Managing Customer Interactions
Customer satisfaction and effective communication are crucial for success in any business, and this holds true for Amazon sellers as well. In today’s digital age, customers have the power to share their experiences and opinions easily on social media platforms, making it even more important to prioritize customer happiness.
When it comes to Amazon, customer reviews and feedback hold significant weight in influencing potential buyers. Positive reviews and a strong seller performance contribute to earning the buy box and increasing product conversions. On the other hand, negative feedback can have a detrimental impact on your reputation.
In this chapter, we will explore strategies for effectively communicating with customers, handling customer feedback, and resolving any issues that may arise. By employing proactive customer service practices and implementing streamlined processes, you have the opportunity to turn dissatisfied customers into happy ones, potentially earning positive feedback and strengthening your brand’s reputation.
Remember, customer service plays a critical role in shaping your customers’ perception of your company. By prioritizing open and efficient communication, addressing customer concerns promptly, and providing exceptional support, you can differentiate yourself as an outstanding seller on Amazon. Let’s delve into the best practices for managing customer interactions, leveraging customer feedback, and effectively resolving any customer issues that may arise.
Formerly known as the Communication Manager, Amazon’s Buyer-Seller Messaging Service was introduced in March 2010 as a platform to facilitate written communication between buyers and sellers. This service aims to enhance security by masking private email addresses, reduce disputes and A-Z claims, and streamline claims investigations and dispute resolutions.
Additionally, Amazon utilizes the Messaging Service to monitor seller-customer communication. Response times, the presence of prohibited content such as hyperlinks and email addresses, and compliance with Amazon’s policies are automatically assessed.
To gain a better understanding of Amazon’s message policy, it is essential to refer to various pages, including Prohibited Seller Activities and Actions, Buyer-Seller Messaging Service, and Improving Your Feedback Rating.
Amazon categorizes customer messages into three types
- Required Messages: These messages are mandatory and must be promptly communicated to the customer. Examples include responding to customer inquiries about orders, addressing out-of-stock or delayed orders, managing return requests, and handling A-to-z claims.
- Prohibited Messages: These messages violate Amazon’s policies regarding buyer-seller communication. Examples include messages containing external links to a seller’s site, solicitation of purchases outside of Amazon, and offering compensation in exchange for product reviews or better feedback. It is crucial to be aware of additional restrictions, which we will discuss in detail later on.
- Advised Messages: Although not mandatory, these messages are encouraged by Amazon to enhance the customer’s experience on their platform. Feedback solicitation, for instance, provides an opportunity for sellers to address any issues raised by the customer and improve the overall buying experience. It also facilitates the acquisition of written product reviews and ratings, benefiting future customers.
There are specific instances where Amazon mandates that sellers communicate with customers. Let’s explore these four main situations and their requirements:
- Customer inquiries: When a customer reaches out with a question, it is required that you respond or mark the message as “no response needed.” However, exercise caution when using the “no response needed” option and only apply it when a response genuinely isn’t necessary. For example, a customer sending a thank-you note may not require a response, but it’s still appropriate to provide one if desired. Even if no response is needed, clicking the “no response needed” button is essential to acknowledge the completion of communication.
- Returns: For merchant fulfilled orders, when a customer requests a return, you MUST provide return information or explain why the order falls outside your return window. Amazon handles return requests for FBA orders unless the customer sends a message about returning a product beyond the usual return period.
- A-to-z claims: A-to-Z claims typically indicate poor marketplace customer service, where you and the customer have been unable to resolve a product-related issue. However, in the event of an A-to-Z claim, it is expected that you promptly communicate with the customer and make efforts to resolve the situation. Amazon may review your communications when making a decision on the claim. It’s important to address customer inquiries proactively to prevent them from escalating to A-to-Z claims.
- Order problems: While it’s best to avoid out-of-stock items, late shipments, and order cancellations, if you encounter any of these situations, it is crucial to communicate proactively with the customer. Keeping the customer informed and addressing their concerns promptly can help maintain a positive customer experience.
Phone Vs Email
When engaging with customers, written communication is recommended over phone calls. Although phone calls may seem more convenient for extensive back-and-forth discussions, written communication provides a documented record and is required for the aforementioned situations. If you do need to make a phone call, we encourage you to follow up with a summary email to the customer. This practice helps create a paper trail that allows Amazon to track the conversation effectively.
By adhering to these requirements and maintaining effective communication, you can enhance customer satisfaction and minimize the likelihood of escalated issues.
While we’ve discussed the messages you must send, it’s important to understand the types of communication that are prohibited by Amazon. Let’s review these forbidden practices:
- Links or images of web addresses to alternate sites: Including a link to your website or displaying an image with your site’s address is not allowed. This restriction can be frustrating when customers request links to the product manufacturer’s site for warranty details or product instructions. However, we’ve discovered that adding spaces within the URL can prevent Amazon from suppressing the address, allowing the customer to access the necessary information.
- Promoting additional products: It is prohibited to promote products off the Amazon site, even if they are available on Amazon. Technically, you should not include additional product links that direct customers either back to Amazon or to your Merchant Store on Amazon. While Amazon may not always reprimand sellers for recommending their offers in response to customer inquiries, it is important to note that such promotions are not allowed. We advise against suggesting additional products in feedback emails or explicitly soliciting customers for this purpose. Although some sellers may “get away” with it, risking the suspension of your entire account for a single sale is not worth it.
- Extra Payments: Requesting additional payment from customers, even if their demands may cost you money out of pocket, is strictly prohibited. Engaging in such practices can lead to the swift suspension of your account.
