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Why Did You Create ChannelReply?
Published at Aug 17, 2015.

A question we get asked all the time is "Why did you build ChannelReply?"

For us, this post is a pretty simple answer; for others, it may be a bit longwinded (but isn’t that what blog posts are for?).

The Need for an eBay Messaging Tool

At our core, we are an e-commerce company. We started our business several years ago selling products on eBay and Amazon. The marketplaces provided us with the perfect starting ground to grow our catalog and generate enough sales to help build our website and sell directly to customers.

In doing so, we created a pretty large marketplace customer base. In order to support the increased business, we needed to hire more customer service team members. We quickly realized that scaling on the marketplaces came with all sorts of pain points. We looked for all kinds of apps and add-ons that would help alleviate some of the growing pains. We subscribed to a lot of SaaS (software as a service) products that enhanced our ability to grow and scale our sales and products on the marketplaces.

Something we just could not find, though, was a customer service platform for the marketplaces. We wanted to easily handle Amazon and eBay messages on one screen. We wondered: Why should each of our customer service team members have to have multiple screens open to answer messages? Why can’t there be any accountability on the marketplaces? Answering our customers' eBay mail should be easy—so why isn’t it? Why is there no eBay messaging tool? Why can’t I read or respond to eBay messages from an outside source?

We needed a reply manager that would allow our customer service team to excel. Did eBay really expect large sellers to use a single user sign-in and really succeed in providing the best customer service experience possible to buyers? None of this made any sense to us. There was only one viable solution that would allow us to keep growing sales and customer service on the marketplaces: build our own eBay marketplace CRM solution.

Integrating eBay with Zendesk

ChannelReply, the Amazon and eBay Messaging Tool

Since we were already using Zendesk (which we absolutely love) for our website customer service, we decided we would try and integrate eBay messages into our Zendesk account. This seemed like an easy enough solution.

We tried for about four months, failing multiple times.

Why was it so hard? Well, as many of you eBay sellers know, eBay’s API—especially the eBay messaging API—is not the most user-friendly tool out there. It almost seems as if they do this on purpose to keep people from using anything but eBay to manage their customer service messages.

That was not good enough for us. Finally, after testing, we launched our first version of ChannelReply internally. Back then we called it Zenbay. In other words, we dogfooded the heck out of it.

After improvement and add-ons, our customer service team absolutely loved it. We built an easy-to-use, seamless eBay CRM solution that scaled at the blink of an eye.

We knew we had something special when the Zendesk team reached out to us to see what we were up to. We got a call to see if the rumors were true—“Did you guys really tie Zendesk into the eBay API?” With a grin and a sense of pride, we replied with a simple “Yup.”

Before long, we were being asked to turn this into a customer-facing tool that would allow any one of the 65k+ Zendesk users to simply tie into our solution and have eBay messages flow freely from Zendesk to eBay and vice versa.

Without any knowledge of IT or systems integration, an eBay user can now tie their eBay messages into Zendesk.

Why Zendesk?

Zendesk is a powerful tool that allows you to utilize and maximize your customer service potential. You can handle multiple messages at once, assign different customer service agents messages and let them thread tickets, and so much more. (Feel free to check them out here if you don’t already know about them.) Imagine being able to follow a conversation with an eBay customer even if you didn’t start the message.

A Solution to Scaling Customer Service on eBay

It dawned on us early that eBay simply didn’t build for multiple customer service agents or users on a single account. Think about it: a large company such as Ray-Ban has a single point of sign-in for hundreds or even thousands customer service agents. How do you scale? How do you create eBay accountability? Does increased customer service lead to increased eBay feedback? (Yes it does, by the way.) Do eBay PowerSellers benefit more or less than any other user? Can I create auto tags on products, run eBay ePID or product ID reports to see which one of our products is performing well or poorly in our customer’s eyes?

There are so many advantages to using ChannelReply to manage your eBay customer service that the list is endless. I can drone on for hours about how much our team really loves the service and why we created it. I can talk even further about how our current clients send us messages claiming they don’t know how they did business on eBay without it. At the end of the day, it is a satisfying feeling to know that there was a need and we filled it.

Try it out for free today and see how it can benefit you.

And as always, feel free to ping us with any questions you may have.

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