So, you think you are a professional seller? That phrase can be understood in at least several ways, as written words often carry various weights as opposed to spoken words which make it easier to discern a tone. Selling strictly online with a platform such as TCGplayer means you might never see or speak in person with any of your customers, and all avenues of communication will likely be digital. When it comes to business communications, here are five tips to progress you to your next level.

  1. Attitude is key. The definition of attitude is a way of feeling or acting toward a person, thing or situation. According to Sir Winston Churchill, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Therefore, responding to messages and concerns with the right attitude can swiftly transform problems into opportunities. Maintaining a negative attitude, on the other hand, will deteriorate your business and drive away would be customers. Turn frustration into fascination and more is learned because a positive attitude achieves positive results. 

  2. Language is an essential element. Vocabulary brings common ground. Pick up the feelings in the words utilized. Decision making is based on how well you can read. An irate customer might say, for example, “shoving cards in toploaders is unacceptable” or “every single card is damaged” on a large order. This customer may be suffering from extrinsic factors unrelated to their order. Perhaps, traffic was hectic or their manager chewed them out before leaving work or the hamburger with no pickles came with extra pickles. Utilizing loving language can help bridge the gap. This can be done using a phrase like “you can count on me/us” or the use of good manners like “please and thank you.” Try your best to assist and don’t forget that you can always escalate your thread and TCGplayer’s customer service team will step in to assist.

    Precise vocabulary and statements will also prevent miscommunications. When hearing or utilizing a phrase like “a lot of cards,” the “a lot” part can mean one million or twenty-thousand cards. Being precise with your words will facilitate customer service concerns in a smooth fashion because the likelihood of confusion will diminish.

    A pro tip is to utilize words which galvanize your readers into action or bestow a feeling of warmth. Examples of these words are because, you, guaranteed, and happiness. The human brain loves explanations because it offers a reason for your previous thought/idea. You adds a personalized touch, making your statement authentically special. Guaranteed offers reassurance in an inauthentic world. Fun fact: the best selling books in the 1990s implement variations of the word happy in the title and text. Words can work miracles because they are all made up but affect people like poetry.

  3. Abstaining from jumping to conclusions is a critical component. Before engaging with a customer, apply the principle of humility which states that you don’t know everything, you have been wrong before, and you may learn something. A message like “I have yet to receive my order” is one of the most common messages to enter a sellers inbox. It is crucial here that you give benefit of the doubt. There are plenty of times where mail will get lost and you will have to act appropriately. When receiving a message like “I have yet to receive my order,” remember that your customer may not realize or recall that transit time is counted with business days and that holidays, when USPS is closed, will further slow down transit times. Follow this by using a calendar to count business days since you have shipped and help gauge a time-frame as to when they should expect their order.

    In another article on the seller blog, TCGplayer covers pre-written customer service responses to common issues like condition complaints, inaccuracy in orders, and missing packages. Having consistent responses to questions you often receive allows for efficiency while offering professional and unbiased solutions.

  4. Information overload creates customer service disasters. If your customer leaves negative feedback and you respond with a lengthy message, it may escalate the situation, dragging it out and making it worse, which ultimately wastes time. This is because of all the excess information when, in reality, a statement such as “We/I see you have left negative feedback stating ‘X card was erroneous.’ How would you like us/me to resolve this and enhance your shopping experience today?” An X statement followed by a Y preference question is a solution.

    Key note here for solutions is preference. Keeping it simple and getting straight to the point allows for the results of your method to be easily measured and understood. When you measure methods appropriately, an FAQ response document can be prepared to help avoid information overload which simultaneously increases work efficiency and saves on labor costs.

  5. Distinguish yourself with a unique approach or style when handling customer service challenges. Practicing different approaches increases your skillset and helps you figure out what works best for you or your company’s personality. One approach that can be done is utilizing a comedic approach including a joke or utilizing a thoughtful handwritten note in every order shipped. Approaches like these allow every seller to offer a uniquely tailored experience to each customer and helps solidify their customer base. Remember practice is just as valuable as a sale. The sale will make you a living, but the skills will make you a fortune.

    In order to hone your style, reading your audience is paramount and listening to them is equally important. Get constant feedback. Have something good to say. Take a genuine interest and fascination with some of the insight that a customer provides. You can, for example, stand out by typically responding to all messages in your inbox in 6-12 hours. This can be said because highly common negative feedback revolves around bad seller communication more than the actual predicament at hand. By reading/actively listening and responding to feedback like this, it only further bridges the gap between buyer and seller and may actually significantly improve your company’s reputation. It’s common knowledge that a buyer prefers a higher rated seller. Customers will be more prone to communicating with a seller that takes an active interest. Your reputation will do a lot of the work for you before you even lift a finger.

There you have it: a guideline with five steps to grow and expand your business, while communicating with your customers efficiently and effectively.