- Feedback Incentives: Offering special discounts, cash payments, or other incentives in exchange for adjusting negative feedback or leaving positive feedback is considered manipulative. This approach can also result in the suspension of your account. While you can politely ask a customer to “consider” updating their feedback after resolving their issue, offering any type of incentive is strictly forbidden.
- Order-confirmation emails: Sending order-confirmation emails to customers is unnecessary as Amazon already handles this task on your behalf. While this practice may not lead to account suspension, it can confuse customers and potentially result in negative feedback.
- Shipping emails: Amazon also prohibits the sending of shipment emails since they handle this process for you. Whether the item is shipped from FBA or you confirm the order shipments in Seller Central, Amazon ensures that customers receive the necessary information.
In Seller Central, Amazon provides a detailed list labeled “Prohibited Seller Activities and Actions” to help sellers navigate the do’s and don’ts of communication. It is essential to adhere to these guidelines to maintain a positive selling experience on the platform.
While Amazon sets guidelines for mandatory communication, there are certain instances where you have the flexibility to go beyond these requirements. These are what we refer to as advised messages.
- Informing customers about unexpected events: In situations such as delays in transit due to a winter storm, where your merchant fulfilled order has already shipped, it is beneficial to provide customers with additional information. Keeping them informed about unforeseen circumstances can help manage their expectations and maintain a positive customer experience.
- Clarifying product listing discrepancies: If you notice a discrepancy in the product listing, such as changes made by another seller to the image or product information that no longer matches your listed item, it is advisable to contact the customer before fulfilling their order. By proactively addressing the issue, you can ensure that the customer receives the correct product and avoid potential confusion or dissatisfaction.
While you are not allowed to offer incentives for feedback, you are permitted to request that customers leave positive feedback or remove negative feedback. There are a few ways to manually solicit feedback:
- Using the “Contact Buyer” link in Manage Orders and selecting “Feedback Request” as the subject.
- Including a message on your packing slip, expressing your gratitude for the customer’s purchase and kindly requesting them to rate your performance as a seller on Amazon.com.
- Providing instructions on how to leave seller feedback, including directing customers to go to Amazon.com, click on “Your Account” in the upper right-hand corner, navigate to the Orders section, click on “Leave Seller Feedback” under “More Order Actions,” complete the evaluation form, and submit it.
Remember to adhere to Amazon’s policy by not offering any form of incentive for feedback. Detailed information on managing feedback can be found in the “Feedback Manager” section.
Manual or Automated Feedback Solicitation
When it comes to soliciting feedback from customers, we strongly discourage manual methods due to their time-intensive nature and the availability of more efficient alternatives.
For small sellers, there are feedback soliciting platforms like feedbackfive.com, feedbackgenius.com, or bqool.com that offer a basic service-level for free. With these platforms, you can send up to 100 feedback requests per month without any cost. Just imagine the time and effort it would take to manually request feedback from all those customers.
For larger sellers, the task of manually requesting feedback from thousands or even tens of thousands of customers every month can be overwhelming. In such cases, investing in an automated solution is highly recommended. The cost of employing an automated feedback solicitation tool is marginal compared to the time and potential errors associated with manual processes.
Using an automated solution allows you to customize your emails and include links to product and seller reviews, which can lead to increased positive feedback and better management of negative feedback. Sellers who utilize feedback solicitation software often find that they are able to reach a larger portion of the satisfied majority of customers who may not have otherwise left feedback. In fact, many sellers we have worked with have seen their feedback increase by more than 300% while keeping negative feedback at bay.
To make the most of automated feedback tools, here are some preferred practices
- Exclude high defect rate or return products from the feedback solicitation set.
- Focus on customers who have purchased products fulfilled by Amazon.
- Limit feedback requests to just one, avoiding sending a second request.
- Target specific customers by avoiding those who have previously returned a product or received a refund from you.
- Target specific products by avoiding those with a high return rate or low review rating.
- Personalize your messages. Rather than simply copying a template, adjust it or write from scratch to communicate in your own language and reflect the tone that aligns with your business.
Feedback solicitation tools not only automate the process of requesting feedback but also offer additional features such as reviewing negative and neutral feedback, monitoring trends, and even requesting removal of negative feedback. This comprehensive approach streamlines your feedback management and ensures you can effectively engage with customers to enhance their experience.
Customer Feedback: Seller
Customer feedback on Amazon can be divided into two types: product-related feedback (commonly known as “product reviews”) and seller-related feedback (commonly known as “seller feedback”). Both types of feedback are crucial for your success on the platform and driving sales.
Let’s focus on seller-related feedback: Seller-related feedback consists of four-star or five-star positive feedback, three-star neutral feedback, and one-star or two-star negative feedback.
Having a high quantity of positive seller-related feedback offers several advantages for your seller account
- Trust building: Positive seller-related feedback instills trust in customers. When they see that numerous other customers have had satisfactory experiences, they expect to have a similar experience with your products.
- Buy box share: Your feedback score contributes to Amazon’s calculation of your share of the buy box, which directly impacts your visibility and sales.
- Seller performance: Your feedback count plays a role in Amazon’s assessment of your seller performance. Higher volumes of positive feedback act as a buffer against negative feedback that could affect your ratings.
- Confusion between product and seller feedback: Customers sometimes leave product-related reviews as seller feedback or vice versa. Negative product reviews that appear as seller feedback can be addressed by submitting a ticket to Seller Support, as this violates Amazon’s review guidelines.
It’s important to actively encourage and seek both types of feedback. Positive product-related reviews contribute to increased sales by boosting customer confidence in your products. Additionally, positive seller-related feedback enhances your overall reputation as a seller on Amazon.
