In this article, I'm going to discuss very important information you should and shouldn't do if you want to keep your customers coming back. Please keep in mind; these tips don't go in any specific order. Every single thing listed is just as important as the one ahead of it. Follow these instructions, and you'll have a leg up on your competition!
So, without further ado, let's get started!
What you SHOULD do:
1) Always offer returns! This is very important. Nine times out of ten, a customer won't end up returning a product, but by offering the refund it makes them feel more comfortable with the purchase. This is especially true for high ticket items.
If a customer sends you a message asking for a refund and you refuse, that customer will never buy anything from you again, and they'll probably leave negative feedback. Not only will they never be back, but the negative will remain on your performance for a very long time. This causes other potential buyers from backing off from a future sale.
When I say offer a refund, I don't mean something like three days from shipment. The customer probably won't even receive their order in three days. A thirty day money back guarantee is the least you should offer, but the higher the better. I offer thirty days on my eBay auctions, but even if a customer came to me after the thirty days asking for a refund I'd still honor their request.
2) Communication is vital. If a buyer contacts you for further information about your listing, don't respond three days later. Chances are they won't even remember or care about the product by than. Make sure the question is answered within twenty four hours, but it really should be answered sooner.
Can't get the item shipped out the date promised for whatever reason? This can be annoying to some, but most buyers will understand if you just send them a quick message to explain the situation. They won't mind waiting an extra day or two if you communicate with them.
A week after you ship the product, do a follow up e-mail asking if the customer is happy with their order. I have to admit, I don't do this as much as I should, but it's a very good idea. If the customer didn't leave feedback, they probably will after the follow up e-mail.
3) Write a lengthy description. If you're selling a Bicycle, don't write something like, "boys bicycle. rides well." Believe me, I've seen auctions like that from Top-Rated Sellers. Go into detail. Explain what the bike can do and the condition it's in. Write the age group the bike is best suited for. The more you add, the better.
You should also include information about yourself and your company (if applicable). Clearly state the Terms & Conditions, Return Policy, Shipping, etc. Write a small FAQ section your visitors can easily see.
4) Ship orders for free. A "Free Shipping" note attracts buyers. I know it attracts me. If they don't see that note next to your listing, they may not even bother and move onto a seller that has free shipping. Buyers know that if they see a product for $13.95, that's all they'll have to pay for it.
If you do charge shipping, never over charge. Buyers (including myself) hate to pay more than what it actually cost to ship.
5) Leave feedback when your customer pays. NOT when they leave you feedback. This is more important than it sounds. By leaving feedback right away, it shows your buyers that you really appreciate them. If they weren't planning on leaving feedback, they probably will now.
Even if a buyer leaves you negative feedback, you can't really do anything about it. Holding onto your customers feedback isn't going to "get back at them."
What you SHOULDN'T do:
You don't have to accept an offer, but you should always be nice about it. I don't care if the buyer submits a dollar offer for a $3,000 dollar television. You should still be nice about it. Decline the offer and leave a note saying, "I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I have to decline your offer. Thanks for your interest in my product." Don't leave a note saying something like, "Don't waste my time again with low offers." Both notes take the same amount of time to write, and being nice can lead to further sales down the road and a larger customer base.
I understand that low offers can be insulting, but it's what you have to deal with when running an online business.
2) DON'T TREAT YOUR CUSTOMERS LIKE CUSTOMERS! Treat them like family! Treat them like your best friend. Say simple computer terms like lol in conversation. It'll lighten the mood. Show interest in their stories. Show that you care. Show great personality and your customers (AKA friends) will keep on coming back.
3) Don't view your customers as dollar signs. If you do this, you're bound to slip up and say something that might get them to turn the other way. When you say something sincere, you should really be sincere. If you apologize for running out of stock on an item, you should really be sorry. Say it with emotion and sympathy. A message like this, "Sorry we ran out of stock," is not going to cut it. A more appropriate message would be, "Hey John, I really regret saying this, but we unfortunately ran out of stock to fill your order. I can't even begin to tell you how sorry I am. You are more then welcome to continue waiting for the product to arrive, or I'll be happy to refund your payment in full. If you choose to wait, I'll cover the shipping cost. Please let me know what you would like to do." There it is, a truly sincere apology. If you can't afford to cover the shipping cost you don't have to offer that, but it shows that you care.
Remember to follow these simple rules, and you should start seeing improvements and more sales. There are plenty of techniques out there, but these are some of the ones I use. I wish all of you the best of luck!