1. Stand behind what you sell, even if it means giving a refund or sending a replacement, do not always insist an item to be returned to give a refund. I have found that 99.9% of my customers are honest and if they have a complaint, it is legitimate. Many times I will give a refund (no matter what the amount is) without asking questions. There have been a few times when I have had to refund over $400.00. There are exceptions, but you would know better than me what exceptions there are with your product. I have also found, that many people will return the part after a refund is made, even though I tell them there is no need to return it, and they normally send it at their own expense. If you review my feedback, you will see my return customer rate is somthing like 70%.
2. Describe everthing accurately, even if it means it will not bring what it is worth. The customer will be happy and surprised it is better than described. Sometimes this is hard to do because you know the item will bring good money if you do not disclose certain information, but in the long run, it will end up costing you.
3. Have a phone # available for customers to call. Clearly state your business hours and DO NOT answer the phone after hours, otherwise the customers will abuse this. If a customer gets out of line on the phone, calmly tell them that all further communication will have to be done via eBay - refuse to argue, even if they are wrong. If you need to, hang-up on them, then send an email via eBay apologizing for having to hang-up and ask them to state their case via eBay.
4. Never argue with the customer, if they are wrong, so what. Ban them and do not sell to them in the future if it is way out of line, but save yourself a lot of problems by not arguing. And never call them names, no matter how stupid they are (yes there are stupid customers).
5. Work with people, even if they are slow to pay, did not pay, are stupid, etc. Many times differences can be resolved and some buyers do have legitimate reasons for not paying. Listen to their story, also check their buying history, see if they won and paid for anything while you were waiting to get paid.
6. Answer ALL questions, even if it has to be a short "no, sorry" or someting similar, at least answer them, many people lose sales just because they do not answer the customer.
7. Leave positive feedback for ALL buyers except non-paying bidders, and leave it either right after they pay - or like us, after we ship the product.
8. If a customer files a claim with a eBay or PayPal, only state the facts in the case, do not belittle the customer or say they are wrong. If the facts support your case, you still may not win, but you will at least be the responsible one and the prople at eBay will recognize this.
9. If you ever have a question about listing something on eBay, either email eBay, or call them (when you become a power-seller you will get a phone number and an account manager).
10. When eBay makes policy changes, before getting upset, try them out, see what happens. Remember, eBay is a business, and just like the business you are trying to run, you will be trying to do what is best for YOUR business. There are several things that changed with feedback system and when the changes rolled out, I changed my practices to fit eBay's (I knew they would not change for me), thus, when we ship an item, we leave positive feedback, no matter what. The customer has fulfilled all their obligations and desrves the positive feedback. If they leave feedback for me, great, if not, well i don't really worry about it. Many people do leave feedback and more leave it now than ever before since I have already left them good feedback.
11. Learn your product, people will ask questions and expect you to know what you sell. Find websites for references and bookmark them, call people who will know, and if all else fails, tell the customer you do not know, you have looked but could no locate the needed information, and apologize that you could no help. It also helps to stay pretty much with one product in order to build a customer base.
12. If you are going to hire help, pay your hired help decent, but expect them to work for what you pay. If you pay minimum wage, expect minimum wage work. It is a good practice to start everyone at minimum wage, and give raies on a normal basis. And never be afraid to fire someone who is costing you money, employees are like your product, they need to make you money, not cost you money. This is a value the large automakers forgot; the employees cost them money and look where they are.
13. If a buyer leaves a negative or neutral feedback. DO NOT contact them except in an attempt to correct the problem (the problem is NOT the feedback, it is the REASON they gave the poor feedback) - and never respond to the feedback for at least a week, if you do so any sooner, the buyer is sure to respond with more nasty things to say.
14. Do NOT charge actual shipping, but make sure your handling charge is realistic. Unfortunately, some buyers will never grasp the concept that there are more costs to shipping than just what the Post Office or UPS charges. For instance, we use all new boxes and tape for parts shipped through UPS, all this stuff cost money. In addition, UPS has a 7.00 surcharge on items shipped that are not boxed and a 25.00 to 45.00 surcharge on large items shipped through them. Here is how we charge shipping: Click here to see how shipping charges are determined.
15. Have some sort of delivery confirmation on everything that is shipped, this way you know when a package is delivered. If a customer claims a package is not received, track it. You can find out. If it shows delivered, then tell the customer (also have the shipping site send the information) and explain that the shipping company may have set the box in a different location then normally and to look around, if that fails, have them call the company that delivered and see what they have to say; a lot of times the package is just set somewhere they normally do not set it.
16. If you undercharge on shipping, as long as it does not mean losing a lot of money, send the item anyway. If it means losing a lot of money on the sale, contact the customer, see what have to say. If it is no big deal- split the cost of the undercharge, even if it means losing money. Normally the customer will be very happy and will return and buy more.
17. Network; find people who can benefit your business. For example: we have places that take our used oil, provide us with packing material, provide us with pallets, give us discount on shipping, and deliver product to us at a minimal charge.
18. Do not be afraid to spend money to make money. This is where mnay people fail. They make some money and are afraid to reinvest it. Sometimes you have to spend money to find out what something is worth. I will go to an auction and buy tractors I have never parted before, sometimes spending well more than they are worth, just to find out if they are worth buying in the future.
19. Invest in things that will make your job easier. In the long run it will pay off, not only that, most of these types of things can be wrote off on taxes.
20. Be honest on yor taxes and be a legitimate business.
21. Smile a lot.
Not sure if you are a Christian or not, but if you are, give thanks to God for any success you may have.
Grace and peace