Customer satisfaction builds customer loyalty, and customer retention is the key to the long-term success of your eBay business. Professional marketers understand these concepts well—we see it in airline frequent flyer programs, grocery store shopping clubs, and the daily deluge of brand loyalty messages in advertisements. It’s easy to incorporate the same sort of strategies into your eBay business, turning one-time shoppers into loyal customers. My next few posts will focus on these topics.
You can easily start improving your customer services practices by focusing on something I call the HIT factor – Honesty, Integrity and Transparency.
These three practices or values (whatever you want to call them) are the foundation of excellent customer relations. This might sound like a page torn from a Boy Scout manual, but these values underlie all other customer service strategies.
Honesty is important when creating your item descriptions and communicating with customers. It’s important that you utilize the copywriting techniques (discussed throughout this blog) to highlight the best aspects of your merchandise and persuade the browser to become a buyer. But remember that truth-stretching and outright misrepresentation is a direct path to ticked-off customers and, ultimately, the failure of your business. Sing the praises of your merchandise, but don’t try to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.
Integrity is built by establishing solid customer service policies, clearly communicating those policies, and then delivering on the promises you make. Offer your customers guarantees of your merchandise. Either give a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, or guarantee them that the item they receive will arrive as you described it in your listing. Honor that policy should a customer wish to return an item. Happy customers are those who feel that your product (and you) live up to their expectations.
The concept of transparency is a little less tangible. Think of a magician who states, “There’s nothing up my sleeve.” Of course, he usually does have a trick up his sleeve when he says this. For your business, you want the reality of your customers’ experience to match the appearance you convey. No smoke and mirrors, no tricks, no fine print—just clear and concise communication with your customers. Consider the concept of full disclosure for stock sales of publicly traded companies. They open their accounting books to public scrutiny in an effort to inspire confidence in their shareholders.
If you instill the sense of absolute legitimacy in every aspect of your eBay business, you dispel online shopping fears and build the foundation for satisfied customers. We’ll talk more about how the HIT factor shows up in eBay listings in subsequent posts.