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Common Amazon issues and how to resolve them - with Vicki Weinberg
Episode 10715th April 2022 • Bring Your Product Idea to Life • Vicki Weinberg
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I share my top tips for how to resolve and solve common issues you may encounter when selling on Amazon.

EPISODE NOTES

**Please remember to rate and review the podcast - it really helps others to find it.**

Today on the podcast I want to talk about common issues that you can come across when selling on Amazon. Unfortunately these issues are quite common, but most of them can be solved.

My aim today is to share my tips and advice so that you don’t get put off by any problems you encounter, and are empowered as to how best to tackle them yourself.

Too many people encounter problems on Amazon that are tricky to solve, and give up selling on there, which is such a shame as I genuinely believe it is a brilliant platform for many product businesses. My hope is you find this episode useful, and don’t forget, you can always contact me for help if needed.

As always, I would love for you to listen in and let me know what you think.

Listen in to hear me share:

  • The challenges of dealing with Amazon Seller Support (02:19)
  • Common issues that can arise when selling on Amazon (05:31)
  • How to avoid having issues with your account (11:47)
  • Why research is your friend (12:15)
  • How long to allow for account set up (13:42)
  • What to do when things go wrong(14:38)
  • Why persistence is key (18:47)
  • Contacting Amazon Seller Support by phone (20:32)
  • Why Amazon Seller Support can be so poor (21:36)
  • My main piece of advice (23:14)

USEFUL RESOURCES:

My free resources

My website

GS1UK - for Amazon Barcodes

LET’S CONNECT

Join my free Facebook group for product makers and creators

Find me on Instagram

Work with me 

Mentioned in this episode:

Get your FREE Amazon launch guide

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Transcripts

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Welcome to the, Bring Your Product Ideas To Life podcast, practical advice,

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and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products.

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Here's your host Vicki Weinberg.

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Hello.

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So this is another solo episode from me and I have another

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Amazon episode for you today.

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So I really wanted to record this episode because I want to touch on something that

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people can find surprising and really frustrating about selling on Amazon.

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And then I want to give you some practical tips and advice on how to handle it.

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So I've not really been shy at sharing that Amazon can be a hard marketplace

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to sell on for lots of reasons.

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Um, won't go to all of those reasons today, but I mean, I think it's fair

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to say that lots of things can go wrong and sometimes things do go wrong.

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And most people who sell on Amazon will come against will come up

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against issues from time to time.

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And today, what I want to talk about is how to resolve issues with

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selling on Amazon, particularly if you're just starting out.

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Because I think when you're in those early days and you know, perhaps

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you don't feel that competent about what you're doing anyway,

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perhaps it's completely new to you.

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It can be real, knock when things get hard and things don't work as you

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expect them to, and as they should.

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So today I'm going to be really honest about some of the things that

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can go wrong when you get started and what you can do to overcome

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them, or perhaps even avoid them.

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If you are wanting to learn how to navigate Amazon seller

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central, this really won't be the right episode for that.

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I do offer one off training sessions on how to use Amazon seller

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central, if that would help you.

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But to be honest, there is far too much to cover here, and it's

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really best if I can deal with your specific questions or issues.

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Um, so you can book in a session with me by the link in the show

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notes or via vickiweinberg.com

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so that's the vickiweinberg.com.

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We are going to be talking a lot about using Amazon seller central today,

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but in terms of how you actually set up an account or how you actually

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set up a listing, that's definitely something that's best to handle, um,

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for you directly, because it's much too big a topic to cover on a podcast.

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So the part let's talk about the reason for this episode.

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Sometimes I feel people really don't believe me when I tell them how bad an

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experience dealing with Amazon seller support and Amazon in general can be as

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for Amazon customers its usually pretty good, but I mean, you see all sorts of

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issues, you know, you get issues, you, you raise a case with seller support

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who were like the customer service team.

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And quite often it seems like maybe they haven't read your question or they

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haven't looked at the background or the response you get might seem like

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it's a bit of a template response.

