Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Customer is Not the Enemy

I'm seeing a lot of discussion on my eBay seller's Facebook Group (almost 5,000 strong now!) about blocking eBay buyers. Here is a sample discussion:

Seller A: I just had the weirdest question from a customer. He asked xyz and that just made me nervous. What should I do?

Seller B: Block him! You are just asking for trouble if he buys from you.

Seller C: That person is probably a loser! Block him!

Let's examine these responses and think about how you can grow your business if you are shutting out potentional buyers. Slamming the door in a potential buyer's face isn't going to help you make money. Bending over backwards to help them may put money in your pocket.

Blocking buyers by name is really a huge waste of your valuable time. I see a lot of talk on eBay groups about blocked bidder lists, exchanging names of non-payers, and outing "bad" buyers on groups. Sellers are spending valuable time (that could be spent sourcing, listing, or researching) blocking buyers on these lists. If a buyer is really a crook, he is going to have multiple IDs anyway, so blocking one of them isn't going to help you much. Why shut out someone who wants to buy something from you?

I don't really understand this knee-jerk reaction to an odd or unusual question. So what if the buyer asks something strange? Can you accommodate them? Sometimes an unusual situation is an opportunity for you to get the sale, because other sellers think it is weird or a little kooky and they will shut down and not even answer the buyer out of fear. Investigate your options. Is what the buyer asking do-able? Is it eBay legal? eBay is a very competitive place and to get the sale, you have to be willing to go the extra mile and give better service than your competitors. See a buyer's problem as an opportunity - turn the situation around and you have a sale.

If you set up your account to exclude buyers with certain criteria, and they contact you asking why they can't bid, the professional response is to explain why. A friendly professional response, even to a non-payer helps make us all look good. There is no reason to be hostile - you have no idea why the person has these strikes. Sometimes life gets put on hold when emergencies happen and eBay is not the highest priority.

Also, if a buyer knows why they are being blocked because of their past actions, they may do what is needed to clean up their act. Educating the buyer in a professional tone is always a good response. The customer is not the enemy - he / she is our best friend and we cannot survive without them. The best way to deal with non-payers is to file unpaid item strikes so that the buyer will be suspended if he reaches the maximum number of strikes. Let the system work. Don't react out of fear and lose a potential customer. Think through your options.

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1 comment:

TC Byrd said...

Completely agree with you.

I saw one thread somewhere this week where a person was furious that a buyer asked to cancel an order. This was before the order was shipped, mind you. She was so angry and wanted to punish the buyer somehow. I couldn't figure out what harm was done. Oh, well.

I try to assume ignorance rather than malice in people's behaviors. I have answered some dumb questions, but blocking a byer never really crosses my mind.