To maximize your feedback, consider implementing the following strategies
- Provide excellent customer service: Deliver exceptional experiences to your customers, promptly address their inquiries or issues, and go the extra mile to exceed their expectations.
- Encourage feedback: Include a polite request for feedback in your post-purchase communications, such as order confirmation emails or packaging inserts.
- Monitor and respond to feedback: Regularly monitor your feedback and promptly respond to any negative feedback or customer concerns in a professional and empathetic manner. This demonstrates your commitment to resolving issues and improving customer satisfaction.
- Maintain product quality: Ensure your products meet or exceed customer expectations by consistently delivering high-quality items.
- Continuously improve: Use feedback as valuable insights to identify areas of improvement and make necessary adjustments to your products or processes.
Customer Feedback: Product
Positive product-related feedback, including detailed customer reviews, plays a crucial role in shaping the reputation of your products and influencing customers’ buying decisions. These reviews act as virtual word-of-mouth recommendations that can significantly impact your business.
The quantity and quality of product-related reviews have several benefits for your products
- Trust-building: Positive product reviews contribute to building trust among potential customers. When they see a large number of positive reviews and a high average star rating, they are more likely to have confidence in the quality and value of your products.
- Increased visibility: A significant number of positive reviews can improve the visibility of your products on Amazon. The algorithm considers the popularity and positive feedback of products when determining search rankings and recommendations, giving your products greater exposure to potential customers.
- Valuable feedback: Customer reviews provide valuable feedback about your products. They can highlight specific features, benefits, or even areas for improvement. This feedback can help you understand customer preferences, make necessary adjustments, and enhance the overall quality of your products.
- Reputation management: Monitoring and responding to product reviews allow you to actively manage your reputation as a seller. By promptly addressing customer concerns or issues raised in reviews, you demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction and showcase your dedication to providing a positive shopping experience.
- Sales growth: Positive product reviews contribute to increased sales. Potential customers are more likely to purchase products with a higher number of positive reviews, as they perceive them as reliable and trustworthy choices.
To make the most of product-related feedback, consider the following strategies
- Encourage reviews: Promptly ask customers to leave a review after they receive and have had the opportunity to use your product. You can include a polite request in follow-up emails or packaging inserts.
- Provide exceptional products and service: Focus on delivering high-quality products and exceptional customer service to maximize the chances of receiving positive feedback.
- Engage with reviewers: Respond to both positive and negative reviews in a professional and courteous manner. Address any concerns, offer assistance, and show appreciation for customers taking the time to provide feedback.
- Monitor and analyze reviews: Regularly monitor product reviews to gain insights into customer preferences, identify areas for improvement, and address any recurring issues promptly.
Who Can Write Amazon.com Customer Reviews
According to Amazon, anyone who is a registered customer on their platform can write a review for an item, regardless of where it was purchased or whether it was received as a gift or borrowed temporarily. The freedom to write reviews allows customers to share their experiences and opinions, contributing to the diverse range of feedback available for products on Amazon. It’s important to note that customer reviews do not have an expiration date. Reviews posted years ago can still impact the perception of a product unless proactive measures are taken to address negative reviews and seek their removal.
To address any inappropriate product reviews or seller feedback, sellers can submit tickets to Seller Support. Feedback removal requests can be made for reviews dating back several years. Being vigilant in identifying and addressing such reviews can help maintain the overall reputation and perception of your product. By default, customer reviews are displayed in order from newest to oldest on most detail pages. However, there are additional options available for sorting and accessing reviews.
One such feature is the Spotlight Reviews section, which showcases well-written and helpful reviews as determined by other customers. These Spotlight Reviews are presented at the beginning of the customer reviews section to provide quick access to relevant and informative feedback. The selection of Spotlight Reviews is updated daily for most items in the catalog.
Furthermore, customers can sort reviews based on different criteria. By clicking on the provided link after the initial customer reviews, users can access a dedicated page where they can choose to sort reviews by “Most Helpful” or “Newest First.” This allows customers to easily find and explore reviews that align with their preferences. By providing an open platform for customer reviews and offering options for sorting and accessing them, Amazon aims to ensure transparency, provide valuable information to customers, and facilitate informed purchasing decisions.
How to Increase Positive Feedback
To increase the volume and percentage of positive feedback you receive, it’s important to implement targeted strategies. Start by focusing on specific products that are more likely to generate reviews, such as those with passionate users or unique features. Engage with enthusiastic customers and influencers who can share their positive experiences and encourage others to leave feedback. Provide exceptional customer service, respond promptly to inquiries, and address any issues to ensure customer satisfaction. Include personalized messages in packaging inserts to encourage customers to leave reviews, and consider utilizing feedback solicitation software to streamline the process. By consistently prioritizing customer satisfaction and implementing these strategies, you can enhance your chances of receiving positive feedback and building a strong reputation on Amazon.
Targeting reviewers can be an effective way to increase the number of reviews for your products. While Amazon guidelines prohibit compensating reviewers for their feedback, sellers are allowed to offer free products in exchange for honest reviews, as long as the reviewer clearly discloses this arrangement. One example of this approach is Amazon’s Vine Program, where top reviewers are selected to receive complimentary products in exchange for detailed and unbiased reviews. Although the reviews may not always be positive, the key is to prioritize honesty and authenticity. It’s important to note that the Vine Program is exclusive to Amazon Retail vendors, and the reviews generated through this program are already labeled, eliminating the need for additional disclosure. Some sellers have achieved success by following a similar strategy, identifying potential reviewers by scouting reviews of similar or competing products. By engaging with reviewers and providing them with your products, you can increase the likelihood of receiving honest feedback and generating more reviews for your offerings.
