Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon July 30 2012 09:59:36

eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay sellers began mentioning in July they were being transferred to overseas customer service representatives when calling in for support. EcommerceBytes readers specifically mentioned speaking to agents based in the Philippines or Asia rather than the U.S. agents they say they usually talked to when phoning eBay customer service.

In response to my inquiry, eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff said eBay was committed to providing the best customer experience and service "while balancing the needs of our customers, teammates and shareholders."

"We have not made any significant changes to our customer service model or routing process recently," she said, "but we often make minor adjustments in the spirit of continuous improvement. We appreciate and value customer feedback and will continue to evaluate our performance to make improvements where necessary."

It's clear from what I hear from sellers and from what I read not only in ecommerce industry boards but across the Internet, people prefer to speak to customer service reps that sound like them.

Does the location of a customer service rep matter to sellers when they are trying to solve problems, or is the ability of the agent to offer assistance more important? What has your experience been with eBay and other ecommerce companies? And have you noticed any changes with eBay rep location this month?




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps   eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps

by: 10 year seller This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 30 10:19:18 2012

"service reps that sound like them".

We don't care if they "sound like us". It critical that we speak to reps  who understand English and speak clearly.

Perminate Link for eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps   eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps

This user has validated their user name. by: basset

Mon Jul 30 10:53:19 2012

Communication is two way. We should be able to understand the CSR and they should be able to understand us. Not only the language, but the experience.

For example, if you are having shipment issues - the CSR should have basic knowledge of how the shipping system (in the country the caller is doing business in) is carried out from the consumer perspective. I don't have a clue about India's (for example) shipping system & most Indian CSR's don't have a clue about USA's. In turn, I would make a terrible CSR for an Indian business. Basic knowledge gained through experience of how things work in a country is usually required to state and understand a problem.

Hope I don't jinx it, but my last several experiences with eBay customer service has been with (most likely) Americans or Canadians, & most have been quite helpful. They don't always know the technical answers on why ''glitches'' happen, but can usually guide me around them.  

Perminate Link for eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps   eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 30 12:21:41 2012

Good article. Outsourcing customer support is old news, even at eBay. I used to get ''offshore'' reps who thumbed through pages while trying to address my issue. I don't care who provides support, so long as they provide support--but the only reason American companies farm this work out is cost-cutting. My company pays Indians roughly a fifth of what they paid the employees here. And we get what we pay for. Quality of service isn't a factor in the equation regardless whether the employees speak English fluently or not. The very nicest American reps mainly just empathize with callers and tell us that resistance is futile.

Perminate Link for eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps   eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Mon Jul 30 12:30:28 2012

How can you tell when an eBay spokesperson is lying? Their lips are moving ...

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Perminate Link for eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps   eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Jul 30 12:31:55 2012

As a seller, I strongly oppose being connected with customer service agents who are not in the United States.

It is bad enough that many US CSA's have never bought or sold on eBay and are totally reliant on eBay generated scripts when it comes to resolving issues.

Add the fact that a CSA is not located in the USA, to the formula of never buying or selling on eBay and the perfect storm of incompetence develops. Not only does the agent fail to understand you, but in the process of taking keywords in your description of the issue and trying to fit them into eBay's customer service script generator, the process is becomes a nightmare.

I have found a way to avoid having to deal with overseas CSA's.

Always call during normal business hours as calls after business hours are going to be sent overseas.

If and when you get an agent with a heavy accent, stop the conversation, apologize to the agent, inform them that you have a hearing impairment which makes it difficult for you to understand them and request that you be transferred to the US Customer Service Team.

I have used this tactic many times and I am transferred immediately.

Perminate Link for eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps   eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps

by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 30 12:34:14 2012

I agree with the first 2 posters,
and will add that I find over seas CSRS less sincere because they cannot relate to our issues and it does not take long for you to realize they are only reading a script and only follow the script.

It is also very hard to understand them no matter how hard they try and FAKE it.

It has also been my expericence that these reps REFUSE to let you talk to someone over them and ALWAYS hang up on you when you ask.

I do not know if it is because they fear losing their jobs or if that is part of the SCRIPTED procedure.

My advise to ebay is, stop spending the ebay funds to finance all of your other  foolish adventures and spend at least some of that money on making ebay better.

If they did that then there would plenty of money to afford domestic reps.  

Perminate Link for eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps   eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Mon Jul 30 12:44:19 2012

Ina writes: ''people prefer to speak to customer service reps that sound like them.''

Hmmm... I think that's an oversimplification, and as-written, it reflects negatively on the callers and suggests that an irrational intolerance is prevalent.

In my case, I really don't care if someone speaks with an accent. I merely require that I be able to UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY ARE SAYING. They must have the ability to speak clearly and plainly enough, demonstrating a command of the language that's suitable for business. ALSO... they should be able to understand ME.

It's irrelevant if someone ''sounds like me''... that's not important. Whether their accent is Asian, Indian, Hispanic, Deep-South, Wisconsin or Boston... as long as we can communicate and understand each other, that's the bottom line.

Perminate Link for eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps   eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps

by: renaissancegirl This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 30 14:02:57 2012

I find that nine out of ten times when I call eBay customer service I spend adequate time clearly explaining the reason for my call and then when I get to the end of the issue they have absolutely no idea why I called. I have to explain and re-explain. The majority of the time the issue is not resolved and many times I even end up educating customer service on eBay policies! One time I got the nicest eBay person on the phone who told me she is in the US and she told me that she gets so upset because people yell and scream at her all day long. I felt bad for her but definitely understand the frustration from our end.
 

