As eBay has transitioned away from its previous focus on the PowerSeller program and toward marketing sellers that meet the more stringent Top Rated Seller criteria, a new eBay metric has taken on increasing importance: that of Seller Performance. But what is "Seller Performance," how does a serious seller go about finding out where they rank, and how can this rating be improved?
Seller Performance is a useful way to summarize eBay's opinion about the combination of a seller's DSR scores, their ability to satisfy customers enough to avoid the filing of disputes, and basic aggregate sales volume.
Under the Seller Performance metric, sellers' performance is characterized on the following scale:
- Top-rated. Seller is a member of the PowerSeller program, meeting
all of its volume and customer service requirements, has no more than two
(2) one- or two-star ratings for any of the detailed seller rating metrics
over the past year, all of which must be rated at 4.6 or higher, and has no
more than two (2) disputes opened by buyers, with none of these ratings or
disputes accounting for more that 0.5% of seller volume over that time.
- Above standard. Requirements are the same as those for the
Top-rated seller performance rating, with up to three (3) one- or two-star
ratings allowed and up to three (3) disputes opened by buyers. (The minimum
4.6 rating for each DSR score and 0.5% limits continue to apply.)
- Standard. In order to earn this rating, sellers must not have
more that three (3) one- or two-star ratings for any of the detailed seller
rating metrics over the past year, and no more than three (3) disputes
opened by buyers. One- and two-star ratings must make up no more than 2% of
the Communication, Shipping time, and Shipping and handling charges DSR
metrics, and no more than 1% of the Item as described metric. The number of
disputes opened must not represent more than 1% of the seller's volume.
- Below standard. Sellers that fail to meet any one of the requirements for the Standard performance rating earn the Below Standard performance rating, and will be penalized in eBay search results, making sales much more difficult to achieve.
Checking Your Performance Rating
Your Seller Performance rating is available at any time on a seller's dashboard, which can be accessed via My eBay. To view a detailed breakdown of your Seller Performance rating, showing your performance relative to each of the standards that eBay applies for your status, click the "performance standards" link in the "Seller standing" box on your dashboard page, or use this link to access the report directly.
Improving Your Performance Rating
Unfortunately for sellers that are struggling to meet their desired Performance Rating requirements, there is no way to "appeal" eBay's rating or to undo poor DSR scores or open cases once they've been charged against you as a seller.
The avenue for change is the fact that the rating is calculated using details from the previous year (12-month period). Sellers that want to improve their standing need therefore to improve their customer service for an extended period of time, allowing old "violations" to gradually fall outside the 12-month window without incurring any new "violations."
Strategies for Improving Higher Statuses
The metrics that most sellers seem to struggle with are those related to feedback and detailed seller ratings, where just one or two negatives or low scores can result in a loss of status. The strategies for improving feedback are therefore critical to improving your Seller Performance rating as your volume grows:
- Offer free shipping whenever possible to make it impossible for buyers
to give poor ratings for shipping costs.
- Ship within a day using a reliable shipper; don't bother with items for
which you'll need extended (2-3 days or more) handling times, even though
eBay's listing tool allows you to specify longer handling times.
- Maintain regular communication with buyers and keep them appraised of
your progress as their order is processed.
- Use eBay's
catalog but don't stop there, since
catalog details can be incorrect or incomplete; do also write detailed,
item descriptions and
that carefully characterize
item conditions and pair them with
photos of the actual sales item.
- Respond quickly to all buyer inquiries and go the extra mile to ensure
that buyers are satisfied before they are tempted to open a case with eBay.
- Ask for good feedback after every transaction and tell your customers that you need four- or five-star detailed ratings and are determined to get them.