Targeting FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) products can be a strategic move to increase the likelihood of receiving positive reviews. Our testing has revealed that products fulfilled by Amazon tend to receive a higher percentage of positive feedback. While the exact reasons behind this trend may not be fully understood, it can be attributed to the overall customer experience associated with FBA. Customers appreciate the convenience of receiving their orders on time, within just a couple of days, in a package branded by a trusted name, and at no additional cost. This positive experience can influence their perception of the product itself, even if it may not be exceptional.
To leverage this advantage, especially if you don’t have the most reliable in-house fulfillment, it is advisable to focus on soliciting feedback from customers who have ordered your product via FBA. By targeting these customers, you can increase the average star rating you receive from their reviews, benefiting both your product and your seller rating. Although customers may be reviewing Amazon’s fulfillment service rather than your specific product, it is acceptable to take credit for the positive feedback resulting from this aspect of the transaction. By emphasizing FBA in your feedback solicitation efforts, you can capitalize on the positive customer experience associated with Amazon’s fulfillment and enhance your overall reputation as a seller.
Give Your Buyers the Option to Review
Offering your buyers the option to review your products can be an effective strategy to increase the number of reviews you receive. However, finding potential reviewers, soliciting reviews, and managing the process can be time-consuming. Additionally, providing free products for review purposes can add to your expenses.
An alternative approach or a complementary strategy is to incorporate soliciting Amazon product reviews from customers when you request feedback. Feedback solicitation software often provides the option to include a customized link to the product review in your email communications with buyers. This link simplifies the process for buyers to submit a review for the purchased product. Furthermore, it helps buyers distinguish between a product review and seller feedback, ensuring they can provide the feedback in the appropriate category.
We recommend selecting this option, especially for FBA items, as it can streamline the review solicitation process and increase the chances of receiving valuable product reviews. By making it convenient for buyers to leave reviews and differentiating between product reviews and seller feedback, you can encourage more customers to share their experiences and opinions, contributing to a stronger review profile for your products.
Understanding and Preventing Negative Feedback
Understanding and preventing negative feedback is crucial for Amazon sellers to maintain a positive reputation and improve their business. When it comes to negative feedback, it’s important to recognize that customers have never met you and their perception of your brand is solely based on their experience with your fulfillment process, the product they receive, and the communication they’ve had with you. Taking proactive steps to minimize negative feedback can significantly impact your success on the platform.
To minimize negative feedback, it’s essential to provide an exceptional customer experience at every stage of the purchasing journey. This starts with optimizing your fulfillment process. Utilizing Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) whenever possible can ensure efficient shipping and prompt delivery, leaving a positive impression on customers. Additionally, maintaining accurate product listings and detailed descriptions can help set clear expectations for buyers and reduce the likelihood of negative feedback due to miscommunication.
Timely and effective communication with customers is another crucial aspect of preventing negative feedback. Responding promptly to customer inquiries, concerns, and issues can help build trust and satisfaction. Treating each customer as if they were spending a significant amount of money can create a lasting positive impression and increase the likelihood of receiving positive feedback.
Monitoring and analyzing your product reviews can provide valuable insights into customer perceptions and satisfaction. Regularly reviewing product feedback allows you to identify recurring issues or trends that may be impacting customer satisfaction. By addressing these issues promptly and proactively, you can improve the quality of your products and enhance the overall customer experience.
In addition to monitoring product reviews, reaching out to customers who have left negative or neutral feedback can provide valuable opportunities for resolution and improvement. Engaging with dissatisfied customers allows you to understand their concerns, address any issues they may have faced, and potentially turn their negative experience into a positive one. By demonstrating a willingness to listen and resolve problems, you can increase the chances of customers revising their feedback or even becoming advocates for your brand.
Moreover, paying attention to the accuracy and clarity of your product images and descriptions is essential. Ensuring that your listings accurately represent the product and its features can help manage customer expectations and reduce the likelihood of negative feedback resulting from discrepancies between the product received and the product depicted online. Regularly reviewing and updating your product images and descriptions can help minimize any potential confusion or dissatisfaction.
Customer feedback is a valuable resource for improving your business. It provides insights into areas that require attention and helps you enhance the customer experience. By actively seeking feedback, whether through direct communication or feedback solicitation tools, you can gain valuable insights into customer preferences and identify areas for improvement. Additionally, responding to customer feedback, both positive and negative, demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction and can contribute to building a positive brand reputation.
By proactively addressing customer concerns, making necessary improvements, and maintaining a customer-centric approach, you can minimize negative feedback and foster a positive reputation for your Amazon business. Continuous monitoring, adaptation, and a commitment to exceptional customer service are key to building long-term success on the platform.
How to Remove Negative Feedback
Removing negative feedback on Amazon is crucial for sellers to maintain a positive reputation and avoid potential consequences such as buy box ineligibility or account suspension. While it is important to focus on receiving adequate amounts of positive reviews to prevent negative feedback, having a process in place to handle and remove negative feedback is equally vital.
Amazon provides a 60-day window within which feedback can be removed, giving sellers an opportunity to address the customer’s concerns and rectify any underlying issues. Although Amazon may remove negative feedback on FBA orders beyond the 60-day period upon request, it is essential to monitor your account closely and deal with negative feedback as soon as possible.
There are steps you can take to remove negative feedback. The first and easiest method is Removal by Amazon, where feedback is stricken rather than completely removed. Amazon will only remove feedback if it meets specific criteria. To request removal, you can submit a ticket to Amazon, providing the order ID of the feedback and selecting the appropriate reason from the available list, which includes FBA-related customer service issues, feedback containing profanity, product review comments, and feedback with personally identifiable information. Clearly citing the reason and providing additional details in the Additional Information box can aid Amazon in their evaluation. Feedback solicitation tools can also assist in automating this process.
