay business). Customer service-related concerns and activities include:

• Assign personnel to ensure that someone is responsible for customer service issues and that such things aren't left to be handled on an ad hoc, random basis. Preferably that person will have the patience and tact to interact with potentially irate customers. As your volume increases, so will situations like "lost in the mail" packages, customers who want refunds (for any number of reasons), and other issues that will steal time from your duties. If you can designate a person to handle these issues, you will be freeing your time to facilitate sales.

Develop escalation procedures to ensure you have clear guidelines, preferably written, that inform employees on how to handle recurring issues (for example, when to grant return authorization to a buyer) and when to inform you or other final-decision makers when a delicate situation is brewing.

Schedule times to review inquiries. You cannot just get up in the morning and field the current e-mails in your inbox. Check your e-mail throughout the work day and also occasionally after hours, since eBay usage doesn't stop at 5 o'clock.

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