One of the cornerstones for long-term success on eBay is maintaining a sparkling feedback record. What do you do when an angry customer contacts you? The most difficult angry customer situation to handle is the when the problem truly was your fault.
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How to Make Money Selling on eBay - Dealing with Angry Customers

One of the cornerstones for long-term success on eBay is maintaining a sparkling feedback record. If you want to know how to make money selling on eBay, this is the number one secret. Yet to some degree, angry customers come with the territory on eBay. There are so many users that at some point you are likely to need to know what to do to handle the situation with an angry customer.

What do you do when an angry customer contacts you? In all cases, handle the problem immediately. In fact those who know how to make money selling on eBay will tell you that all customer contacts should be handled immediately.

The most difficult angry customer situation to handle is the when the problem truly was your fault. Let's examine some situations that may have arisen to create the angry customer you are now responsible for addressing. Maybe it's a situation where:

  • The item isn't exactly how it was described. Possibly the title that was listed is inaccurate. Another possibility is that the item description may have been inaccurate. Maybe some vital piece of information was omitted. Possibly the product didn't match the description.

  • Shipped later than planned. A buyer who has paid for a product wants that product immediately. If payment was made at 1:00pm on Tuesday afternoon, the desired delivery time is 2:00pm Tuesday. Buyers will generally accept your stated and/or committed shipping date. So you can expect an angry buyer when you fail to ship as you have committed.

  • The product was not in-stock. In this example, maybe you thought that the product was in-stock, and it just isn't there now that it is sold. If you are risk-taker, possibly you listed an item that was already 'in transit' to you. It just hasn't arrived to you yet. (This is not a recommended practice.) You angry buyer is all excited at having just made a purchase and now they find out that there is no product.

The list of mistakes and errors could go on for pages and pages. The bottom line is that when you make a mistake, accept responsibility for that mistake. Work to make it right.

Whenever possible, it is important to address the issue BEFORE you have an angry customer. This alleviates anxiety for both you and the buyer. It almost always makes resolution of the problem much easier to accomplish. Most buyers appreciate honesty. They also appreciate the fact that you took the initiative to address the problem.

Possibly you weren't aware that there was a problem, or you failed to take the initiative quickly enough. Then an angry email arrives! What do you do?

Steps to take:

  • If it is your fault, own the problem and admit that you made a mistake.
  • Apologize for the mistake.
  • Focus your time and effort on resolving the problem to the satisfaction of the buyer.
  • In our inaccurate description example, one possible solution might be to offer a partial refund might be appropriate when it wasn't as described.
  • In our shipped later example, a possible solution might be to give free shipping.
  • In our 'out of stock' example, first apologize, Then see if you can locate the item somewhere else (a different vendor - even if you must pay extra to obtain it)

Problems will occur with some eBay sales. In some cases, those problems are absolutely your fault. Those who know how to make money selling on eBay will always take the initiative to immediately resolve the problem. Maintain your focus until an agreement has been made with the buyer.

But that focus doesn't stop until you have successfully taken any and all of the actions that they buyer and you have agreed will occur. Follow up with the buyer until you know that they have received their refund, substitute product, or whatever they are due. Once it is in-hand, make sure that you take the steps to insure the problem does not occur in the future.


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