If removal by Amazon is not possible, the second method involves contacting the customer directly through the Buyer-Seller messaging service and requesting them to remove their feedback. Maintaining a professional attitude and focusing on addressing the customer’s concerns is crucial during these communications. It may be appropriate to offer an order adjustment or a refund to resolve the customer’s issue and make them happy. However, it is important to note that offering a refund or any form of compensation explicitly in exchange for changing feedback is against Amazon’s policies and can lead to trouble. The goal should be to genuinely satisfy the customer and then politely request the removal of the negative feedback without any explicit incentives.
Resolving Customer Issues
Implementing a checklist of steps for your team to follow can help make the process of removing negative feedback a regular part of your operations. By being proactive, responsive, and focused on customer satisfaction, you can effectively manage and resolve negative feedback, thereby improving your overall seller performance and reputation on Amazon.
Resolving customer issues and providing excellent customer service is essential for maintaining a positive relationship with buyers on Amazon. Whether you are addressing negative feedback or responding to positive or neutral messages, it is crucial to maintain a professional attitude, be prompt, and show genuine concern for the customer’s concerns.
Responding to Positive/Neutral Messages
When it comes to responding to positive or neutral messages, it is important to acknowledge and appreciate the customer’s feedback. While you are not required to respond to a customer’s thank you note, taking the time to provide a simple “you’re welcome” or “my pleasure” can go a long way in showing your appreciation and reinforcing a positive connection with the customer. Remember, behind every message is a real person, and offering positive reinforcement can help foster a positive relationship with your customers.
It is also important to remember that Amazon requires sellers to respond to customer messages promptly. When a customer reaches out to you, it is your responsibility to either provide a response or mark the message as “no response needed” if it doesn’t require a reply. However, it is essential to use this option judiciously and only when a response is truly unnecessary. Being responsive and attentive to customer messages demonstrates your commitment to providing excellent customer service.
By consistently maintaining a professional and courteous approach in your communication with customers, you can build trust, enhance customer satisfaction, and strengthen your reputation as a seller on Amazon. Taking the time to address customer concerns and provide timely and helpful responses can go a long way in ensuring a positive buying experience and fostering long-term customer loyalty.
Handling different types of unsatisfied customers is an inevitable part of running a business, and it’s important to approach each situation with professionalism and discretion. Here are some common types of unsatisfied customers you may encounter and how to navigate those interactions:
The Mean and Nasty or Fraudulent Customer:
Encountering a customer who is rude, unreasonable, or even engaging in fraudulent behavior can be challenging. It’s crucial to prioritize customer satisfaction while also setting reasonable boundaries. If you believe you are being taken advantage of, it’s important to assess the situation and decide whether it’s worth pursuing further or cutting your losses.
While it can be frustrating, it’s essential to avoid engaging in retaliatory actions. Sending collection agencies after buyers, publicly posting buyer information, threatening legal action, or calling the customer a liar are not appropriate responses. Engaging in such behaviors can lead to severe consequences, including permanent suspension from the Amazon platform.
Instead, focus on protecting your business and reputation by implementing strategic tactics to minimize the likelihood of encountering such situations in the future. We will explore these tactics further in the fraud section, where you can learn how to mitigate risks and seek reimbursement from Amazon if necessary.
It’s important to remember that maintaining professionalism and adhering to Amazon’s policies are key to navigating difficult customer interactions effectively. Even in challenging situations, strive to uphold the standards of a professional seller and focus on building your business positively.
By approaching challenging customer scenarios with a level-headed and strategic mindset, you can minimize potential risks, protect your business’s integrity, and dedicate your time and resources to growing your business rather than engaging in unproductive conflicts.
It’s essential to recognize and address the concerns of honest customers who have valid reasons for reaching out to you. Here are two types of honest customers you may encounter and how to handle their feedback:
The Honest Customer Who Deserves to Be Heard and May Be Reasonable in Return
When a customer claims that your product is defective or expresses dissatisfaction, it’s important to listen to their concerns and provide appropriate assistance. If they request a return due to a defect, it’s best to accommodate their request and guide them through the return process. By handling their concern promptly and professionally, you can maintain customer satisfaction and potentially resolve the issue to their satisfaction.
Similarly, if a customer reports a missing package, it’s crucial to assist them in tracking it down and investigating the situation before jumping to conclusions. Avoid assuming that the customer is being dishonest and asking for a replacement without proper investigation. By offering support and helping them resolve the issue, you demonstrate your commitment to exceptional customer service.
The Confused Customer Who Could Use Some Help With the Rating System
Some customers may leave a star rating that doesn’t align with their positive written comment or feedback. In such cases, it’s important to approach the situation with professionalism, politeness, and patience. Instead of nagging or pressuring the customer to correct their rating, focus on resolving any confusion they may have about the rating system.
Engage in open and helpful communication to clarify any misconceptions and guide them through the process of updating their rating if they wish to do so. Remember, it’s crucial to prioritize customer satisfaction and maintain a positive customer experience throughout the resolution process. By handling these situations with care, you can avoid turning a happy customer into an unhappy one and maintain a positive seller-customer relationship.
By actively listening to customer concerns, providing appropriate assistance, and demonstrating professionalism and patience, you can effectively address the needs of honest customers and maintain a positive reputation for your business.
Suspicious Brand Messages
When operating as a reseller, it’s not uncommon to receive messages from brands questioning your authority to sell their products. Dealing with such situations requires proper handling and communication.
