If you're an eBay seller, you likely know that eBay's feedback system is at the heart of a seller's worries. Feedback and detailed seller ratings affects everything from a seller's rank in search results to a seller's performance rating and top-rated status to the ability to do business at all (which can quickly end, for some sellers, when a suspension occurs).
So if your feedback is suffering, here are ten ways to go about repairing your feedback before it's too late.
Report bad feedback. Not all feedback left by buyers is considered valid by eBay; feedback that is abusive or vulgar or that reveals personal information is certainly not allowed. References in feedback to "investigations" or to other transactions are also disallowed. If your feedback has taken a hit in recent days, review eBay's feedback guidelines and see if any recent dings qualify for more-or-less automatic removal.
Follow up to negatives. You do have a voice, even after a buyer has left a negative for you. Follow up to bad feedback and post apologies, explanations, or anything else that you think might help other potential buyers to know the full story. This won't immediately improve your feedback percentage or score, but it will help you to find buyers willing to give you a second chance, and each new positive in feedback goes a long way toward effectively neutralizing an existing negative.
Make things right and request feedback changes. Did you know that a buyer can change their mind and improve their feedback for you, even after leaving a negative? Getting negged doesn't have to mean the end of a transaction. Instead, get off your lauels, pull up your customer service socks, then request an automated feedback revision from your buyer. The process is automatic, and often once you've satisfied your buyer in the end, they're only too happy to go back and leave a positive comment about your determination and follow-through.
Eliminate negative possibilities. If it's detailed seller ratings that are giving you headaches, leave as little to chance and buyer opinion as possible by offering free shipping for your items and using eBay's own shipping labels. This gets you automatic perfect scores on your shipping costs and on your shipping promptness (provided you print the label within the handling time specified in your listings), leaving two less scores up to buyers' discretion.
Make your case in listings. If you've suffered an unusual spate of negatives in recent weeks and there's a good reason for it, you'll only help yourself by using space in your item descriptions to make your case to buyers. Just e sure at the same time to assure them that they're going to have a good experience and you are going to ensure that they're happy.
Focus on easy sales. If your feedback is in danger, take some time to focus on the kinds of merchandise in your inventory or business model that are most likely to simple, trouble-free transactions. Avoid one-offs, goods with damage or wear, things that are difficult to ship or protect, and so on, even if these kinds of sales are more lucrative for you. Pick them back up once a little time has passed and your feedback is looking up again.
Take time off. Remember that the feedback percentages seen by buyers are calculated on a rolling basis, meaning that as time passes, they gradually improve, so long as your most recent sales are positives. If things have been really bad, make a few easy sales to score some positives, then take a few months off to allow the heat to pass and the ratings to look better for buyers (and for eBay) once again. Use your time off to focus on questions about your business model and customer service practices and why things went so wrong that you needed to take a break at all.
Be proactive. To ensure that transactions result in positive feedback going forward, state in your item descriptions that you're out to earn positive feedback from them and will work to make sure that every transaction is positive. Then, ensure that you communicate with every buyer, immediately after purchase, to ask for their positive feedback and to request that they communicate with you if there are any issues before leaving a negative for you. It's simple, but it worksbuyers are much less likely to neg you if you've asked them to contact you before doing so. Just be prepared to follow through if or when they do!
Get organized. If your negatives are the result of being sloppy, disorganized, or somehow feeling behind the curve in ways that you just can't seem to overcome, it may be time to get organized in your business. Set up a home office, streamline your shipping process, fix your accounting or fulfillment, switch your troubled drop shipper, get your customer service basics in place, and beat back the blues. If a general malaise has overtaken your eBay business, don't just sit around waiting for things to get better. Fix the things that are wrong with your business or that are causing inefficiencies and bad results.
Start fresh (but only if you're not suspended). There's no rule against creating or holding multiple eBay accounts, so if you've become disenchanted with the public history and feedback profile of an account, you can always start a new one. Just remember the important exception to this possibility: you are not allowed to create a new account if any of your old account(s) is/are suspended. If you're suspended, better to try to get your account reinstated the proper way first. Remember, too, that you aren't keeping any secrets from eBay; the change is purely cosmetic, for the buying public. Seconds after you create any new account, eBay has already linked it inside their own database to all of your old accounts and to many of your contacts and business connections using a variety of tools. eBay won't forget about your old feedback, even if the public doesn't know about it.
Fighting the battle against a rush of negative feedback can sometimes feel like trying to turn back an immense tied as it tries to wash away your business.
Just remember that even if it's hard to be patient (your finances may, after all, be at stake), it's critical to the long-term viability of your eBay selling that you fight the battle in an above-board way and keep yourself from getting too frustrated along the way.