- November 25, 2008
- DSRs: Making Them Work for You
- Tips for nonprofits dealing with eBay's 5-star rating system, Part II of II
By Brad and Debra Schepp
Based on an article originally published in Auctiva’s Education Center .
- In our last installment of “DSRs: Making Them Work for You” we explained the Detailed Seller Rating system and how it works. Now we will tell you how to work the system by making sure buyers understand the impact their feedback will have on your business.
- Another important aspect of the new DSR system is buyer education.
- “The best way to address the new rating system is to 'coach' buyers about the importance of the ratings they leave”
- When we were in school (just a few years ago) we remember feeling just fine about getting a grade of B or B+. To us, a B was quite a good grade. eBay has now pretty much thrown out the grade book we're all familiar with and rewritten the rules, so that Bs are not so hot. Now, anything less than an A or A- will bump you way to the back of the classroom.
- Many buyers simply don't understand the meaning of the ratings from which they now can choose. Many view a 4 rating as a fine response, if they received the service they had hoped for. On a scale of 1 to 5, a 4 does seem like a good "grade." It's what they may give a seller, for example, if an item arrived on time and as expected. This means you can do everything right, and still not get that "wow" response many buyers save for a rating of 5. Also, because buyers have to give sellers four grades at once, they may feel uneasy about leaving all 5s, thinking they're not being discerning enough. So again, they may leave a 4 just to show they're really paying attention. From a seller's viewpoint, such grades are barely passing. Ouch!
Advice for Sellers
- “I’m guessing that nonprofit sellers will mostly have the same issues as for-profits regarding DSRs,” notes David Yaskulka, former CEO of Blueberry Boutique. So, what's a seller to do? According to Platinum PowerSellers Andy and Deb Mowery of debnroo , as well as members of the Internet Merchants Association , the best way to address the new rating system is to "coach" buyers about the importance of the ratings they leave, and why they shouldn't hesitate to leave a 5 rating if everything was fine.
- Here are some of the strategies PowerSellers now use to coach buyers:
- Explaining right in the item listing how the various ratings work, and why leaving a 5 is important if they were satisfied with the transaction
- Sending a follow-up e-mail explaining what DSRs are and how they work, or including this information in one of the status e-mails they send to their buyers
- Including this information on the packing slips placed into their orders
- A combination of the above
- If you search eBay's listings you'll find many sellers are already educating buyers about DSRs. The explanations that work best present a case largely from the buyer's viewpoint. Here's an example from a listing from seller Jacki of mandystreasures :
- "When you give 4 stars, it may seem like a great score, for instance a 4 in Shipping Time means "Quickly;" eBay, however, considers this a sub-par mark. Their standards require sellers to maintain 4.8 & above or be penalized with higher fees & more.
- I strive for 5-star service by stating upfront my policies, my shipping rate & my shipping frequency.
- If you were pleased with this transaction, please respond with all 5 stars! If you are not pleased, let me know via e-mail, and I'll work to make it that way.
- Let's work together to make a great community, full of fabulous bargains & fun for all."
- Robert’s company includes a flyer with each shipment that clearly describes the nonprofit partner’s mission and provides the buyer with more information about Auction Inn’s job training program. That reinforcement helps buyers feel good all over again about the part they’ve played in supporting the nonprofit. That same flyer also encourages buyers to rate the transaction with a 5-star DSR.
- Sellers who are already operating on razor-thin margins (and finding one who isn't is getting difficult) may resent having to take this added step. However, as things stand now there's little choice. Perhaps the best way for sellers to gain back some lost time is to shave time off another part of their operations. One way to do this, of course, is by using auction automation software like Auctiva (and no, we weren't asked to suggest that!).
- Also, keep close track of your standing through your Seller Dashboard, which is available to all sellers who have at least 10 DSRs. More information on Detailed Seller Ratings is available here . You'll notice that eBay also has some ideas for how sellers can improve their ratings. So if you're still feeling a little confused about how to make some of the more recent changes work for you, these tips may help. Just remember, it's true: What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!