While we delve into this topic in detail in the Identifying Suppliers chapter, it is important to note the following steps:
Mark as “No Response Needed” : Regardless of the content of the message, it is Amazon’s requirement that you either respond or mark the message as “no response needed.” This ensures that you adhere to Amazon’s guidelines and maintain a professional approach.
Suspect Competitors or Inappropriate Messages: If you receive frequent messages that become a nuisance or suspect that the messages are from competitors attempting to undermine your business or contain inappropriate content, it is advisable to label them as “suspicious.” This action alerts Amazon to investigate the messages on your behalf, helping you address any potential issues.
By marking suspicious or inappropriate messages, you allow Amazon to review the content and take appropriate actions if necessary. This helps maintain the integrity of your business and protects you from any unfair practices or unauthorized claims made by brands or competitors.
Remember, it is crucial to handle these messages in a professional and respectful manner. Properly categorizing and reporting suspicious messages allows Amazon to assess the situation and take appropriate measures, ensuring a fair and transparent selling environment for all sellers.
Let’s delve into Amazon’s policy regarding item returns. According to Amazon, returns are considered a normal part of online business, and sellers are expected to accept most returns. For detailed information on handling returns and refunds, I recommend reviewing Amazon’s “Handling Returns and Refunds Help” page on their website.
It is important to note that as a seller, you are expected to accept returns that fall within the guidelines specified on the Help page. While there may be instances where a return can be refused, it is generally encouraged to accept returned items whenever possible to provide excellent customer service.
As a third-party seller, it is crucial to have a return policy that is equal to or more favorable than Amazon’s policy. When a return request is made within 30 days of the buyer receiving the item, you are not permitted to make a determination on whether to approve or reject the request. Amazon Seller Support emphasizes that sellers should accept any return for any reason within this 30-day timeframe or provide a refund if physical acceptance of the returned product is not possible.
Here is the official language from Amazon: “Amazon.com, and many sellers on Amazon.com, offer returns for most items within 30 days of receipt of shipment.” While most sellers align their returns policy with Amazon’s, there may be variations in some seller returns policies. For instance, certain sellers such as wineries may not accept returns but could offer refunds. You can review each seller’s specific return policy in the Online Returns Center.
In specific categories like electronics, sellers are permitted to retain up to 50% of the purchase price as a fee when the returned product is significantly different from what was originally shipped. However, it is important to exercise discretion even in these cases.
When sellers fail to approve return requests, buyers have the option to file an A-to-Z Guarantee claim. Buyers are expected to work with sellers to make return arrangements before filing a claim. If a buyer receives an item that is materially different and doesn’t receive return instructions from the seller, they may file an A-to-Z Guarantee claim for the purchase.
If a claim is filed and found in the buyer’s favor, a return is not mandatory. According to Amazon, “Once a customer is reimbursed for an order via the A-to-Z Guarantee, Amazon.com does not obligate that customer to return the item they received. However, you are welcome to contact your customer directly to arrange for a return of the item.”
How to Reduce Return Rates
Let’s discuss strategies to reduce return rates and ensure perfect fulfillment for your orders. This is crucial for both merchant fulfilled orders and maintaining customer satisfaction.
For merchant fulfilled orders, it is essential to follow these guidelines
- Ship the correct products: Ensure that your SKU matches the correct product listing on Amazon. Double-check the accuracy of your inventory to avoid shipping the wrong items to customers.
- Pack orders with care: The quality of your packaging materials and the legibility of labels play a significant role in ensuring that merchandise reaches customers in excellent condition. Invest in sturdy packaging materials and ensure that labels are clearly visible and accurate.
- Use a reliable shipping service: Partner with a reliable shipping service provider that can deliver your products undamaged and within the specified time frame. Choose a shipping method that aligns with the customer’s expectations and ensures timely delivery.
- Ship promptly: Optimize your warehouse processes to ensure prompt shipping. Strive to ship orders on the same day or next day to meet customer expectations and minimize delays.
By meeting or exceeding customer expectations for fulfillment, you significantly reduce the likelihood of returns. Many customers order products just in time for special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries, so ensuring timely and accurate delivery is crucial.
In addition to perfect fulfillment, there are a few other strategies you can implement to reduce return rates
- Accurate product descriptions: Provide detailed and accurate product descriptions, including specifications, dimensions, and features. Clear and comprehensive information helps customers make informed purchase decisions, reducing the chances of returns due to mismatched expectations.
- High-quality product images: Use high-resolution images that showcase your products from various angles. This gives customers a clear visual representation of what they can expect, minimizing the chances of returns based on appearance discrepancies.
- Proactive customer support: Be responsive and attentive to customer inquiries and concerns. Promptly address any pre-purchase questions to ensure customers have accurate information before placing an order. By providing excellent customer support, you can help prevent issues that may lead to returns.
- Review feedback and analyze return reasons: Regularly review customer feedback and analyze return reasons to identify any recurring issues or patterns. This information can help you make necessary improvements to product quality, packaging, or fulfillment processes to reduce returns in the long run.
Remember, reducing return rates is a continuous process that requires attention to detail and a customer-centric approach. By focusing on perfect fulfillment, accurate product information, proactive customer support, and ongoing improvement, you can minimize return rates and enhance the overall customer experience.
Utilize FBA for Some or All of Your Products
Utilize FBA for some or all of your products: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) can be a valuable resource to meet your fulfillment obligations efficiently. By leveraging Amazon’s extensive fulfillment network, you can ensure that your products are prepared and shipped properly, reducing the likelihood of returns. However, it’s important to adhere to FBA requirements to avoid potential sanctions such as inventory disposal or future shipment blocks.
