Good afternoon, fine sellers! I wanted to drop everyone a line about a new bit of info we will be providing to our buyers as of next week: the email response rate and turnaround time for questions asked to sellers. As you can see in the prototype image I've included at right, we will soon begin tabulating the percentage of item questions that a seller has responded to, so a buyer can get a sense for how likely a given seller is to respond to their question about an item. The idea is that active, engaged sellers are recognized for their participation, while absentee sellers become more apparent.
Our ultimate goal is to provide our users as much transparency as possible into a seller's level of engagement on Bonanza. Sellers that consistently respond to buyer inquiries in a timely fashion should be recognized and rewarded for that.
Here are some of the finer points on how the new system will work:
Why is this necessary?
A buyer who asks a question and hears crickets in return is a buyer who has had a bad experience on Bonanza. We want to provide as much transparency as possible to potential buyers about which sellers are likely to respond to them, so those sellers get the credit they deserve.
What is the system measuring, exactly?
We will be measuring the percentage of buyer questions that get answered. This includes only whether the seller responded to the initial question that a buyer asked about an item (not whether the seller responded to follow up bmails, which may or may not be questions).
If a user sends a seller a message from any page other than the item detail page that is not counted, since it is assumed not to be a question about a particular item. We only count the bmail as a "question" if it was generated by clicking on the "ask seller a question" button on the item detail page (next to the "Add to cart" button).
What if the message sent from the item detail page isn't a question?
Again, general-purpose bmails are not counted toward the "email response rate" percentage -- only bmails that are sent from the "Ask seller a question" button. We presume that in the vast majority of cases where the buyer clicks that button, they are indicating that they have a question they would like to have answered.
How long do I have to respond to a buyer inquiry?
If a message has not been responded to within three days, it will be assumed as a "non-response." If the seller subsequently responds to the buyer's question after three days have passed, we will change the "non-response" to a response, and increase the seller's email response rate. Though the "average email turnaround time" will factor in the average time it takes the seller to respond. If the seller averages 7 days to respond to buyer questions, some buyers will be dissuaded from asking questions in the first place.
Will this take account of my past excellent/terrible record of responding to buyer inquiries?
No, our response rate will begin tabulating as of next week. Until you have been asked a question by a buyer, the "email response rate" and "average response time" will be hidden.
What if I'm on vacation or unavailable to answer emails?
That's fine -- you can put your booth on vacation at any time. This will only measure whether you respond to inquiries from buyers about items that are currently online. The assumption is that if a seller has items available for sale in their booth, then the seller should be available to answer questions about those items.
Feel free to ask below, we will attempt to address them!