|Sun May 30 2010 20:47:34|
eBay Conducts Survey on Seller Problems and Feedback
By: Ina Steiner
There has been an uptick in the number of surveys eBay has been conducting recently, with eBay asking about the types of problems sellers are experiencing and about their views on its feedback system.
On May 9th, I wrote about a comprehensive survey eBay conducted that revealed its concern over rivals, particularly Amazon, Google and Craigslist, and revealed which retailers it considered to be its top competitors in various categories. More recently, eBay asked sellers about the types of problems they were having, and also about their thoughts on eBay's feedback system and how useful it is.
I thought it was interesting that eBay was using a survey to gather data about the types of problems sellers have. eBay should have access to much of this information by data-mining its customer service records - if you can assume that all eBay users can successfully reach customer service and that customer service reps can, and do, accurately document their problems.
In its survey, eBay asked if sellers had experienced problems with buyers who extorted them or were unreasonable. In a recent eBay Radio podcast, eBay CEO John Donahoe had discussed with Griff "the notion that sellers have that there are abusive buyers, and that they're being abused by the buyers."
John said, "It's clear to me that we are not communicating effectively what is already happening and that we can do more." eBay already filters out buyers that leave systematic ones and twos if higher than the norm, and, he said, "I want to go to the next stage so sellers don't have to worry about abusive buyers." Abusive buyers are obviously on John Donahoe's mind - he had also raised the issue in an interview with eBay's corporate blogger, where he said there was room for improvement and he wanted to do more about the problem of abusive buyers.
The survey asked respondents how satisfied they were with eBay protecting sellers from fraudulent buyers, and with eBay providing disciplinary action against buyers when needed. (eBay also asked how satisfied they were with eBay providing disciplinary action against sellers when needed.)
The other kinds of problems eBay believes sellers are having were listed as answers to the survey question, "Please think about your recent visits to eBay, and indicate which of the following problems, if any, you have experienced in the last 6 months. Select all that apply." The graphic shows a list of the problems. The survey also asked what problems they had experienced while communicating with buyers on eBay.
eBay also surveyed sellers about its feedback system, asking if they believed it allowed buyers to be honest in the feedback they leave for sellers without fear of retaliation, whether it improved the trustworthiness of eBay, and other such questions. Sellers were asked if they agreed that the feedback system allowed them to fix problems with buyers before their reputation was negatively impacted, allowed them to protect themselves against unreasonable buyers, and whether it was a fair system.
eBay is asking sellers about the fairness of the feedback system shortly before they will be rolling out the ability for buyers to filter a seller's negative and neutral feedback ratings on the U.S. and Canada sites (this feature is already in place on international eBay sites).
Best Match was also included in the survey, with eBay asking respondents for their opinion on how much various factors influenced where an item appeared in search results on eBay when sorted by "Best Match," including feedback ratings, the quantity of past sales or page views, the seller's performance on eBay, the relevance of the item to the keywords entered/categories selected, shipping fees and competitive pricing. (In other words, "We won't reveal the Best Match algorithm, but we want to know if you know what we know.")
Another reader wrote about an eBay survey he had taken recently that took him 20 minutes to complete. "They inquired if you use eBay or Third Party tools in those areas - product research, printing shipping, managing inventory, monitoring fees, photo hosting, etc. Here was the kicker - they also asked which one of those areas (product research, printing shipping, etc. etc.) would you be willing to PAY EXTRA for. Geez, with the latest round of increases being the highest ever, don't most sellers pay enough?"