Ah, the joys of being graded by your peers, complete strangers who you have never met, yet have an insanely disproportionate impact on the success of your eBay business! Most people assume that this is only due to one thing: social proof, whose effect on retail has skyrocketed on eCommerce since the advent of social media.
In fact, according to Dixa, 88% of all consumers trust online reviews just as much or more than they do reviews from friends, family or acquaintances.
The other reason feedback on eBay is of such importance has to do with the fact that Cassini, eBay’s search algorithm uses buyer feedback as a key indicator when deciding which items to rank first in results. As an eBay seller, your number one goal needs to be scoring as close to 100% as you possibly can. The reason is as much related to search results as it is the chunk of business you receive in proportion to your eBay feedback score.
In fact, eBay sellers in the top 1% (i.e. with a score above 99, otherwise known as ‘Top-Rated’) get between 30-50% of all shopping traffic according to CrazyLister.
How does eBay feedback work?
Sellers are ranked based on four categories which are filled out by buyers on a scale of one to five stars. This ranking system is called DSR, or Detailed Seller Ratings, which is comprised of the following categories:
- Accuracy of description – It is super important to accurately describe an item’s condition (new/used) as well as provide pictures of the item itself. If the item is new and you write as much, there is no reason you should not get five stars. If it is used and you provide internet-sourced stock images and write that it’s new, you will probably get one star. Honesty is the best policy here.
- Level of communication – Customers in today’s instant economy expect quick answers to queries. Additionally, you want to ensure you keep customers informed at all stages of the sales process. Consider using a tool that automates your customer service cycle or free customer support templates in order to accomplish this. The better and quicker your level of communication with a customer, the higher the rating you will receive.
- Shipping & handling time – This refers to how long it takes you to get an item from your home or warehouse to the post office, UPS, FedEx or the likes. Additionally, this factors in how long it takes for an item to reach the buyer. If you brought in an item a minute after an order was made, but the post office is inefficient, your seller account will be penalized. That is why I recommend you look up median shipping times to your customer’s destination and always add a day for good measure in order to avoid disappointment. Additionally, consider ‘wowing’ customers by upgrading repeat customers to overnight shipping is sure to get you five stars, hands down.
- Shipping & packaging costs – Make sure your shipping and packaging policies and price sheet are up-to-date. There is nothing worse than listing the wrong prices, which leads a shopper to think an item will cost ‘A’ when in fact it costs ‘A+X’ (i.e. more than originally anticipated). A great, simple and well-known seller hack in this context is offering ‘free shipping.’ common practice is to calculate the shipping and handling costs to include them in the item’s price and simply write ‘free shipping’.
How to respond to feedback on eBay
When receiving negative feedback, most sellers go bonkers and lose their cool and then act on impulse. There is nothing worse than being an impulsive, hot-headed seller. It will bring you that much closer to a suspension, and that is the last thing you want.
When it comes to positive feedback, sellers also typically don’t know how to handle themselves. They are usually smug and don’t bother showing the buyer their appreciation. Always remember that reciprocity is the name of the game.
Let’s talk about how you should be responding in either case scenario.
How to respond to negative feedback on eBay
- Actually respond – Many sellers see a negative review, accept it whilst gritting their teeth and move on. Yet, being passive in the face of an accusation is paramount to admitting guilt over whatever you are being accused of. But before we get into this, first and foremostly you need to always swallow your pride and apologize. Remember that this is not personal; it is a business transaction, so do not involve emotions. Once you have apologized, seriously consider their claim. If they are mistaken, explain why their claim is faulty so a potential future buyer can read your side of the story. If they are correct, see how you can rectify this and then ask for a ‘feedback revision’ (more on this in a bit).
- Discontinue problematic items – Just like there is always the ‘problem child’ in a family, so too there are always those one or two products that tend to cause problems and generate negative feedback. Problematic children need to be helped by their family and parents, but problematic items should be gotten rid of. Simply stop carrying items which are ruining your street cred!
- Pull yourself together – If you are receiving a lot of negative feedback, it is time to own up to your shortcomings and take action. One misguided buyer is possible, but 10 is no longer a coincidence. Use feedback as a tool to isolate and root out your core issues. Is it your responsiveness? The quality of your product? The answers are in the feedback you receive!
How to respond to positive feedback on eBay
- Respond and say thanks – As I mentioned above, sellers tend to take positive feedback for granted. Instead, take a hands-on approach and personally thank each and every buyer who leaves you positive feedback. This will not only reflect positively on potential future buyers, but also encourage a previous buyer to become a loyal customer.
