Five tips to get great feedback

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Five star Feedback DSRsFeedback is the hottest topic on eBay. It always has been and probably always will be although recent changes have made it a more emotional subject than ever.

The big question though is how you approach it and for sellers there are two approaches – either to focus on feedback which tends to mean agonising over every buyer, fretting whether they’ll give you a 4 or 5 star rating, or to simply ignore it in favour of simply giving great service and leaving customers to rank you at will.

Recent changes have made feedback more important than ever and it’s time to change your approach regardless of how you’ve handled things in the past.

Leave feedback first

There really is no reason for sellers not to bite the bullet and leave feedback on payment or despatch. The old argument that “the transaction isn’t complete until the buyer receives the product” is no longer valid. As sellers soon won’t be able to leave negative or neutral feedback for buyers your only choice is to leave a positive or not to leave feedback at all.

From talking to sellers anecdotal evidence suggests that sellers that leave feedback first are more likely to receive positive feedback and less likely to receive negatives. It appears by telling a buyer they were a good customer they’re more likely to rate you as good seller. Buyers appear more reluctant to leave poor feedback when they’ve already received a positive themselves.

Ask for good feedback in communications

Use communications as an opportunity to ask for good feedback. End of item emails, invoices, despatch notes, despatch email are all times when you can set buyer expectations for feedback.

Use phrases such as “We aim to receive 5/5 feedback, please contact us if we’ve not achieved this”. Let buyers know that you want five star ratings – the old adage if you don’t ask you don’t get definitely applies to feedback.

Turn off SMP feedback reminders

Many sellers have used feedback reminders asking buyers to leave feedback for transactions. I’ve always been a firm believer that this is counterproductive and can lead to worse feedback than if not used. I have known sellers send out reminders for all outstanding feedback who received negatives in return for the efforts. Sometimes it can be better to *not* receive feedback.

Feedback left within days of the item arriving will normally be better than feedback left several weeks later when the product is used, abused and possibly broken and disposed of. The excitement and pleasure of the transaction has gone, the later feedback is left the more likely it is to be pragmatic rather than effusive.

It should also be remembered that eBay have stepped up communications and send their own feedback reminders so there really is no need for sellers to do likewise.

Ship fast

I firmly believe that he single most important thing you can change, to receive better feedback, is to ship fast. The quicker you can get the product into the customers hands the more likely they are to leave great feedback, instant gratification goes a long way.

Give great service

Of course you already give fantastic service which you’re proud of, I know I do… but there will always be areas in which you can improve. Take an honest objective look at how you do business and look at your competitors, do test purchases from them and find out what they do better than you. Aim to incorporate the best practices you find from every seller you purchase from and of course avoid irking your customers with the aspects of their service which are not so good.

Giving great service is what buyers want, what eBay are encouraging, and what will ultimately determine how successful you are. There really is no secret – great service will result in great feedback, but the tips above could help along the way.

14 Responses

  1. Re communicating with buyers I saw this despatch note ideaon Inkfrog forum

    If for some reason you deem this transaction not suitable for positive feedback and *FULL 5 STAR* rating, please EMAIL ME FIRST so we can resolve any issues! Otherwise, I hope it all went smoothly for you as it did for me and I will be leaving you positive feedback, and full 5 star rating too!

    Its slightly misleading as we cannot rate the buyer by Stars, but it reads well.

  2. I have had some interesting chats with buyers recently. All were unaware of the growing importance of DSRs to sellers. One quite amusing quote came from a friend:

    “I always give high marks. I got amazing service the other day and left the seller 4s across the board!”

    When I explained the recent changes, and explained that if everything’s perfect, or at least all in order and you’re well pleased, that leaving less than a 5 could be detrimental to the seller he was amazed and readily agreed that he would now, needless to say, be leaving 5s when he was ‘well pleased.’

    But he did ask the big question: why haven’t eBay told me about this?

  3. hi –

    and when all the above good advice (thanks chris) is ticked off in the to do box……

    fingers crossed that the buyer isn’t tempted to leave low dsr, hoping to get an ebay ‘reach out to the buyers’ 10% discount voucher.