Choose reliable carriers
When selecting a carrier for your shipments, consider their reliability and track record. Some carriers may have higher rates of delays or mishandled packages, which can increase the chances of returns. Additionally, certain private carriers offer shipping options that work in conjunction with the U.S. Postal Service, which can help reduce costs but may also result in longer delivery times. Ensure that your chosen carrier provides shipping confirmation numbers that you can easily input into Seller Central for tracking purposes.
Provide comprehensive product detail information: To minimize returns resulting from customer confusion or dissatisfaction, it’s crucial to provide accurate and detailed product information. Be thorough in filling out all relevant fields and specifications, leaving no room for ambiguity or misunderstanding. By providing precise and comprehensive details, you set clear expectations for customers, reducing the likelihood of negative feedback and returns.
By leveraging FBA, selecting reliable carriers, and providing comprehensive product information, you can enhance the fulfillment process and minimize returns. Remember that clear communication and transparency are key in ensuring customer satisfaction and reducing the chances of misunderstandings or product dissatisfaction.
Detailed Product Descriptions
Detailed Product Descriptions: Craft compelling and informative product descriptions that capture the imagination of potential customers. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what information you would like to know before making a purchase. Highlight the key features and benefits of your product in a persuasive manner. Using bullet points for important features can aid in easy comparison with other products, but ensure that the overall description is rich in relevant details. Also, be vigilant about incorrect or incomplete description content on the product detail page and promptly raise the issue with Seller Support.
High-Quality Product Images: The visual presentation of your product is crucial in helping customers envision the ownership experience. Use high-quality images that showcase the product in a clear and focused manner against a simple background. Ensure that the images accurately represent the color, size, and other relevant aspects mentioned in the product description. Clear and appealing visuals can enhance customer confidence and reduce the likelihood of returns.
Additional Information: Provide additional details that eliminate customer surprises and potential reasons for returns.
This may include legal disclaimers, intended audience, material composition, ingredients (if applicable), usage directions, country of origin, and any other relevant information. By offering comprehensive information, you set clear expectations and minimize the chances of dissatisfaction or misunderstanding.
Transparent Shipping Information: Clearly communicate your shipping policy, including costs and estimated delivery times. Customers consider shipping information a crucial factor in their purchasing decisions. If the product does not arrive within the expected timeframe, it can lead to customer dissatisfaction and potential returns. By setting accurate shipping expectations, you can reduce the likelihood of returns related to delivery timelines.
By implementing these strategies, such as crafting detailed product descriptions, using high-quality images, providing additional information, and being transparent about shipping, you can enhance customer satisfaction and minimize the occurrence of returns. Remember, creating a clear and compelling product listing is vital in ensuring that customers have a positive buying experience and are more likely to keep the product they purchase.
Minimize Price Changes
Frequent and significant price changes can lead to buyer remorse and increased return rates. Customers may feel dissatisfied if they discover that they purchased a product at a higher price than the current listing. Strive for consistency in your pricing to maintain customer trust and minimize returns. It is essential to carefully evaluate the impact of price fluctuations on customer satisfaction and weigh the benefits of buy box share against potential return rates when repricing your products.
Proactively soliciting feedback from customers can provide valuable insights and help address potential issues before they escalate. Encourage customers to share their experiences and opinions by reaching out to them after their purchase. Provide clear channels for communication and a way for customers to contact you directly. By actively seeking feedback, you can address any concerns or misunderstandings, potentially resolving issues and preventing unnecessary returns. Additionally, offering customers the opportunity to provide feedback can contribute to a positive customer experience, enhancing their overall satisfaction.
Sell High-Quality Products
Quality is a fundamental aspect of customer satisfaction and plays a significant role in reducing return rates. When you offer high-quality products, customers are more likely to be satisfied with their purchase and less inclined to return items. Focus on sourcing products from reputable suppliers and manufacturers who prioritize quality control. Conduct thorough inspections and quality checks to ensure that the products meet or exceed customer expectations. By consistently delivering high-quality items, you can build a reputation for reliability and customer satisfaction, which can lead to a decrease in return rates.
Maintain Excellent Customer Service
Building and maintaining effective communication channels with customers is crucial for reducing return rates. Respond promptly and courteously to customer inquiries, concerns, and issues. Provide clear and accurate information about your products, including specifications, features, and any potential limitations. Be proactive in addressing customer queries and providing assistance throughout the buying process. By demonstrating exceptional customer service, you can establish a positive relationship with customers and mitigate potential reasons for returns.
Consider Selling Lower-Priced Items
While not applicable to all sellers or product categories, selling lower-priced items can sometimes result in lower return rates. Customers may be less likely to return inexpensive items compared to higher-priced ones. However, it is important to carefully evaluate your business model and product offerings to determine if this approach aligns with your goals. Selling lower-priced items should not compromise the quality or value you provide to customers. Each product category and market segment requires a tailored approach, considering factors such as customer preferences, competition, and profitability.
Best Practices for Returned Products
Best Practices for Handling Returned Products: As a reseller, it is essential to establish effective processes for handling customer returns. Differentiating between returned FBA orders and merchant-fulfilled orders is crucial. For FBA orders, promptly process returns, assess product condition, and replenish inventory with sellable items. For merchant-fulfilled orders, communicate with customers, assess return reasons, and restock or resell returned items when possible. Maintain accurate records, utilize dedicated software, and regularly review and refine return management processes to minimize losses, optimize efficiency, and uphold customer satisfaction.
Best Practices for Handling Returned FBA Orders
As an FBA seller, it is important to understand the process and best practices for handling returned orders. When a customer initiates a return, the returned items are first sent to an Amazon fulfillment center. At the fulfillment center, Amazon conducts a superficial review of the items to determine if they can be resold as new. If the items meet the criteria, they are put back into your active FBA inventory for future sale.
