Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Aug 21 2016 21:35:51

Would You Pay $400 a Month for Seller Support?

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay and Amazon are realizing that some sellers are willing to pay for access to customer support and are exploring ways to offer it for a fee.

In Monday's Newsflash, we write about two such programs. Amazon is testing a program in which sellers can pay $400/month for a program called Seller Support Plus (SS+). It invited attendees of its recent Women's Entrepreneur Conference to try it out.

And eBay is offering dedicated customer service to sellers with an Anchor Store. In Monday's article, eBay consultant and seller Lynn Dralle provides an example of how she was able to use seller support to quickly resolve what could have turned into a big problem for her with the help of a US agent.

While paid dedicated support isn't provided on eBay separately, it's bundled into the Anchor Stores program, which costs $349.95/month (or $299.95 if you sign up for a yearly subscription).

Look for our articles (available soon), and let us know - what you think of the concept of paying extra to receive customer support. How much would you pay?




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Would You Pay $400 a Month for Seller Support?   Would You Pay $400 a Month for Seller Support?

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

Sun Aug 21 22:10:49 2016

I have an Anchor store and have for several years.

The 'customer support' I'm paying for has NEVER been worse than it is now.

First EVERY time I've called I've had to wait more than an hour, and there was no Call Back option.

Prior to July 1 or whenever it was ebafia began this 'new' program, my wait never exceeded 15 minutes, I always spoke with a US-based CSR, and the call back option returned my call usually within 10 minutes.

Secondly, these 'dedicated' CSRs showed NO interest whatsoever in providing any helpful assistance and couldn't get off the phone fast enough. One said they were in a hurry because are "so many" Anchor stores.

This implies there are far too few CSRs. Anchor store owners are NOT getting their money's worth but that's hardly anything new.

Third, on one occasion a CSR told me he couldn't answer my question because their system was down and promised to call back "as soon as it's back up."

He did not return my call that day or the next necessitating another phone battery draining, frustrating wait for another anti seller CSR.

Shove it, Brian Burke!

In my opinion, ebafia's 'dedicated' customer support is anything but.

Unless, of course, they're defining 'dedicated' as maintaining the sorry status quo.

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by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 21 22:53:22 2016

Id never pay a seperate fee for something that should be included in our outrageous fees and bs we already put up with.

Its like asverising on ebay and amazon...the whole point is that they have the buyers..we pay the fees to get those buyers, but they want to charge for asvertising? Its ridiculous what people do. If yer gonna pay asvertising fees, start yer own website abd adverise on facebook abd google.

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sun Aug 21 23:25:51 2016

No. You shouldn't need support if the venue is professionally operated.

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This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Mon Aug 22 00:28:03 2016

I have a basic eBay store and receive exemplary customer service. An eBay rep calls me back in under 2 minutes 99% of the time — a minimum of several contacts a week on one account or another. So no, I would not pay. ($400?!!?...seriously?)

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

Mon Aug 22 00:29:36 2016

After reading Ina's newsletter, I have additional comments.

In my opinion, ebafia branded boxes (like Amazon') are not only colorful invitations for porch shoppers and only serve to promote ebafia itself NOT any individual seller who uses them.

Plus, they smell bad.

If a seller needs something to solidify their image as an ebafia seller, then have YOUR user ID printed on boxes.

With no warning, I received an MCC099 immediate (my first ever) removal after this 'dedicated' program began which I don't believe was valid. Since I didn't have a spare hour or two to spend waiting for 'customer service,' I changed the title and relisted it a few days later. No problems with that item since.

From my prospective, as usual ebafia is once again guilty of overpromising and underdelivering.

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by: dasw This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 22 00:35:22 2016

For $400 a month you might actually get a real reason why your Amazon Selling Account is being permanently suspended.  

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by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 22 00:43:25 2016

I have an eBay anchor store and I have found CS to be great.  I called and got through immediately to an agent in Utah who resolved my problem quickly.  I was on the phone maybe 5 minutes.

As for the eBay-branded supplies, I like them and use them.  I wouldn't pay their listed prices, but the coupons (from 3 stores) provide plenty of them for free.

