Scam-seeking vigilantes say internet fraud is on the rise. eBay insists otherwise, but does acknowledge that scammers are becoming more clever. Unfortunately, a few bad sellers who deliberately practice fraud have made lots of people nervous about buying online, especially from eBay. For these already jittery individuals, even the smallest problem – a payment hitch, a delayed response to an email, or a delivery issue - can cause them to hit the panic switch. The results can be horrifying: negative feedback, account suspension, or Paypal freezing your funds. If only it could have been avoided in the first place!
So what can you do to make your buyers feel safe about doing business online?
1. Provide a contact voice number. New customers will always have questions: about the products, about the transaction, and especially about you or your company. While some will be satisfied by e-mail correspondence, many -- especially when the transaction is complex and the cost is significant -- will want to speak with a living, breathing person on your side of the deal. Expect that, and provide for it.
2. Do you hold up to investigation? These days, customers will certainly do some background research before they commit to the transaction. On eBay: Spend time writing your About Me page and include your full contact details and photos of your business premises and staff. Got your own website? Join the BBB and get VeriSign to authenticate your site. Putting customer testimonials on your site or in your About Me page is also a great way to establish trust.
3. Respond promptly and nicely to all inquiries. Next to not getting what they want, what most irritates customers is not getting any answers! If customer support is using up too much of your precious time, then don't just ignore it. Invest time building up your FAQ and hire a student part time to answer emails for you.
4. Take Feedback seriously. You should always aim to get positive feedback from customers. When you do, document it and use it to your advantage. When you receive negative comments, investigate why, and use it as a springboard for improving your business.
5. Under-commit and over-deliver. When you commit to something, be absolutely certain you can deliver on your commitment. If you can’t, for whatever reason, communicate it immediately with the customer, and be prepared to answer questions, or offer alternatives, if necessary. Throw in a little something, a freebie to enhance a successful transaction, or alleviate the effects of a not-so-good deal.
Got any tips to share? We welcome your comments!