Perminate Link for eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps   eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 30 15:12:42 2012

LMAO ... is there REALLY a difference?

eBay CS agents have no authority to do anything, wont do anything, just placate you, and then hang up on you.

Yes it would be nice if they all "spoke the queens English" but int he grand scheme of life on eBay it doesnt matter, since afterwards nothing happens.

 

Perminate Link for eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps   eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Mon Jul 30 15:27:05 2012

Typical corporatist BaySpeak.

Translation: we could care less what our customers need or want. We're going to do it OUR way.

It's a rare CSR in any country who actually provides help. They're not there to help or to solve problems. They're there to tell sellers to clear their cache, offer free shipping, and delight their customers.

Perminate Link for eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps   eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps

by: Harriet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 30 16:13:08 2012

Basically eBay and other companies that ship CSR oversease with people who cannot be understood, don't have one care about their customer service. It is an annoyance that they have to provide.

Interesting that eBay is so diligent in making sure their sellers provide excellent customer service and make a "delightful selling experience" to "delight" their buyers, when their own customers' experiences are the exact opposite of "delightful"..... Horrible is what they are.

How ingenuous and insincere can a company be???

No one at eBay cares at all.

Perminate Link for eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps   eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps

by: Harriet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 30 16:13:45 2012

oversease= overseas

Perminate Link for eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps   eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 30 16:18:45 2012

LOL eBay gets a 1 in communication - since 1/2 the time its not understandable, and they lie to you.

Perminate Link for eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps   eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Mon Jul 30 16:42:45 2012

eBay's Hoff says: ''We have not made any significant changes to our customer service model or routing process recently,'' she said, ''but we often make minor adjustments in the spirit of continuous improvement. We appreciate and value customer feedback and will continue to evaluate our performance to make improvements where necessary.''

Is there a technical term (or a business term) for this type of response? Seriously. No... I'm not looking for any ugly name-calling or pejorative terms.

This type of non-responsive, non-committal, admit-nothing, deny-nothing, promise-nothing, fact-avoiding response is all they seem to know how to do. No matter what the question, or who the speaker is... this is the type of response.(Hoff gets the Gold Medal, Griff gets the Silver)

I wonder if they realize that they have become a parody of themselves. A caricature of a caricature of a caricature... with features that become so exaggerated that they are unrecognizably absurd.

It would almost be funny, except for the fact that they're being serious... and that just makes it sad.

Perminate Link for eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps   eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps

by: mylifeisgood This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 30 16:43:09 2012

Its doesn't matter where they are or what language they speak...All you ever get out of customer service is just what you want to hear...

Customer service is non existant at fleabay or pigpay.

Perminate Link for eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps   eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Jul 30 18:15:24 2012

Annie Asks "Is there a technical term (or a business term) for this type of response? "

Doublespeak or Corporate Doublespeak would be the term that comes to mind.

Doublespeak is language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words. Doublespeak may take the form of euphemisms (e.g., "downsizing" for layoffs, "servicing the target" for bombing [1]), making the truth less unpleasant, without denying its nature. It may also be deployed as intentional ambiguity, or reversal of meaning (for example, naming a state of war "peace"). In such cases, doublespeak disguises the nature of the truth, producing a communication bypass.[2][3]  (Source Wikipedia)  

Perminate Link for eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps   eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Mon Jul 30 18:43:36 2012

Thanks for the info, Ric.

Are they not aware of how silly they sound? Do they think that we do not have the mental capacity to see through it?

Can you imagine someone at eBay saying something as straightforward and honest as: ''We outsourced our call-center operators in an effort to save money. We now know that this was a mistake and has affected the level of service that our valuable sellers deserve to receive. Our plans are increase the number of stateside operators and eventually cease outsourcing this important service.''

This nonsense of ''significant changes'' resulting in ''minor adjustments'' and ''balancing the needs'' and ''teammates'' and ''evaluate our performance'' is for the birds!

Complete hogwash! Everyone knows it's a lie. I'm sure that Ms. Hoff is intelligent enough to know it too. (How does she sleep at night? Has she no soul?)

Re-read every quote from Ms. Hoff using the voice of ''Mr. Burns'' (from TV's ''The Simpsons'') and the true meaning of her words become clearer than ever. The hidden insincerity and stealth sarcasm springs to the surface.

Perminate Link for eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps   eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 30 19:34:07 2012

I called Paypal about a label printing problem and, of course they shifted me over to Ebay.  The woman had such a thick accent that I could barely understand her.  In the end, I felt Ebay should keep those jobs right here, in America....where they made their MONEY! Its the least they could do for their sellers and customers!

Perminate Link for eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps   eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Mon Jul 30 21:34:22 2012

I find it more diffiCULT to communicate with the hosts of The eBay Radio Show.

Perminate Link for eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps   eBay and Online Sellers Prefer Domestic Customer Service Reps

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Mon Jul 30 22:26:40 2012

Of course ebafia has to meet the needs of its shareholders.

Check for yourself and discover how many shares of its own stock ebafia owns and how many shares are part of executive compensation.

What we have here is a decision making process whose purpose is to further enrich company executives.

It isn't the accents I mind as long as the CSR is understandable. What I do strenuously object to is the lack of training, lack of knowledge, script laden garbage I hear regardless of where the CSR is.

They're not empowered to be of any genuine assistance to sellers. Consequently, they do little more than further antagonize sellers.

The CSRs are simply for us noise. The big boys NEVER deal with them.

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