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by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 22 02:54:59 2016

I've rarely needed CS on either site.  A couple of the "perks" she mention should just be offered to all sellers.  Why should someone have to pay more to be warned of a fraudulent buyer? Or to have 48 hours to fix a probable mistake in a listing before it is pulled.  These are other good business practices to customers (which all sellers are).

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by: trader_chris This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Aug 22 03:49:10 2016

I sell about $250 K per year on eBay and downgraded last year to a Basic eBay Store, as I realized I was overpaying for features I didn't need with a Premium tier store. eBay gave themselves a raise at my expense this year when I lost my Top Rated Seller status, since I couldn't afford to offer 30 day returns (I sell almost entirely on consignment, so it would have greatly impacted my turnaround time for clients). I think the 12% that eBay and PayPal now take is plenty and don't want to give them a nickel more if I don't have to, unless they plan on some sort of dramatic improvement in service or exposure for me.

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by: kilogirl78 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 22 04:37:10 2016

I would pay it for amazon.  Their seller support is AWFUL.  I get listings pulled with no explanation and then when I call into seller support, they cannot figure it out either. So $400 a month to talk to someone good, I'd pay it.  

Ebay - No way. Actually, I guess I am paying it since I have an anchor store... Hold times are way too long though.  Before it would take 4-10 minutes to get through.  Now my hold times are 30-50 minutes.  

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 22 05:10:46 2016

I don't have an EB store and when I call the response is fairly quick.  And I get an American on the line more now than years ago.  It's free to talk to CSR, so I don't understand why these companies are charging extra.  It should be included.  The banks have free phone support and chat, the retailers - who are making a bundle of money, esp. AMZ, should offer it free to everyone.

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by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 22 05:51:26 2016

There is nothing that Ebay customer support can do to ever help me. Most of the problems are solved using common sense and a knowledge of how Ebay will screw you.

Ebay should pay me the 400 or so for their none existent customer support.

My 6 year old has more knowledge then their programed phone answerers.

Perminate Link for Would You Pay $400 a Month for Seller Support?   Would You Pay $400 a Month for Seller Support?

by: Frank Abagnale This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 22 05:57:21 2016

''An eBay rep calls me back in under 2 minutes 99% of the time — a minimum of several contacts a week on one account or another.''

I guess the high frequency of phone calls to customer support is an indication of the number of problems with ebay.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Aug 22 06:36:11 2016

No, I would not pay for a service that these companies should be providing their customers for free.

Anyone who has every spoken to an eBay CSR knows that the service isn't worth a plug nickle, unless you just like hearing someone read from a script and not actually attend to your actual problem.

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by: Jcords This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Aug 22 07:58:17 2016

A big NO. If a venue is charging a fee for use support should be part of the deal. There is a saying in business ''Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered''. Way too many hogs in Ecommerce.
I avoid any venue that piles charges on top of charges. Many would consider making their site very difficult to navigate to force you to sign up for their ''support'' service.  

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by: go-figure This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 22 08:33:21 2016

ROFLMAO. NO!!!!!

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by: topdog This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 22 08:38:13 2016

My #1 complaint with Amazon - where we're selling $1m+/yr - has been the TERRIBLE "support" that we receive. We have cases stretching back several months that have never been meaningfully addressed, let alone resolved. Lately, the "service" level has gone from bad to completely abysmal - it's very hard to run a medium sized business without the ability to receive decent support. Having a dedicated account rep would help us in many ways - including help us expand our business on their site (which would generate more fees for them).
As a principle, NO, we should not have to pay for this, we're already paying them 20%+ of everything that we sell. Real service should be a given, not an add-on. Making it such just encourages them to make their existing "support" suck even more, so that sellers have no choice but to pay the fee.
However, as a practical matter, I'd likely pay it if it were reasonable - $400mo is far too much in my book. $100, I'd do, maybe $200, provided that we dealt with US based support staff and actually received timely resolution of issues - these things I just doubt will ever happen, at any price

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by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 22 08:53:27 2016