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You know, something that doesn't apply directly to you.

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Um, and to be fair, I'm assuming that they are super, super busy, but as sellers that

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really doesn't help us, um, to give you a real example of this, I recently started

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working for new client and the brief was to set up his listings on Amazon.

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And I'm not going to lie when I tell you it's taken us about five

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weeks to get all of his listings set up and looking as we wanted to.

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And, um, uh, first of all, I should say that that's rare that

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doesn't happen all of the time.

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Um, sometimes, you know, if it, most of the time I can get everyone's listing

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set up and they're fine, but there were lots of things that went wrong.

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So just to give you a bit of background, he used to sell these products a long

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time ago, and it seemed like Amazon had retained all of the old data.

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So when we were trying to set up the listings of nice newly written

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titles and product descriptions, they didn't want to accept all of those.

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Some reason they did some but not others.

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Um, they wanted to use sort of different older listings.

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They had retained in their system rather than the lovely new professional

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photographs we were adding.

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And I'm not gonna lie.

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It took so much time to get it set up.

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And at first I think he probably maybe felt it was me, but, um, luckily

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could see sorts of, um, the, the emails from back and forth between

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me and seller support and realize actually it was something there end.

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And, but, um, it felt like every step there was another hassle.

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So yeah, it really can happen.

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And even if you're really competent on Amazon and you really know what

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you're doing as I consider myself to be, um, sometimes things do not

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go as you'd expect them to, and it's absolutely no fault of your own.

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And I should probably say now that this isn't actually meant

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to be a negative episode, um, it's actually quite the opposite.

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I just want to share with you the fact that things, you know, issues

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do arise when you start selling on Amazon and just kind of give you

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some advice on how to deal with them.

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Because one thing that I see is people given up completely

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because things get really hard.

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Um, things go wrong, it can be hard to get them fixed.

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They go back and forth on emails, perhaps trying to get issues resolved,

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and then they just give up and go, do you know what this isn't for me?

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Um, and I really think that doesn't have to be the case.

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Also, I should say, I don't mean to scare you.

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Everything I share that can go wrong can also be fixed.

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And I'm going to tell you how it can be fixed, because I think lots of

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you know, that I genuinely believe Amazon can be a great place to sell.

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And if Amazon is a really good fit for your product and you know, that's

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where your customers are, I think it would be a real shame for you

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to give up because you've had a bad experience either way of getting your

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listing set up or with the support you've had from Amazon seller central.

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So.

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So let's talk briefly about what kind of issues can arise when

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you start selling on Amazon.

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So I'm just going to give you a list of things I've either

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seen or experienced myself.

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And I'm not talking about the big things here.

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I'm not talking about things that, you know, could potentially

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get your account closed down.

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I'm just going to talk about the smaller things that can prevent you

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from getting started, or really knock you if you've just started selling

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and then something goes wrong because.

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I'm thinking that possibly quite possibly, you might be in that situation.

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And I'm really hoping that what I share here will make you feel, I don't know,

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but maybe a bit better that this isn't just you, these things, you know, as

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common as an idea, we have so many accounts work, so many sellers every week.

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Um, a lot of what I'm sharing here is common.

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There's very few things I've seen only happened to one person.

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And also, as I say, give you some advice on what you can do yourself

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to resolve this, or I hope this gives you lots of confidence.

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So some of the things that can go wrong is you might find out that the product

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or category that you want to list your product in is restricted, and you need

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to get approval to create listings.

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Um, that generally isn't a problem or of an issue, but it's something

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that might take a little bit longer.

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So it could be an issue if you've only given yourself a few days, let's say to

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get your account set up and you think, oh gosh, this is going to add another

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two or three days onto my timeline.

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So I'll say right straight.

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Now give yourself as much time as you can to get yourself set up, knowing

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that things sometimes do go wrong.

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And even if things go brilliantly, worst case scenario is you have

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your account and your listings all set up a little bit early.

