Making the Most of Your Good Reputation
In the online auction business, your reputation as a seller is determined mostly by the feedback buyers post after trading with you. Thus, protecting the good name of your business should be one of your highest priorities at all times.
According to a report from the Pan West e-Business Initiative: “Bad feedback can cost you money. Many eBay buyers will only purchase items from sellers who have a positive feedback rating of 98+%. The lower your rating, the less active bidding you should expect on your item. Further, a strong seller rating may have a 5% or more increase on price.”
To make the most of your good reputation:
Focus consistently on delivering high-quality customer service and fast shipping, even when an auction sale item brings in only a few dollars' profit or represents a net loss.
Remember that the customer is always right, even when she is wrong. However, try to provide information, in a very polite way, which may help the customer realize and understand her mistake. If possible, also offer at least a partial refund to reduce the likelihood of negative feedback.
Promptly post good feedback for buyers.
Follow up by e-mail to be sure they have received their shipment and are satisfied with their purchase.
Minimize encounters with troubled buyers who could hurt your feedback reputation. To do this, use the online auction site's buyer requirements feature. It can be set to block bids from buyers with negative feedback scores or strikes for unpaid items.
Avoid posting negative or neutral feedback unless necessary. Try dealing with an angry buyer directly to defuse and resolve a situation.
Buyers sometimes develop false expectations of an auction item as they look at its photographs and read its description. They mentally fill in some blanks and fail to ask enough questions. Then, when their expectations of an item don't match its real condition, they are angry with the seller for sending them “shoddy” or “damaged” merchandise. To minimize these incidents, concentrate on writing clear, accurate descriptions. Be sure your item photographs reveal the flaws as well as the positive features.
A constant focus on honesty and consistency will go a long way toward helping you make the best of your online reputation.