Dealing with negative seller reviews is a necessary and recurring evil of online selling. Back in December, we published a blog post about achieving 100% seller feedback. This was a glass half full sort of post. We explained all the ways to keep those customers happy and maybe you rejoiced at the seeming ease of said happiness. Maybe it made selling on Amazon sound like taking a cruise: all that was required was packing the right things like sunscreen and a swim suit, and you’d have a great time.
Sadly, there’s some bad news: not all customers are the glass half full sort. More often, customers are the “Hey, my glass isn’t as full as it looked like in the photo, and it arrived late, and I’m not fan of this packaging, ” sort. And, to add to that, maintaining that buy box? It depends heavily on the strong seller feedback from these very critical customers.
Fortunately, setting up a system to deal with negative feedback can greatly increase your seller rating. In this post, we’ll explore some ways to move towards higher seller feedback and nab that shiny buy box that comes with it. It should be noted that this is geared towards companies who use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), since this is the most effective course of action.
Speed should be the backbone of any seller’s feedback response system. Before we get into the nitty gritty of different types of negative feedback, let’s talk about how you can build a system that makes quick responses possible.
We’ll use Whitebox as an example. We have an alert system set up that sends emails and texts out whenever negative feedback is posted. Rather than relying on a single person to respond to these alerts, we have them sent out to three different people. From there, it’s a race to the computer to deal with the problem.
There aren’t many times in life where passing the buck is the right thing to do, but with negative seller feedback on Amazon, this is often the case. In fact, chances are the vast majority of bad feedback you receive can be easily removed because it doesn’t belong on the seller page. There are two main reasons this occurs:
The most common reason is a that reviewer is dissatisfied with shipping, which means it applies Amazon FBA (if you’re a 100% FBA seller). If the package was lost, damaged or arrived later than anticipated, use Amazon’s interface to let them know. Then, it should be removed fairly quickly, if not instantly. In fact, FBA terms and conditions require that you let Amazon deal with these issues, since it’s actually their reputation on the line. And don’t worry – the customer is alerted to contact Amazon directly, so they don’t think they’re being censored.
The other issue that sometimes arises is that the feedback is for the item itself, and belongs on the product page (i.e. “This is way smaller than I expected”). Again, let Amazon know and they will move the review for you. In this case, it’s a good call to contact the customer as well. At Whitebox, we let them know we saw they were unhappy with the product, and that they can feel free to return it.
Nobody’s perfect. Sometimes, there are issues that fall undeniably into the seller’s jurisdiction. In fact, even if a seller has 100% seller feedback, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve never screwed up. What it means is that they’ve got a robust system to remedy mistakes, part of which involves mollifying the legitimately angry customers.
For many sellers, including mp3Car and Whitebox, about 90% of these legitimate issues involve customers receiving something other than what they ordered. This can be a pretty scary prospect, because it may mean the potential for hundreds of similar mistakes. Deep sense of impending doom aside, let’s talk about response.
Say a customer posts this: “I ordered a hat and received a shampoo. I’m bald.”
Remember, since you messed up here, you should bend over backwards for them. At Whitebox we immediately contact the customer, find out more and, of course, apologize for the inconvenience. We let them know we are a small business, and that we strive for 100% customer satisfaction. Then, we send out the item they originally ordered and refund their money, and sometimes, depending on the severity of the mistake, we send along a gift card as well. It’s an inconvenience to receive an incorrect item and we like to compensate people for the hassle when it occurs. Then, customers generally are willing to remove their negative seller feedback.
Working through negative feedback may seem like an overwhelming prospect. But, if you’re a glass half full sort of person, it’s nice to know even with mistakes, 100% feedback is totally achievable.