Can you afford to get kicked off of eBay? Getting suspended would be a nightmare for many eBay sellers who rely on this marketplace. Managing your eBay feedback score is one of the most important parts of your job as a seller. Let’s dig into the in’s and out’s — and the do’s and don’ts — of eBay Feedback.
eBay Feedback Overview
Your Feedback score is one of the most important pieces of your seller profile.
Customers can leave positive, neutral, or negative Feedback scores for sellers on the eBay site. They leave ratings for each sale, not the seller specifically. Usually, the scores are also coupled with detailed comments about the particular experience. eBay combines the scores for each sale to make an overall Feedback score, which is a permanent part of a seller’s record.
Understanding the System
Next to your seller username, you’ll find a number and a color-coded star.
The number refers to your net total score. For example, if you’ve received 7 positive scores, 1 neutral score, and 2 negative scores, your Feedback score would be 5. The color-coding reflects the volume of Feedback. For example, sellers with a rating between 10 and 49 will have a yellow star next to their usernames. There are 12 total levels of stars. eBay also provides a Feedback percentage, which is calculated by dividing the number of positive ratings by total number of ratings.
Customers can also leave detailed ratings and comments about specific aspects of the experience, including:
- Item as described
- Shipping time
- Shipping and handling charges
These ratings don’t count toward the official Feedback score, but will appear on your seller profile.
The Importance of Feedback
Maintaining a near-perfect 99% score will help you achieve the seller performance standards eBay demands. Fail to meet those standards, and you may be subject to account restrictions, suspensions, or even removal. Even if eBay doesn’t suspend you for dropping below the threshold, buyers are less likely to purchase from sellers with low Feedback scores, which could seriously impact your conversion rates and sales.
eBay Feedback Management Tips
So, how do you manage Feedback to avoid losing sales? Start by understanding how to take action. Find negative ratings within the Feedback Forum and take action from there. eBay provides great information on their All about Feedback page.
Once you’ve identified negative ratings, there are a few steps you can take to try to turn the experience around:
- Contact the customer privately and work together to resolve the issue. You can do this by clicking “Contact member” from the buyer’s profile. Speaking with the customer privately will put you on the road to getting the negative Feedback taken down. See our general customer service tips below for advice on how to talk to your customers with a strong, cooperative, and understanding voice.
- Ask the buyer to revise the Feedback he/she left. Once you and your buyer have come to a resolution, don’t be afraid to ask for a Feedback revision. This will remove the negative rating from your record, which could make a difference in your overall Feedback percentage. Your customer can also leave follow-up Feedback to describe how you resolved the situation.
- Tell your side of the story by replying to Feedback. In the event that you and your customer do not come to an agreement, you can leave a public reply to their rating and comment. This can help other buyers understand what you did to try to resolve the situation.
- Request that eBay remove the negative Feedback, if applicable. There are a few circumstances in which eBay will remove negative feedback, such as:
- The customer is violating eBay’s Abusive Buyer Policy
- The Feedback was a result of an eBay site error
- The buyer hasn’t fully paid for the item in question.
General Customer Service Tips
Whether you’re contacting customers privately or replying to complaints publicly, there are a few things to keep in mind to help ensure a positive experience:
- Respond quickly. Responding on the same day, even if it’s after-hours, shows the customer and other current and potential customers that you really care.
- Budget time to respond to customers. Don’t treat addressing Feedback like a secondary concern or optional activity. Set aside specific time every day to review and respond to all complaints.
- Be empathetic and respectful. When dealing with a complaint, try your best to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Make it clear that you hear their concern and want to fix it. Do not get angry, blame the customer and act dismissive.
- Acknowledge the issue and address it directly. Make sure to acknowledge the customer’s specific complaint and lay out how you can help. A reply focused on the customer’s specific issue will show him/her that you understand their pain points.
- Strive to solve the problem. Get as much information from the customer as possible so that you’re equipped to find a solution. Before you propose a fix, ask yourself, “will this really put my customer at ease?” Don’t be afraid to offer a refund if it’s warranted — it may mean a loss of money for you now, but it could also mean a happy, and potentially repeat, customer later.
- Take conversations offline. Public responses are a great way to show other buyers that you listen to your customers and take action. However, when getting into the details of a customer’s order, take the conversation to a private mode of communication to agree on a resolution.
Most of all, take time to study the eBay Feedback system. Follow the eBay-specific tips to resolve negative ratings, and keep customer service in mind when you’re communicating with an unhappy buyer. The more prepared you are, the less likely you are to lose sales.
Have your own customer service stories to share? Want to recommend additional resources for mastering eBay Feedback? Post them in the comments below!