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And then you've got the peace of mind that that's done.

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So give yourself enough time.

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So you might have issues with setting up your product listing, for

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example, some issues with barcodes.

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I think I've mentioned before that any barcodes that you use, if your product

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does indeed need barcodes and we'll come onto that in a moment, if your product

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does need to have barcodes, you need to purchase those barcodes from GS one.

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Um, That's the place where there's only place Amazon accepts barcodes from.

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Please bear that in mind.

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Um, but you can still, even with that have issue.

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So for example, very recently, I worked with a seller who created a

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new listing and Amazon said, well, you can't use that barcode because

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that's registered to another product.

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And it turns out that another company had used her barcode, how

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Amazon allowed that to happen.

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Who knows.

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Um, it took me weeks to get that sorted out.

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Despite the fact clearly, you know, the lady I was working with was wasn't in

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the wrong, in any way someone else had used her barcode about her knowledge,

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um, not her fault, possibly not even the fault of the person who did it.

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Maybe they, I don't know.

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Let's, let's assume they mistyped a digit or something.

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Let's hope they weren't doing anything malicious, but it did take

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us a couple of weeks and prevent us from launching, because we couldn't,

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obviously, until we sorted that out,

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So maybe you're using wording in your product listing or title.

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That's quite similar to another listing and Amazon mistakenly

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thinks it's the same product.

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Again, it's something that you can resolve, but it can be annoying.

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Um, maybe it's issues with the brand.

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Say for example, maybe the brand name you're using already exists, or

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maybe you haven't typed your brand name in exactly as you registered it.

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Or, it doesn't match the one you submitted when setting up your account.

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So these really small things do matter.

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Maybe the product text, your submitted isn't displaying as, as you send

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it in or perhaps it's not updating.

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So let's say that you set up some dummy listings, just to

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make sure you have them there.

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And maybe you just put some placeholder text.

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Now you want to add your real text, but your real text isn't getting accepted.

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That's something that can happen.

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Maybe your listings are suppressed or inactive because you haven't filled

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in a field that you need to fill in.

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So whether it's ingredients, if you're selling like a grocery product or

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maybe it's dimensions for another product or material, if you're selling

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clothing, whatever it is, it might be that you've missed out a field.

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And so.

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Listings you're being suppressed or maybe it's because you're using wording

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that you can't actually use on Amazon.

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Um, maybe your images aren't updating or Amazon randomly using other

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incorrect images on your listing.

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Again, I saw this happen to a client recently who sold

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a product in two versions.

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Like, um, it's the same product.

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There are two variations of it, basically.

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And Amazon was showing the same picture for both, even though they definitely

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had different distinct images.

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They don't really explain why they do these things because when you

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submit images for your products, they then tell you on that page,

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actually, we're going to use the images we feel are most appropriate.

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And in this case, they decided that the images that were most

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appropriate, weren't the right ones.

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Quite bizarre does happen, can be sorted.

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Um, maybe you're actually having issues with getting your account set up.

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So for example, with getting everything validated.

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Um, something that I see fairly often is sellers set up their account and

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then they leave it for a little while.

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Cause maybe they set up their account well ahead of time.

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And then a month later they think okay, I'm going to set up my listings now.

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And then Amazon say, well, hang on, you want to set up listings?

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We need to do some more validation before you can do.

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So while I say, give yourself plenty of time, do do that, but also, you know,

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aim to set up your listings and then necessarily aim to set up your account

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and then set up your listings pretty much right afterwards, because that

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way, if you are asked for any additional information, so sometimes they might

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want you to provide some sort of ID.

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Sometimes they might want to do a quick call with you to prove that

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you are, who you say you are and just get all of that out of the way.

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And then you might get issues of other sellers listing your products

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and then making changes to those listings that you haven't approved.

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Um, again, if these are your own products, you will be able to get round it.

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It's just a bit of a pain and a hassle.