- Use it as social proof – Leverage your positive feedback by asking happy customers to take pictures of themselves using your product and including these as product images (with the buyer’s permission, of course). Don’t forget to mention that this is a real customer in the picture. You can also quote a sentence from a really positive review in your listing itself with a shout out to the buyer who left it (get permission from them ahead of time, too).
- Target similar sellers – Similar to what I said earlier about getting rid of problematic items, you want to attract more of a good thing. So, if you see that all your positive reviews are from single women in their 30s and 40s who you managed to drive to your listing from Instagram, then try to continue targeting that target audience.
How to change feedback on eBay
Every seller’s worst nightmare is receiving negative feedback which besmirches their name for eternity on one of the world’s largest eCommerce marketplaces. Many sellers feel helpless in this regard and truly believe that there is nothing in their power that they can do to change their fate. But this is both a common and also false misconception.
How to remove negative feedback on eBay
Here are my top tips on how to get that ever so irksome negative feedback removed once and for all from eBay:
- Ask eBay to remove it – eBay has rules, and if a customer violates these rules, then you are well within your rights to request that eBay do its due diligence and remove it for you. Check out eBay’s Profanity Policy, which disallows, among other things:
- The divulgence of personal seller information by a buyer in a review.
- Feedback which can be perceived as abusive.
- The use of profanity.
- Ask for a feedback revision – These are surprisingly wildly unknown by sellers, and it is a real shame since a buyer can actually revise their feedback. I suggest you read negative feedback as it rolls in, reach out to your customer with a solution (rebate, credit, future discount, etc.) and then politely ask for a feedback revision. You may just be surprised.
- Take a preemptive approach – When following up with a client post-purchase (more on this below), ask them to let you know if anything is wrong. It is in this way that you can neutralize any negative experience before it even transpires. Not only that, but I know of many buyers who have gotten rave reviews with a preemptive approach, as it shows how much you care about the buyer’s well-being and satisfaction.
How to encourage buyers to leave positive feedback
Many buyers are unaware of the trials and tribulations most sellers endure. They buy a product, everything is fantastic and half the time you never get a positive review. Of course, as we discussed earlier, people always make sure to let you know when something is wrong. That’s human nature, I guess. But just because most people tend to be vocal when something is wrong and not when something is right, does not mean you need to suffer the consequences. Not at all! Instead, you need to take a proactive approach. Here’s how:
- Automated feedback reminder by eBay – Many sellers don’t know this, but eBay actually has a built-in automated feedback reminder. Head on over to Automatic Feedback Settings to set this feature up:
The downside of eBay automated feedback reminders is that it is an automated message sent one month after the purchase. But what if you want to tailor your message, timing, as well as the quantity of feedback messages sent? Enter, Subivi eCommerce CRM.
- CRM or Customer Relationship Management software – From the day an eBay transaction transpires, eBay allots a 90-day period in which a buyer can leave feedback. After that, it is no longer possible. That is why you want to do your utmost to encourage buyers to leave you feedback as soon as possible. One tool which can really help with this is a CRM, which allows you to set up automated feedback reminders which can be tailored in terms of:
- When the request is sent out.
- The content of the message.
- The number of messages sent.
- Actively ask for it – What better way to get what you want in life than simply by asking for it!? Sounds simplistic, I know! But guess what? It actually works! I actually wrote an entire post, which I mentioned above, that gives you 6 free customer service templates. Here is one of them:
First off, you want to ensure the customer is happy with the product because if not then you are in for a bad rating and review. Always offer to do your best to rectify any issue they might be having instead of simply just asking for feedback. This opens up direct communication between you and the buyer instead of the buyer trying to publicly exact revenge on you for something that went wrong and that you may have never even been aware of.
Seller tip: Consider including a small free gift with every purchase or discount coupons which may subconsciously leave the buyer with a positive feeling and thus be more inclined to rate you favorably.
Over to you
Now that I put eBay feedback into perspective for you,it is really totally up to you how you handle it. The most important thing to remember, in my opinion, is that you always need to maintain a positive approach to your customers, as your business exists to serve them and not vice-versa. Always look at how you can improve and respond to feedback of any kind, which is part and parcel of the most fundamental aspect of customer success: COMMUNICATION.
Please post a screenshot of feedback you received on eBay (positive or negative) and how you handled it.
Thanks, as always, for reading! 🙂