WOW, I have to say, ebay or amazon must be paying some of these posters today.
I have an anchor store but only because (according to the fee estimator) it was only going to be about 30.00 less to ditch it.
#1  I would not EVER pay 400.00 a MONTH to talk to ANYBODY. That is just ridiculous. I have not needed ebay's special support but have no thought that they would do anything but frustrate me if I did. Did they hire different reps? No, same old non-helpful lying ones, no thanks. The story in the original article is simply a CSR telling a lie to someone who should have known better. 1) If a seller refuses to pay and will wait 7 days, by that time the entire process of non paying bidder can be started (thus no neg) and reporting is nearly concluded. 2) You can cancel (I would use address problem) and give them their money back, even when people do not "accept" their money back, it still gets cancelled and they still got their money back. 3) I do not know if this is a "ding" but if you are selling enough to have an anchor store, this "ding" should not be a factor assuming you are primarily a good seller. 4) If it had not worked out and she would have needed them again, she would have found out there was no record of that conversation.
I would never pay amazons seller support, although you MAY get help, it is just as often as ebay's, an unhelpful lie. Sure, you pay 40.00 a month, but the minimum 1.00 fee per item is way too much, so they get enough money.
On amazon, read the policies, utilize the forums, and the help section and this will answer 99.9% of your questions for free. Occasionally, you may need to cancel but your metrics are right there, you can do the math yourself and figure out if you can do so or not, rarely do I have to call amazon over a buyer issue. Amazon's problem is their catalog and you paying 400 a month is not going to change that. They are not changing it or most of their China loving policies because you pay them 400 a month.
#2 Free mediocre boxes and tape are not impressive.
#3 Promoted listings are not really working for me, I have yet to use up 25.00 and have 70% of my items on there.
#4 It would take me quite a while to build up 10000 listings and if I did already have that many, this would not even be a second thought so not sure why it is even mentioned.
#5 I have used the warning to fix a couple items but, they have ended far more due to their own glitches than they ever saved and that is just in the last 2 weeks. I know it would not have been worth 400 a month to save those as they were problems due to not selling or being updated since 2007. FYI: If you are paying the MOST money they ask for, you cannot be circumventing ebay fees!
Now, if someone can give me an example of how an ebay anchor store gets full exposure in search, elimination of unfair neg/neutral comments, return/refund scammer help, this would be special, the rest is BS!
By the way, my "bill" is actually way more than 1000 a month so I think I pay both of these venues enough for what they actually do.
Stop drinking the ebay/amazon kool-aid people!

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by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 22 09:06:24 2016

From the amazon article:
"By understanding you and your unique business, the Seller Success Manager will seek to remove persistent technical barriers and offer coaching opportunities during the course of your escalations."
So they are basically just going to tell ME what I did wrong? Right, I should pay 400 a month for a dedicated person to read me a script? Use the free help in the amazon forum instead.  Sounds like they are taking advantage of some women who do not know better.
1) If the problem is technical, should amazon not take care of that themselves, wouldn't this affect others besides the complainer?
2) If the problem must be "escalated", then exactly what help was paying 400 to someone to help from the beginning of it? She they not have helped thus no escalation needed?
Total BS!

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by: Frank F This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 22 09:06:44 2016

This lady that is promoting ebay needs to understand that you don't get 10,000 free listings, LOL! You are paying $349.99 to get those 'free listings'. Ebay constantly calls these free listings, but if you are paying a price for a packages of services and features, they are NOT FREE! So tired of hearing that the # of listings I PAY for with my store subscription are Free. That is false advertising on ebays part... And WHY would I pay for 10,000 listings when I have 2,500?????!!!

And yes, the supplies smell like formeldahide and are WAY overpriced. How about fixing the search, eliminate off-ebay Ads that you stick into my PAID listings, put a stop to the trademark infringing and policy violating Chinese sellers, and QUIT picking the winners and losers!!!!!! These criminal Chinese sellers violate all your policies and are stealing and leeching from U.S. brands, and they are always at the top of your best match search results and are obviously your loved ones or its actually ebay doing it under the Chinese cover...

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