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Everything I've outlined above can be fixed just to give you,

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you know, just to let you know.

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So if you're experiencing any of these things or even something

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else, these could all be fixed.

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Don't panic.

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So let's talk a little bit about what you can do to prevent some

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of these things going wrong.

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I can't promise this, but my disclaimer here, and I can't promise that if you

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do all of these, nothing will go wrong.

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Um, but we're going to sort of reduce the risk.

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Shall we say, say the first thing that you can do is know what you

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need to set up your Amazon selling account to set up your product

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listings and start selling on Amazon.

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So you know, know what you need to have to hand to get all of this done.

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I do have a free guide that contains all of this.

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And if you'd like that, you can get it via the link in the show notes.

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Or you can go to vickiweinberg.com forward slash resources

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and download it from there.

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Research.

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What else is my second point is research.

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What else you might need upfront and get it ready.

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So for example, do you need approval to list your product, do you need approval

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to list in the category you want to list in all of this, you can find out

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on Amazon's external site, to be honest, you could probably just Google it.

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Um, are you looking to send in stock fulfilled by Amazon?

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And if so, do you need safety data sheets?

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Do you need approval to sell the products?

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And let's say you're selling a product that isn't actually yours.

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Maybe it's another branded product, but you're going to be send

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selling it onto your own accoutn.

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Or do you need a barcode exemption?

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For example, maybe you sell products that don't require barcodes.

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So you're going to need to apply for an exemption when you sell on Amazon.

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Um, an example of this is I just helped someone set up some

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products they're actually bundles.

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And for bundles, you don't need a barcode because the bundle consists

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of lots of different products, all nicely packaged together.

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So it isn't actually a barcode for that.

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And so that client that we have to apply for an exemption, and that

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just takes an extra couple of days.

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It's, it's definitely possible to do.

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But I guess if you do the research in advance, and as I say some

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half an hour to an hour on Google, you can find a lot of this out.

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Um, if you're not sure, get in touch, if you need some help, I can help you.

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Um, but just know, just, just be prepared for what you need, what you need to have.

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And then that'll also give you a sense of how long things will take.

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And as I said earlier, my third piece of advice is be prepared for the initial

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setup to take a bit longer than expected.

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So just build in some time, um, I've had people contact me in the past who

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say, oh, Vicki, my product is going to be ready to launch next Tuesday and I

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need to get everything set up on Amazon.

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And then I panic little bit because, um, sometimes that can be okay.

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You know, if they've already got their account set up and it's all verified

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and nothing goes wrong with, you know, the listing sometimes that can be okay.

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Assuming I've got availability.

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That is.

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But sometimes if things aren't okay or maybe they don't have

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everything that they need, or perhaps we come across a little issue.

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You know, sometimes that milestone isn't hit.

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So please give yourself as much time as you can

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So now, now this is the thing I hope it's really useful.

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Um, let's stop talking about what can go wrong and all this doom and

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gloom and talk about what to do.

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If things do go wrong.

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Say the first thing to do is you.

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If you have any kind of issue is log it to Amazon seller support, so on.

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If you're logged into your Amazon account, there's a little button that says

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support on the top, right of the screen.

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If you scroll all the way down, you can click on a button that

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says contact, seller support.

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I suggest the first time you contact them, whatever your issue is, you do

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this in a written form and you really clearly set out what the problem is.

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I suggest that you always take screenshots of the issue you're facing.

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If there are screen shots.

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So let's say you're trying to set up a listing and then you get an

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error message, take a screenshot.

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And if you can get the timestamps.

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So if you're, um, the computer you're working on has a time displayed on there.

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If you can get that time in the screenshots.

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Well, that really helps because sometimes they ask for that and

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send these screenshots over.

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When you set, when you launched this initial case.

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Um, the reason I say that is because you're often asked for these further

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down the line, because one of the first replies you might get back when you

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raise any cases, that's great because we have a screenshot of the error.

