What have you done lately or in the past to really wow your customers?
There are no doubts that we all like to be treated well whenever we spend our hard earned money to purchase products or services. It’s not so much the actual product or services themselves, but rather how it will make us feel after paying for them that will determine our emotions attached to the buying experience. It doesn’t matter if it was a purchase at the mall or an online purchase; we all want to feel good about spending our money.
How you treat your customers will say a lot about your online eBay business. Quite often, some Sellers think they don’t have to provide exceptions customer service just because there are no face to face interactions. The reality is that, since it is online with no face to face interactions, providing exceptional customer service is even more critical because it may break or make your business on eBay a success.
If you agree that as a customer, you would like to be treated with exceptional customer service, in the event something should go wrong with your purchase. Then as a Seller, you should provide that exceptional service when your customers do have concerns. It’s as simple as that.
I personally had two separate experiences I’d like to share with you that will illustrate the difference between exceptional customer service and poor customer service.
A few months ago, I ordered three items from a well known stationary store online. The items arrived quickly but one item I’d order was not suitable for me. It cost $39.99. I contacted their customer service by telephone and explain that I would like to return the item for a refund. The representative told me he will immediately issue the refund back to my credit card and then said I could just give the item away or have it recycled. I was totally blown away! I did not expect to hear that from the rep. I only wanted to have the authorization to return it for a refund. I’ve shared this experience with many of my friends and business associates because it was truly an exceptional surprise and delight moment.
An opposite example would be when a friend of mine and I wanted to have lunch at a local ‘all you can eat’ restaurant. It was 11:45am and my friend wasn’t too hungry, so he wasn’t interested in the ‘all you can eat’ lunch, but I was. However, we were told that we would be charged for the price of two, even though my friend didn’t want to eat and just wanted something small. We asked to speak with the manager, who told us because “people cheat”, we would have to pay for the price of two or sit separately. So, here’s a situation where the restaurant had bad experiences with dishonest customers in the past for eating food that they didn’t pay for. They decided that all customers may be bad and have this really negative policy in place to protect themselves from being scammed again. That’s understandable. But, from an honest customers’ perspective, we were labeled as bad and we did not appreciate it. So, we took our business elsewhere. The last time I was in that neighborhood, that restaurant is no longer in business.
It is so easy to separate good best practices with the bad. Clearly, as a customer, you know which experience you would like to have each time you spend your money.
Here are some simple suggestions for providing exceptional customer service with your eBay business:
- Provide clear return or refund policy on your listing. Customers like to feel comfortable with you when they are purchasing online because after all, they are purchasing from a stranger and having a reasonable return policy gives the customer the confidence to make their purchase with you.
- Prompt and fast responses to your customers’ questions for concerns. Whenever possible, provide your telephone number with your emails so that your customers know they can reach you if necessary.
- Have clear, simple Terms and Conditions. Do not include anything negative or have too much information. Never include stories of negative experience that you’ve had with another customer.
- Ship your items out as soon as possible and provide tracking information or send a short email to let your customers know that their item is on its way.
- Respond to neutral or negative feedback with positive replies. Your response will speak louder than the customers’ negative comment because this is your only opportunity to tell your side of the story in a public forum. If you’re negative or accusatory, you will come across as unprofessional and will only hurt your business in the long run. However, if you are positive, potential customers reading your comment will understand your side, instead of the negative comment.
- Leave positive feedback for your paid customers as soon as possible. This shows that you are professional and likes to treat your customers with respect by thanking them for their business.
These days, we all have many options as to where or whom we want to spend our money on. Don’t be like the restaurant that assumes everyone is out to scam you. Instead focus on the small, positive things that your customers will appreciate and it will help you grow your business and stay competitive.
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