Seller feedback is a hugely important factor when it comes to selling products on Amazon. Your seller rating plays heavily into your Amazon search listings. High feedback? Good search position. Low feedback? Your listings may plummet—or if you have a high listing position and a less-than-stellar feedback rate, you’re leaving your search position open for the taking by a competitor with better seller feedback.
To be clear, we’re talking about seller feedback, not product feedback (which is also important, but that’s a topic for another post). Seller feedback is the ratings you get on how you handle shipping, fulfillment, and customer questions—not on how much customers like your product.
We’ve heard some sellers accept far-from perfect seller feedback. They say that “customers can just be wrong/crazy,” and that it’s not worth their time to pursue stronger feedback. Actually, it’s absolutely worth your time to pursue strong feedback. We’ve seen sales volume drop due to lost search position ground after just one or two bad ratings. Furthermore, we believe it’s always worth the time to find out whether a grievance is legitimate, and address that grievance so you have a satisfied customer. And for the cases when customers truly are wrong? There are still steps you can take to protect your ratings.
Amazon has a huge list of how to ensure good customer feedback. These basics are important, but we go above and beyond. Here are 6 ways we maintain 100% positive feedback.
Ask Amazon to remove negative feedback. In our experience, 90% of negative seller reviews are against Amazon’s policies (i.e. they’re a product review). If you use Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA), even complaints about fulfillment speed can be appealed. For example, “Item still hasn’t arrived” would be removed if you’re using FBA, because in that case, Amazon is responsible for fulfillment, not you. Monitoring your seller feedback for these types of reviews is a no-brainer, but it does take time and persistence.
Quality control–stop problems before they start. One of the simplest ways to avoid negative customer reviews is to avoid negative customer experiences. At Whitebox, this means automating our fulfillment and shipping systems to remove the potential for human error as much as possible. We also establish a thorough quality control system for each and every product by and creating 2 page quality control documents for every product Whitebox helps to sell. This way, many common reasons for negative reviews, like faulty products or mislabeled merchandise, never even happen.
When legitimate problems occur, make changes. Mistakes happen. Even with all the energy that goes into setting up a thorough product page and developing quality control measures, things go wrong. Customers might not understand exactly what they’re purchasing and end up with a product they can’t use. Items occasionally get lost or broken in shipping, even when you use FBA. At Whitebox, we use feedback to adjust product manufacturing specifications, quality control documents, and product listings. If a photo wasn’t clear, we fix it. If we missed something in quality control, we add a new step to the quality control process. If there was a slip up in the manufacturing process, we ensure that the manufacturing process changes.
Use the positive to outweigh the negative. One way to deal with those (very few) inevitable negative reviews is to make them matter less. At Whitebox, we solicit positive feedback so if we get negative reviews they’re proportionately smaller. It’s simple math, really. If you have 100 positive reviews, instead of 10, one negative review will do a lot less damage to those 5 stars you worked so hard to get.
How do we entice a client’s customers to give positive feedback? We use “Call the CEO” emails (take a peek at the example below this post). Every customer receives an email invitation to leave a review. The invitation includes contact information, so customers know they will quickly be able to talk to a human—sometimes even our CEO, or our client’s CEO.
Nip that negativity in the bud. Another way to deal with negative customer reviews is direct customer contact. While we work to make the appropriate process and product changes when negative feedback is received, we also make sure to respond immediately to each negative review. We do whatever it takes—phone calls, emails, or overnight letters—to get in touch. Sometimes, just showing we care enough to work with the customer may convince the customer to remove the negative review and replace it with a positive one.
Fix the problem with or without customer contact. Sometimes, it takes too long to get in touch with a customer. Since quick responses can make or break a customer’s perception of any negative experience, Whitebox’s priority is to address the problem. This might mean, for example, forging ahead without the chance to have a conversation with a dissatisfied customer and shipping them a new unit with a letter explaining why they are receiving the unit. This way, the customer will see your commitment to customer satisfaction.
Sure, there are downsides to living in an age where every customer has a public and permanent way to voice complaints. Chances are, at some point you will wake up one morning and find damaging seller feedback on your Amazon profile. But with the right systems in place, you can turn negative reviews into positive ones.
Want to learn more about improving your business’ online feedback?