In Part I of our eBay customer relationships two-part article, we discussed how to create a customer-friendly listing and how to make your shipping function a customer relations winner. Now let's talk about keeping that customer informed and connected.
Shipping and Delivery
When your buyer makes payment, they have placed their initial trust in you. But, most buyers immediately begin wondering if it will really come. Allay these fears by communicating early and often.
Send a congratulatory email with payment instructions
Send a thank you for payment letter
Send an item dispatched email
Send an email with the tracking number and a number to call for concerns.
If possible, give a delivery date. If you are conservative and the package arrives sooner, you look even better.
Each time you communicate, even if it is simply an automated system, the customer feels special and taken care of.
Hopefully you have followed our advice and left positive feedback for your customer immediately. As soon as you believe the package has arrived, write a follow up email checking for satisfaction. Ask for feedback at that time or wait until you are sure that everything has been handled correctly then seek feedback.
This is also a good time to send a coupon for a discount on the next purchase or highlight your newest promotions.
Now you have an incredibly important asset; you have a satisfied customer and a direct line into their home or office through email. Be sure you have a high functioning database application so that you can maintain all of the available information on your customer including purchase history and any profile information they provided such as birthday or names of children. If you leave it to eBay, you will not be able to take those customers with you if you leave eBay.
You need to work that valuable asset. Here are some ways to keep the connection alive.
Don't guess about what your customers want; ask them! Send customers a sneak preview of possible products and ask their opinion. Not only do you get invaluable feedback, you also know who wants to buy the product so that you can target them directly.
A newsletter gives you a good reason to contact people regularly without hounding them to buy something. Make your newsletter relevant and useful. If you sell allergy friendly foods or furnishings, send info on how to really keep your house allergen free or snippets about research advances in allergy symptom treatment.
You do not have to make sales a blatant part of your newsletter; you are using the information to build credibility and relationship. By the way, tell your customers that you are sending them this $9.99/month subscription newsletter for free as a special advantage. People value things more if they know the price.
Enroll your customers in a members only club. Issue a good quality, plastic membership card with a valuable member number on it. Create special benefits such as:
Enter the number on your online order sheet to get special deals available only to members.
Early purchase options on new items.
You will have to decide what you can afford to provide.
You may not be able to offer all of those benefits through eBay and that is fine. The membership card is a great way to draw people to your online store, either within eBay or elsewhere.
Establish a registry for wish lists or birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Just think, your customers will tell you what they want to buy and they will tell their family and friends to go to your site and buy for them. Talk about a compounding effect! Again, a strategy for your online store, not your eBay auction.
Invite your customers to blog on your site. If you sell pet supplies, invite people to talk about how their animal likes them and to send in pet pictures.
If you sell language tapes, ask people to talk about why they are learning a language, their secrets for making it work and how they are using the language they are learning.
Depending on the size of your business, you may or may not be able to do this, but if you can, it is great. Watch your auction for return customer bids. When you get a bid from a former customer, send an email that welcomes them back and hopes to be able to do business with them.