Wednesday, February 20, 2008

eBay's Current Feedback System is Unreal!

Okay, I know in my last post I said I was tired of writing about eBay, but when I saw the latest Customer Satisfaction data I just had to pipe in.

According to the article, using a 100 point scale, here is a sampling of the "Feedback" ratings for certain industries:
  • The online retail industry received the highest rating of 83 out of 100, led by Amazon (the article didn't breakout individual company ratings). That means that 17% of customers shopping online were unhappy with their experience. On eBay, a Feedback rating of 83 would get you kicked off the site.
  • The Auto industry received an 82, thanks mostly to Toyota.
  • The Airline Industry received a 63
  • The Cellphone business received a 62

This is why eBay's Feedback system is so unreliable. There is very little differentiation between sellers in the current system. How is a customer supposed to decide between sellers when just about everybody has a rating of 98% or better?

I know that sellers are upset about the effect that eBay's feedback changes will have on their business, but even a seller that has a 100% feedback did not actually please every customer. On eBay, Feedback is your reputation, and nobody messes with a seller's reputation, but in order for it to be meaningful, to anybody but the seller, it has to be real.

Just my 12%


Sue Bailey said...

Isn't that the point of the changes to the feedback system, that more sellers *will* have lower (much lower) f/b scores? It seems like they're trying to offer greater differentiation...

...but then they make moves to make it impossible for the lower-scored sellers to continue trading. They want everyone at 99%+ for real, not just because 99% is what everyone always has. Everyone who's even a little bit below par is going to be pushed off the site in the next few months.

I truly believe that JD wants an eBay where every transaction really is 100% for buyers, where eBay is the safest and most reliable and quickest shipping site on the net. If it works, it'll make eBay a superb place to trade for buyers.

And lets face it, that security promise is the only USP eBay have left; back in 1995, websites were difficult and expensive to set up, and search engines were rubbish. eBay was a great place to find things you couldn't find anywhere else. Now you can find anything online anywhere; they have to reinvent themselves as the buyer's champion, or there's no point to them any more.

Just my five centimes ;-)

Randy Smythe said...

Very valid points. The feedback scores will become more real but eBay will have to adjust their standards down or there will be nobody left to sell.

The cost of perfect customer service is way too expensive.

Anonymous said...

This is the best synopsis of the problem I've seen.

Of course buyers should have a positive experience. Most everyone will agree on that.

But like you said Randy, eBay's standards are in need of adjustment to be realistic. My prediction is that sellers who support the changes now will be singing a different tune in Q4 of this year (or sooner), when the "bad" sellers are gone, along with their wares.

Sellers draw buyers to the site. Less sellers = less product = less buyers.


Randy Smythe said...

Steve, it sure is going to be interesting to watch. I don't have any "skin in the game" so I'm not emotionally vested in this.

Thanks for the comment.

Tony P. said...

"I don't have any "skin in the game" so I'm not emotionally vested in this."

Statements from ebay have less denial in them! LOL, in fact, ROTFLMAO

Randy, every one of your seller friends could pull out of ebay... you could have nothing listed there... you might even have not Blogged about ebay for months (LOL- sorry)

and still your blood would boil if they screw da pooch any farther. They hooked you, baby! You know it.

They do that to everyone that sells there. That's why the sellers raise so much hell, even as those same sellers pack up and leave. They turn back for a look-see; just waiting for a hint that the Soap Opera is over and everything returns to ____ (fill in the blank with personal wish).

As far as the Feedback/DSR thingy, it is really simple. A large percentage of the buyers rate the Shipping aspect of the transaction as if they are taking a survey, rating the actual cost of the particular service.

e.g. I was charged $16 for a 5-pound box shipped cross-country! That SUCKS!!! Here's your #2 star!

Meanwhile, the actual cost is $15.85, but that doesn't mean squat to a pissed-off person in today's economic climate. And we can only guess at what level they will be pissed after the USPS rates go up this May.

In conclusion (thank GAWD, he's gonna shutup!):

The current feedback/DSR system doesn't reflect the true, underlying aspect of a seller's performance. Over time, all sellers' ratings are inflated.

The future feedback/DSR system will not reflect the true, underlying aspect of a seller's performance. Over time, all sellers' ratings are deflated.

Simply going from one exteme to another. That's all.

Randy Smythe said...

Tony, you are correct, I am hooked.