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If you haven't taken this screenshot in the outset, you're then going to have

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to replicate whatever you were doing.

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To generate the error in the first place, which is just a waste of your time.

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So when something goes wrong, screenshot it right away and

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keep hold of that screen.

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If when Amazon sellers support come back to you, they have a suggestion.

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So let's say something you can do to fix it.

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And if it sounds viable because not all of them are follow out.

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In fact, even if, even if you're not sure, then I guess, you know,

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assume that it is, um, follow out any instructions that they give you.

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And of course ask if you need clarity or anything.

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But for example, if you're asked to complete a flat file update and do

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that and then report back, so say, okay, I've done what you asked now.

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What, um, if you have been asked to submit a flat file update, like what if

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you don't know what that is, um, then report back with the batch ID as well.

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If your issue still isn't resolved.

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Email can take a lot of time and back and forth.

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So something else you can do is get on a call or get on a

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chat, whichever you prefer.

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Um, do know that the person you speak with whether it's phone or chat might not be

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able to help you because most of the time.

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Cases are picked up by someone who's like first-line support, which I

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guess is a bit of like a triage.

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And then your case gets passed on to a specialist, but it's a really good

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way of getting your case escalated, which I definitely would recommend.

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If you don't think you're getting the help you need.

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As I say, I do recommend that.

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First of all, you put your case in writing and that's because sometimes

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with chat or email, in my experience.

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Sometimes, basically what happens is if you post a case in chat or email at

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the end of that, the agent that you're speaking with and has to summarize your

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issue into an email, which they then forward on to the relevant team to deal

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with, and they copy you in on that.

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So many times when I've seen that email, that's come out of the chat.

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I thought to myself that isn't the problem.

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That, isn't what I said.

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Why does it say that?

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However, if you put, if you raise your cases in email, So,

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what did I have in writing?

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And then you can say to the support agent that, Hey, this is my issue.

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It's already in writing.

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Here it is.

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Can you help.

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So that is a top tip.

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And as I say, don't be scared to escalate.

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If you don't have the time when customer relations get on a call or

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a CA or open a chat, then just go into open case, hit reply and type

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something like please escalate and then reiterate what your issue is.

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You can even copy and paste it.

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If your case gets closed.

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Um, but there's no resolution.

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I suggest opening a new case right away.

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Politely complain about the fact your Amazon issue has been left unresolved, or

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you can do it non politely if you want.

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But I always like to be polite and reference that case number, the case got

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closed so that it can be investigated.

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Um, sadly, this happens more than I'd like to think where you think

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you're getting somewhere and then someone closes down the case and

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there's not an option to reopen it.

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And you're just stuck right from the beginning.

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Um, really frustrating, um, which leads me on to be positive and be persistent.

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It is frustrating.

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It can take a long time to get a helpful response, but please don't

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give up something I often share with people is sometimes you can go back and

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forth, back and forth, back and forth.

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And then it's like the right person picks up your email.

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Cause remember it isn't the same person and you're going back and forth with is

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whatever support agent picks up that case.

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And sometimes it can be like a miracle that, you know, suddenly the someone

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really helpful picks up your case.

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And either they fix something for you or they give a you

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know, really helpful response.

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Then suddently it's over and it's okay.

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And everything's fixed, um, as amazing when that happens and it does happen.

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Um, I guess that the, you know, the poor I don't know if quality is quite

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the word, but the caliber of the person who's answering the case varies.

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Some people are probably been doing the job for a long time and a very

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knowledgeable others are a perhaps, you know, maybe it's their first week.

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They're not as sure.

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Um, and of course you don't know who the person will be,

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that will pick up your case.

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So keep going, keep going, keep going until you find someone that can help.

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And finally, if it gets a little bit much, remember that

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I can take this off your hands.

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Um, I don't actually like dealing with this any more than you do probably,

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but I deal with so many cases I've actually developed quite a thick skin.

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Plus I'm naturally very tenacious, which I guess also helps, um, believe me.

