Excellent feedback is the key to succeeding on Amazon’s platform.
The quality of your reviews is one of the most significant factors determining the placement of your listing on Amazon. Products with excellent reviews receive higher prioritization with Amazon’s A9 algorithm, and those with poor feedback get pushed to the bottom. Ensuring you have chosen a stellar product while providing exceptional customer service are two factors that are crucial to your success and will protect your brand reputation on Amazon.
But what happens when you inevitably receive negative feedback?
Your options are limited by the platform. However, by understanding your rights as a seller, the actions you’re able to take in response to negative feedback, and the types of feedback which are in violation with Amazon’s terms, you can effectively manage your negative reviews.
We’ve provided you with five essential strategies you can use to manage your brand reputation and negative feedback on Amazon.
1. Become well-versed in Amazon’s rules and guidelines for feedback.
It’s not sufficient for sellers to simply familiarize themselves with the various rules, guidelines, and policies regarding feedback on Amazon. As a seller, it’s your duty to become well-versed in this information, including the specific language used by the platform.
According to Bindwise research, 73% of customer feedback is not written in accordance with Amazon’s terms. It’s vital to understand that only certain feedback is allowed, and if reviews do not comply with Amazon’s guidelines, they can be construed as violating Amazon’s policies.
For example, customer reviews must explicitly be about the product alone. Comments about the seller, pricing, availability, shipping experience, or anything not directly related to the product itself can be considered in violation of review guidelines. You should ensure to take care of these types of reviews to help with your Amazon brand reputation.
Additionally, customers must be respectful and helpful. Comments that are libelous, abusive, discriminatory, threatening, harassing, or contain promotional content, personal information or URLs outside of Amazon are also prohibited. Furthermore, if upon further research you find your customer has a direct connection with your competition or a history of posting multiple reviews about the same product, they will be held in violation of Amazon’s policies.
2. Understand your rights as a seller.
To take appropriate action in line with Amazon’s policies, you first need to understand your rights as a seller. While you have the right to report any negative feedback you receive, your efforts will remain fruitless unless you’re able to prove the feedback violates Amazon’s rules and guidelines.Furthermore, you do have the right to approach the customer directly; however, you do not have the right to pressure the customer to revise or remove their review, nor are you allowed to compensate the individual as an attempt to promote such actions.
Prohibited incentives as dictated by Amazon’s guidelines cover any monetary incentive such as cash, gift cards, free or discounted products, the promise of a refund in exchange for a review, or the promise of a discount off a future purchase (even if it is provided by a third-party) in exchange for a review.
Taking any of these actions will automatically result in a violation of Amazon’s anti-manipulation policies as well as possible account suspension or termination, and it may even open you up to litigation.
3. Approach the customer privately.
As a seller, you are allowed to contact the customer directly in an attempt to mitigate the effects of a negative review. When emailing the customer, approach them in a genuinely helpful manner. Apologize for any inconvenience that has been caused.
Emphasize that you are wholly dedicated to ensuring customer satisfaction and ask the customer how you can best achieve this with them. Perhaps it may be through offering a refund or a replacement of the purchased product. This is perfectly acceptable as long as you do not make the refund/replacement contingent upon the customer revising or removing their negative feedback. Be prompt in your response and the action that needs to be taken.
Be sure to let the customer know that reviews are extremely important to your brand reputation on Amazon and don’t be afraid to take a monetary hit to ensure customer satisfaction. Often, customers who have an exceptional customer service experience and understand how crucial their feedback is to a company voluntarily revise their negative feedback, remove it, or counter it with positive feedback as a result of their outstanding experience with you.
4. Comment publicly regarding negative feedback.
Responding to negative reviews publicly is a great way to help manage your brand’s reputation and increase the chances of having your negative feedback revised or removed by the customer. Publicly responding to negative feedback not only ensures that the customer sees that you are dedicated to repairing the relationship, but it also demonstrates your dedication to providing an exceptional customer service experience to other potential customers. This will give them further peace of mind in investing in your product.
When responding to negative feedback, apologize first and foremost, then offer a solution and emphasize how important their satisfaction is it is to your company. Remember – time is of the essence. Imagine the disparate impact of a company response within 24 hours of receiving negative feedback, versus that of a response given a month or two after the fact.
Sometimes, managing negative reviews can become hectic and require a dedicated team. This is especially the case if your output is significant. Take advantage of the variety of tools available to you as a seller to help automate the process and increase the effectiveness of your strategy for reputation management. Tools such as SellerLab’s Feedback Genius can help streamline the process by providing notifications when feedback is left and automating buyer-seller messaging.
5. Request assistance from Amazon.
Let’s say you run into a situation where the customer is unresponsive to your attempts to remedy the situation. You have the final option of contacting Amazon directly via the “Report Abuse” option to gain assistance with removing negative feedback. However, keep in mind that this route is only effective if you can prove that a review is in direct violation of Amazon’s policies.
For example, the feedback listed above reflects an issue with packaging, which is not directly related to the product, its quality, or its performance. As a result, this feedback could be reported and has a high likelihood of being removed by Amazon.
Keep in mind that constantly reporting every little negative piece of feedback you receive is counterproductive and could have a detrimental impact on your internal brand reputation with the Amazon platform. Always choose to resolve the issue with the customer first and only report abuse when you can demonstrate that the feedback is in violation of Amazon’s terms.
The quality of your feedback can make or break your brand reputation on Amazon, and just a handful of negative reviews can create long-lasting effects on your product’s listing, directly impacting the future of your sales.