|Thu May 30 2013 11:32:11|
eBay Customer Support from a Seller's Point of View
By: Ina Steiner
There's a funny television ad in which a man stationed in what looks like Siberia is handling customer service for a U.S. company. He picks up the phone and tells the customer his name is Peggy in a thick accent, and of course he's quite unhelpful.
Unfortunately many of us can relate to this ad. In fact, many people now refer to customer service reps as "Peggy" in blogs and forums, no explanation needed. (That's not to say there aren't people and companies who deliver great service.) So it was with great interest that I read one particular reader's letter to me about his experience with eBay's customer service department and how it's changed over the years.
During eBay's heydays in the mid 2000's, it appeared eBay management viewed customer service as a pure expense, rather than seeing it as an investment with a positive return - why not get customers quickly back to buying and selling instead of being stuck with a problem, I often wondered after hearing horror stories from readers.
It must also be a source of frustration to eBay product managers to have people complain about features and tools they've worked hard to develop, only to have them hampered because users can't get answers to questions.
Here's one seller's experience with eBay customer service over the years. Please share your story and let us know what kind of service you receive from eBay and other companies in the ecommerce industry.
I enjoy reading your news flash. It seems you really have a good understanding from the sellers point of view. I wanted to know if you have ever covered the changes eBay made regarding seller support?
Here is the background: We have been selling on eBay for 7 years. At one time a few years back we were assigned an account manager. This person was assigned to help us increase our sales and answer our questions. That model lasted a year or so.
Then the support model changed and we were assigned to a pool of account managers that would answer the phone at the 866 number using the assigned pin. The assigned account manager and pool model worked very well for our needs. In most cases, the person we spoke to had a good grasp of the problem after you explained it and would provide a resolution quickly.
A year or so the model changed again and now when we call support we get the general eBay support team.
Needless to say calling the general support line with anything other than a very VERY basic question is like trying to nail jello to a tree. The scenario is usually this:
-We call and explain the problem.
-The person on the other side puts us on hold for 2-5+ mins asks someone a little higher up the chain than they for the answer and relays the info back to us.
-Invariably we have to re-explain the question and go through the hold process again.
-More often than not the problem we called about does not get fixed and there is no followup.
I ran a test to see what support group I would get if I was logged into my personal (not business) eBay account as a buyer. The phone number and the support group I speak with are the same as when I call using my business eBay account.
Maybe we are the only seller in this situation. On my last call to support I asked why the change in support. The rep said it has always been this way (another statement from general support that left us scratching our head yet again).
Our support needs are not enormous. We rarely need to call, but when we do it is imperative that the person on the other side be more than a relay, to a mediocre at best, expert.