Use this tip to ensure you receive positive feedback from your customers – without being pushy!

The summer holidays are a time when I plan ahead and try and lighten my workload, as I mentioned in my eletter a few weeks ago, and I find that the school holidays are often the perfect time to catch up on all those nasty ‘niggly’ jobs – you know, the ones that will only take you 10 minutes to do but that you keep putting off because they are only ‘small’ jobs.

So, I was catching up on one of these ‘niggly jobs’ recently when I noticed something quite interesting. I was checking one of my eBay accounts, just generally making sure everything was in order, looking at my dashboard when I thought I’d better check my ‘Automated Rules’.

In case you are not familiar with this you can find them in Selling Manager Pro. What they do is allow you to set up automatic responses to things like feedback, FAQ’s and so on so that basically you are freed up to do other things instead of constantly having to log in and leave feedback or answer basic questions yourself.

I set my automated rules up absolutely ages ago and they have always worked fine so I just thought I’d glance at them, see all was well and then leave the page. Which is exactly what I did.

Anyway, on my way back from ‘Automated Rules’, I happened to glance at the ‘Feedback waiting to be left’ section and was quite surprised to see that I apparently had not left feedback for 37 transactions in the previous 14 day period.

But, having already checked my automated rules and knowing that all my rules were working I was definitely a little puzzled by this.

Then I felt a bit stupid!

After some moments thought, I realized that my automated feedback rule is set up to automatically leave feedback for my buyers as soon as they have left positive feedback for me so it was abundantly clear that those 37 buyers had actually not left me any feedback yet either. And this explained why I had not reciprocated.

Whilst I felt pretty stupid for not working this out sooner, I also felt that this was quite a large percentage of buyers who simply hadn’t left any feedback – not even a quick ‘Thank you, Received Item’ kind of feedback, and I knew that all of those buyers had received their goods promptly and I hadn’t had any complaints.

So, this ‘niggly’ 10 minute job had now morphed into an experimental research type of job and which undoubtedly would take me longer than 10 minutes!

As if I hadn’t got a million other ‘niggly jobs’ to do, I sat down and calculated my sales over the past 14 days to compare ‘Buyers who left feedback’ against ‘Buyers who hadn’t left feedback’ and the results were that around 19% of buyers hadn’t left me any feedback.

To be honest, although I now had a figure, I wasn’t sure whether that was a high one or a low one, but after further online research I discovered that the general consensus is that it’s about average. Apparently it’s about an 80/20 split – with 80% leaving feedback and 20% not bothering for one reason or another.

For me, I hadn’t noticed that those 37 buyers hadn’t left any feedback because on this particular eBay ID I have feedback in the tens of thousands and I stopped counting a long time ago. As a newbie seller though, you need all the feedback you can get to boost your reputation and I know that a lack of feedback responses can be extremely frustrating for you as you try to build your business.

So why don’t buyers leave feedback?

1. Just because it’s their prerogative – it’s optional!

2. They don’t know how to leave feedback (mainly newbies)

3. They are really, really slow at leaving feedback or really, really sporadic

4.  The excitement of receiving the goods makes them forget

However, some buyers ALWAYS leave feedback without fail because it’s their DUTY!

How important is feedback really?

Feedback is of course important. Particularly on eBay, and especially if you are a newbie and you are trying to build up your online reputation. If you compare eBay to Amazon, feedback is nowhere near as important as on eBay. Buyers just don’t seem bothered over there.

Wherever you are selling, your reputation as a seller is extremely important though. Positive comments about your products and service instill confidence and trust in buyers and potential buyers and this is true not just on eBay but anywhere you are selling your products, including your own website.

So how do you get your customers to leave positive feedback for you without coming across as pushy, annoying or obsessive?

Well, you need to be careful! I once read a bit of a horror story in a forum about a seller requesting feedback so many times from one buyer and being so pushy that eventually instead of the nice green positive dot they expected, they ended up with a big red dot simply because the buyer got so annoyed about being hassled every day to leave feedback that eventually he did – just not quite in the way the seller wanted. True story!

First though, remember that eBay automatically send an email to your buyers who haven’t left you any feedback after about a month to remind them to do so. Now, imagine if you have also sent an email (or two, or three) to a buyer requesting their feedback. Your buyer will have received an email from eBay plus the ones from you so there is a real chance that they might be getting a little bit annoyed by this point.

Feedback is optional  – remember!

So, my advice is, please don’t send emails reminding your buyers to leave feedback. Let eBay handle all that for you automatically and if a buyer wants to leave it they will. You cannot force feedback!

However, you can give things a little bit of a gentle nudge!

Each time you dispatch a parcel to a customer, include a nice little note displaying the details of their item, the cost, your eBay ID, the name of your shop, how they can contact you if they need to and importantly a message thanking them for purchasing. This is what it could say:

“Thank you so much for purchasing. I hope you are delighted with your item. Please leave me feedback so that I know you are happy!”

It’s not pushy, it’s not demanding. It’s just a nice friendly little note. It’s not even handwritten – you can type these up in advance and pop one in every parcel that you send and you’ll soon see more buyers start to leave you feedback.

Honestly it’s so simple and you’ll be surprised at just how many sellers don’t actually do this. As far as I’m concerned it’s simply good manners and if you are polite and professional others will be too.

This will work for eBay and Amazon. You can reword your note slightly if you have your own website.

So how about it?  Put this down as another job on your own list of ‘niggly’ things to do – and I’ll go about salvaging mine after I got sidetracked.