This article stems from a conversation I had with an eBay buyer I had on Saturday and after the call, it struck me… “Could the amount of eBay buyer contact actually be provoked by the sellers need to feel that they are giving ‘zealous’ customer service?”
In next few sections, I cover this realisation and perhaps have unearthed a new DSR that we could see in the forth coming months?
I had managed to keep away from the PC, iPad and phone for nearly all of Friday, although on Saturday I could not resist a few rounds of gaming. Mid game, I get a call from a buyer who was trying to contact the courier we use, so that she could collect her order for an night out that evening.
She proclaimed that
“I have already wasted 30 minutes trying to ring this damn courier”
And went off on a bender on how this courier (I’m not mentioning names as they all have lovers and haters) is crap and its a 30 minute drive to their depot and no-one is answering the phone.
Diplomatic me, suggested that they are probably not available as its a bank holiday and that I only have the same contact details she has from their website. That I would personally not suggest driving for an hour for an unknown and it might be a better idea that if its urgent for that evening, she would be better off shopping locally and we’d be more than happy to accept her return after the bank holiday when it finally arrives, so that her evening is not spoiled.
That was me being proactive (finding a viable resolution) and reactive (quashing the returns question and adding reassurance) to her needs.
Now This is Where the Penny Dropped
The conversation then digressed into a pivotal statement that complete re-adjusted my line of thought on eBay buyers and they’re incessant demands on sellers.
“I am an eBay seller myself she proclaimed”
And the continued with:
“This really isn’t on, I don’t care if its a bank holiday, I give my eBay buyers excellent service, it doesn’t matter if its a bank holiday, I still have to work”
I was a little dumb-struck by this and suggested my earlier suggestion of buying locally, as I’d hate for her to ruin a evening out, just for the contents of that order. She agreed and the call ended.
Dumb-Struck… What If…
I had not even considered this, what if the velocity (and verocity) of eBay buyer communications is not caused by the buyers fear of being ripped off?
This is a theory that I concluded a long time ago and ever since seen this in buyer to seller communications on eBay
What if this entire culture is actually being fostered by the sellers? Infact I’m sooo stupid not to have thought of this before. It is this, I did it myself.
To be absolutely clear, I fully understand the requirement of great customer service to a business, but the level of buyer to seller contact created on eBay is lubriciously high when compared to other channels.
If we look beyond the larger selling ID’s on eBay and focus on the macro (say 1-5 people) and micro businesses (1-2 people part time), then what are these business USP’s (Unique Selling Points)?
- Price, especially with the micro businesses being under the VAT threshold
- Quality of descriptions, images etc..
- Customer Service (email and through despatch etc…)
There are others too, but these are the main ones. In a marketplace that fosters the buyer to seller communication so heavily and the mix of buyer fear of being ripped off (caused by bad press sticking and a severe lack of good press, remember the WOM Factor? This also ports outside of eBay feedback too).
But… Fostered by all the micro and macro businesses, zealously trying to give the best customer service it can to compete?
That call really turned my thinking on its head for me. Maybe its not the buyers, its not ‘eBay’ (directly), instead is the inherent fundamentals of a the ‘eBay marketplace’; That buyers will ask questions regardless, but are continuously fostered to do so, by the over zealous sellers that make up the other part marketplace.
What if eBay deployed a monitoring system and a new version of the DSR (Detailed Seller Ratings), but for timed responses to eBay Questions?
Well quite like what Amazon have started to show in their seller performance dashboard, but one stage further where the DSR concept is ported to response times and then tied to the eBay TRS (Top Rated Seller) status?
Maybe in the next eBay Seller update eh?