David is a new seller on eBay and has been hit with a couple of neutral feedbacks that could have been avoided if the customer had got in touch with him. Faced with this problem he contacted eBay with a proposed change that he thinks would be popular with merchants and customers alike. They sent David a reply saying that my idea had been elevated to senior management, however he suspects his idea may end up in the virtual sidings!
What do you think of David’s proposal?
Mention feedback fairness and it generally stirs strong emotions. In an environment where feedback is so intrinsically linked to seller performance a robust and above all fair system is paramount.
When reading sellers neutral or negative feedback comments there is a common theme that runs throughout. “The buyer did not tell me there was a problem”. How can a seller be expected to offer a great follow up service if they are unaware of the problem. Moreover once feedback has been submitted there is then little incentive for the seller to ‘go the extra mile’ for their (and Ebay’s) Customer.
In the physical world, as a customer, you have to interact with your supplier of goods and services. If something goes wrong you have no choice but to raise the issue with the supplier. Normally most issues are resolved and a negative experience is turned into a positive one by their actions.
Convert this into the feedback scenario. When the initial purchase was made and the item found to be faulty NEGATIVE. On visiting the store and receiving a replacement and an apology POSITIVE.
Feedback should be measured on the whole service experience not just the annoyed ‘knee jerk’ reaction on the day.
So how could the system be designed to offer a fair and above all better experience for all parties?
At the point a customer is invited to leave a feedback score only two options should be given.
1) Positive feedback – the transaction was to expectation, goods as described etc
2) Request Customer Service – If there is an issue preventing positive feedback this should be then treated as a customer service issue.
Once a customer has raised a customer service request sellers are given a resolution period to resolve the problem for the customer.
As soon as the resolution period has ended the customer is then allowed to leave feedback as per the current system but is encouraged to base the score on the sellers overall performance.
This simple change would address many of the avoidable neutral and negative feedbacks and provide Ebay with a more reliable measure of the sellers overall performance. Additionally the quantity of poor feedback should reduce, in turn improving overall buyer confidence and more consumer trust.
This measure would resolve some of the merchants anxiety about feedback and give them greater control of their feedback outcomes.
Whilst I agree with much of what David says, what really counts is what eBay think. After chopping and changing on whether a Neutral feedback is good, bad or indifferent, currently eBay’s point of view is that a neutral feedback can’t be classed as a positive buying experience and thus counts towards your defect score.
That’s fair enough, but the crux of David’s argument is that a customer should be encouraged to communicate with a merchant before leaving feedback as is the case in a physical store. Many times this could be a positive experience, however even then for some purchases the value of the product is so low a customer can’t be bothered and the fact they’ve had to make contact is in itself a bad buying experience and that’s what eBay want to measure.
It’s not about the final feedback score, what matters today is your order defect rate and eBay want to measure that against “Was the customer happy with the transaction” or “Was there a problem regardless of how well that problem was resolved”.