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I don't give up all the advice I give to you.

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I am doing for other people constantly.

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I'm always going.

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Back and forwards with emails and getting on chats.

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And I'm very persistent and I always, always get things resolved.

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Um, and I have clients that will testify for that.

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So it's not just me saying that.

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Um, if you want some help, you can get hold of me at vickiweinberg.com.

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And of course that's in the shownotes.

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Yeah.

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So two final things I just want to touch on one is, you know, I get asked a lot.

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Can I just phone Amazon seller central support?

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Can I, can I just get on a phone call with someone?

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Well, yes, you can.

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Well, yes and no, you can't call them.

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But as I mentioned earlier, you can open a case and ask them to call you,

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which I think is the next best thing.

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But as I mentioned earlier, get your.

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You get your issue down in writing before you request a call, because

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otherwise, as I said, you're leaving it to the agent you speak with to

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understand your issue correctly and, you know, write it down correctly

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before passing it onto someone else.

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Um, there's a lot less confusion and it's a lot clearer if you do it yourself.

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And you can do it straight afterwards, by the way, you could

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absolutely open a case by email.

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Go back into that case reply and ask for a call.

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You can definitely, definitely do that.

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And the same with chat as well.

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However, with the chat, even though the chat history is retained, I still

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think it's always better to have an email record of your issue first of all,

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and then the final.

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I want to talk about is you, I don't, you may be wondering this.

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Um, but something I do get asked quite a bit is why is the seller support so bad?

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And I'll be honest.

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I don't know.

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I.

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I don't think it's that good.

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I think it's getting a bit worse.

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I know lots of you are finding the same.

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Um, my thoughts on this note is just my opinion is that maybe the

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person looking at your case is just like a first line support.

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So maybe their role is just to assess cases and pass

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them to relevant department.

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You know, like a bit like triage, if you are unfortunate enough to go

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to a and E so they might just be you know, literally reading your message

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replying if they think they can help.

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Um, sometimes you get what looks like a template reply, stay, perhaps they're

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trained, you know, if someone's says this send this response and then sometimes

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you do find your case gets escalated as well or pass to the relevant department.

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And that seems to be happening more and more.

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So I think a lot of the issue is the first person you speak to, you might

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not necessarily be trained to help you.

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And of course that isn't their fault.

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And that is why my advice is always to be polite and to be kind.

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If you know me, you know, that I've being polite and kind is

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something I do pride myself on.

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So I always want to be polite and kind, um, because I genuinely don't think anyone

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wants to be unhelpful or bad at their job.

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Um, I think it's just that their job is maybe not the job we wish it was.

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And we wish we were getting hold of someone, um, who could actually

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assist, you know, initially.

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But that, that doesn't seem to be what happens.

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Um, and my best advice is to follow the steps I've outlined here.

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If you do get stuck with anything, don't get disheartened, don't give up.

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And if you really do get to your wit's end and you think, oh, this is just too

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much, get in touch and I can help you.

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Um, but I really hope I hope that I've given you a little bit of

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confidence, um, so that you can deal with lots of these things on your own.

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And of course I hope that nothing ever, ever goes wrong for you.

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Um, but you know, I like to be honest and, um, You know, I don't wanna pretend.

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Everything's awesome, I'm trying to raise is when it isn't and I really

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hope that you've picked up something today that you will find useful.

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So I hope that's helped take care, have a lovely week, and I will be

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back with another episode next week.

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Thank you so much for listening all the way to the end of this episode.

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If you enjoyed it, please do leave me a review that really helps

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other people to find this podcast.

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Make sure you subscribe.

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So you don't miss any future episodes.

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Do you tell your friends about it too?

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If you think that they also might enjoy it, you can find me@vickiweinberg.com.

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There you'll find links to all of my social channels.

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You'll find lots more information.

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All of the past podcast, episodes and lots of free resources too.

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So again, that's Vicki weinberg.com.

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Take care, have a good week and see you next time.