For over 10 years, I’ve bought and sold on Ebay. I often help friends and local businesses to get their items sold as well. With so many years of experience, you’re bound to have an unhappy customer every once in a while. Sometimes it’s your fault, but sometimes the circumstances are beyond your control. You can do everything right, but there will still be lost and damaged packages, super picky customers and misunderstandings. Whatever the case may be, here’s my step-by-step guide to keeping your buyer happy and getting 100% positive feedback.
How To Deal With An Unhappy Ebay Customer
Step 1: Listen to the customer.
Most problems start with a message from your buyer. This is THE most important part of the entire remediation process! Hear the buyer out, even if he is a complete jerk. It’s tough to swallow, especially in situations where you were blameless, but you must make the buyer feel validated and respected. If you described something as excellent condition and the buyer feels it’s in good condition, you will accomplish nothing by trying to prove him wrong. It’s fine to explain your position, but at the same time acknowledge his. I sold an item to a collector several months ago and he did not agree with my description (which I felt was accurate and well-researched). He told me in no uncertain terms that he over-payed. The first email I got was full of anger and disappointment. My response? I told him I highly valued his opinion as a collector and was very sorry that the toy did not meet his expectations. I acknowledged how disappointed he must have been with the item. He offered to send pictures to back up his statements, which I thanked him for. As soon as he understood that I was willing to see his side, he became very agreeable and courteous. In fact, he ended up leaving glowing feedback for me after the transaction.
Another fellow simply wanted to vent. I must have gotten 6 angry emails from this guy and it was only a $5.00 item! But he was mad and, as the seller, I couldn’t just ignore that. So I listened and listened some more. I did everything but hop on a plane and give him a big hug. He finally calmed down and even managed to thank me at the end. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Step 2: Ask the customer what he wants.
You might get a surprise here. Many sellers get so wrapped up in dealing with a complaint that they forget to ask a simple question: “What can I do to make this right?” I like putting it this way to my customers, “I want you to be happy with this transaction. Please let me know how I can do this.” You will be amazed at how this can diffuse a lot of negativity. Many buyers will be so touched at this gesture, they will simply say, “We can let it go. I just wanted you to be aware of the problem. Thanks for listening to my concerns.” Some will ask for a specific type of compensation, and others will leave it up to you.
Step 3: Fix it quickly.
If you’re sending a full or partial refund, don’t wait too long. If the buyer wants to mail the item back, acknowledge receipt the day it arrives and process the agreed upon compensation.
If you hate the idea of losing money by giving a refund, take heart. No seller likes it. But it’s one of the costs of doing business. As I said before, you may run into occasional problems even when your nose is clean. There are ways to be prepared for this. Purchase postal insurance. Price your items on Ebay to take into account ALL the costs of selling. Keep aside a small portion of your funds for remediation. If you don’t use the money, great! Let it roll over for next year.
Have you ever run into problems when selling on Ebay?