    – ‘lets create a carrot and stick discounts scheme, then think of ways to make the carrot bigger and bigger (like double discount bonus) but also, make the stick longer and longer and longer and …….’ 😉


  4. I’m still trying to figure out what’s the point of feedback for buyers with the forthcoming changes, it all seems a bit pointless.

  5. I think feedback may get more factual rather than just a standard “A+ buyer…” It may actually be more helpful to another seller if rather than a + or – rating, there is a description of how the buyer has acted.

  6. “I’m still trying to figure out what’s the point of feedback for buyers with the forthcoming changes, it all seems a bit pointless.”

    And quite honestly what’s changed? Buyer feedback has only ever been a nice thing to have, or a useful start for a selling ID. It’s never enabled or disabled a buyer from buying. The only use of buyer feedback is that they *like* seeing the numbers go up and new star colours so it’s a great marketing exercise but not a lot else.

  7. hi chris –

    you said; ”The only use of buyer feedback is that they *like* seeing the numbers go up and new star colours so it’s a great marketing exercise but not a lot else”.

    but, i agree with what you said earlier; 😉

    ”It appears by telling a buyer they were a good customer they’re more likely to rate you as good seller. Buyers appear more reluctant to leave poor feedback when they’ve already received a positive themselves”.


  8. If you do get a nasty buyer though, please make sure to submit the eBay ID to, which is a venue for sellers to share bidder blacklists so we can avoid dealing with buyers with a history of not paying upon winning, unrealistic expectations, and scamming sellers, etc.

  9. I agree with most of what you say.

    At the moment we automatically leave feedback after the buyer leaves + feedback for us. Once they take away the ability of sellers to leave FB for buyers, we are going to switch over to leaving +FB once the buyer pays. Cynical I know but that’s the way I see it. After the next FB changes there will be no reason not to leave buyers +FB first, in fact not to do so is probably inadvisable. In the feedback comment itself we will ask for 5 stars.

    In the meantime we are going to continue as normal to ensure our headline FB score is as buffed up as possible i.e. getting as many negs as possible withdrawn before the changes.

    We are also going to turn off our feedback reminders. On balance, Chris is probably right and to send them is counter-productive.

    I think that all sellers’ feedback scores are going to drop, some more than others. It will take time for the buyer population to twig that they can no longer be negged back after leaving a neg, just as many buyers didn’t know about the existence of PayPal disputes until eBay started to prompt them to open them if dissatisifed.

    One thing i do wonder about is whether eBay will lower the PowerSeller threshold from the current 98% +FB level. Some sellers are not going to be able to remain in the PowerSeller programme without having the retaliatory feedback and mutual withdrawal system. With all the Best Match effects, demotions and loss of discounts, this will assuredly be the death knell for some peoples’ business models.

  10. Chris, lets just hope that you never need to take any of your “easy to trade with” customers to county court 🙂

  11. amajorukpowerseller Says: ……”this will assuredly be the death knell for some peoples’ business models.”

    I don’t think that’s anything new when trading on eBay – a lot of businesses over the years have had to take changes in their stride such as the 2007 SIF in core debacle where new businesses coming to eBay were suddenly incredibly successful and had it taken away from them over night. Sellers around pre-2007 had traded without SIF in core so when it was removed simply reverted to previous ways of trading but it was a major pain point for many.

    Change is the one constant on eBay, and a flexible business model is key. Sadly you’re right some won’t make it through the changes, but those that do will be stronger and give better customer service than ever before… or at least that’s the aim of the changes

  12. we have beat the drum for a decade about only returning feedback once its left for us,
    we still believe this to be true
    though now we cant leave negative feedback,
    the only common sense thing to do is leave feedback first,
    this we have been doing on another id since ebay announced the new changes,
    with no problems at all ,other than the feedback returned rate is not as high
    we must also admit, we do bend backwards just that little bit extra ,
    now that the negative feedback gun is pointed our way t and we cant shoot back,
    so at least in our case ,
    ebays theory is working,
    our good customer service is now just that little bit better!


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