However, if the returned items are deemed unfulfillable, meaning they cannot be resold as new, they are placed in a separate inventory category called “unfulfillable inventory.” At this point, you have a few options to decide what to do with these items. If you wish to have them sent back to you, you can request Amazon to return them to an address of your preference. Keep in mind that there is a cost associated with this service, which is $0.50 per standard size unit and $0.60 per oversized unit.
Alternatively, you can choose to have Amazon dispose of the unfulfillable items on your behalf. The disposal fee is $0.15 per standard-sized unit and $0.30 per oversized unit. If you decide not to take any action and leave the unfulfillable items in the fulfillment center, they will continue to accumulate short-term and long-term storage fees, similar to your other FBA inventory.
It is important to note that when a returned order is processed, Amazon will reimburse you for 80% of the referral fee (commission fee) collected on the original sale, up to $5 per unit. Amazon retains the remaining 20% of the referral fee as a fee for handling the return. This reimbursement helps compensate for the inconvenience and costs associated with the return process.
If you choose to have unfulfillable items returned to you, it is essential to be prepared for the condition in which they may arrive. Amazon may send the items back in a box, but the packaging may be subpar. Additionally, it can be challenging to match the returned items with their original customer orders due to the lack of clear identification. Therefore, it is recommended to carefully review the packing slip included in the box and take necessary steps to identify and process the returned items accurately.
To manage unfulfillable inventory effectively and avoid being overwhelmed by a large volume of returns, Amazon offers an automated unfulfillable product removal process. You can find specific steps for this process in Seller Central under “Automated Unfulfillable Removals.” This automated option allows you to schedule regular removals of unfulfillable items, such as twice a month, monthly, or quarterly. However, you also have the flexibility to manually request the removal of unfulfillable inventory at any time, in addition to the automated process.
Considering the levels of returned units you typically receive and the seasonal variations that can impact return rates, it may be beneficial to add a weekly manual step to review and remove unfulfillable items. By implementing regular removal practices, you can prevent the accumulation of unfulfillable inventory and ensure a more efficient handling of returns within your facility.
Returned Merchant-Fulfilled Orders:
If you fulfill your orders as a merchant, you have more flexibility in setting your return policy for Amazon orders. You can customize your return preferences in the “Return Settings” section found in the “Settings” drop-down menu on the main Seller Central page. Regardless of the return policy you establish, you can expect to receive a number of returned items that will require processing.
When handling returned items, it is crucial to have someone on your team dedicated to processing returns regularly. Each returned item will need to be assessed and categorized based on its condition. The grading of returned or unfulfillable items typically falls into the following categories:
Resellable as new condition: These items can be put back into inventory for resale as new, requiring no modifications.
Resellable in new condition with slight modifications: Some items may require minor adjustments such as new packaging, a new instruction manual, or cleaning to be resold as new.
Resellable as used product: Items that are still in usable condition but no longer meet the criteria for new condition can be resold as used.
Not resellable: These items cannot be resold due to unrepairable damage or excessive wear caused by the customer.
If you believe an item can be resold on Amazon in new or used form, it is advisable to cover any existing stickers on the packaging. Amazon often places stickers on returned FBA orders, which can be difficult to remove without damaging the packaging. Having blank white stickers available can help you cover up these stickers, ensuring that customers perceive the product as new rather than a refurbished item.
It is worth mentioning that if the packaging has too many stickers or scuffs, it may be better to provide new packaging for the item rather than relying on multiple white stickers.
In certain Amazon categories where there is no option to sell used items, you will need to explore alternative platforms to sell them or consider writing off these items as a loss. Companies like Optoro.com specialize in capitalizing on returned inventory and can assist with managing unresellable items that cannot be recovered.
As a best practice, it is recommended to strip all usable parts and paperwork from unresellable items. These components can be repurposed to enhance future returns that can be resold as new with slight modifications.
While it is undesirable to have a significant amount of written-off products, it is important to track how often each product needs to be written off due to customer returns. Additionally, monitoring the recovery rate for each returned item can provide insights into the overall cost involved in selling each SKU on the Amazon marketplace. Collecting and analyzing such data over time will enable you to make informed decisions regarding the profitability of your catalog on the Amazon platform.
To avoid order cancellations and maintain good seller performance metrics, it is crucial to manage your inventory effectively. Make sure that your stock levels are accurately updated in Seller Central to prevent situations where you run out of stock in your warehouse but still have the item listed as available on Amazon. Selling products that you cannot fulfill can result in canceled orders. In such cases, as a reseller, you should act swiftly by purchasing the product from another supplier, arranging drop-shipping from a competitor if necessary, or even buying it at a retail store (at full price) to ensure order fulfillment.
Pre-cancellations should be avoided as they can negatively impact your seller performance and may lead to negative feedback. If you are a manufacturer and unable to restock the product promptly, you may have no choice but to cancel the order. When you realize that you cannot fulfill an order, it is essential to cancel it promptly, preferably within 48 hours. Reach out to the customer via email to apologize for the inconvenience caused. Some sellers have successfully persuaded customers to consider an alternative product, but it is important to approach this with professionalism, genuine regret, and decisiveness.
A-to-Z Guarantee Claims
Amazon’s A-to-Z Guarantee provides customer protection when purchasing from third-party sellers. Customers can file a claim if the following conditions are met: they have contacted the seller, waited for a response for two business days, and their request falls within the A-to-Z Guarantee conditions. These conditions include instances where the third-party seller fails to deliver the item within three days past the maximum estimated delivery date or 30 days from the order date (whichever is sooner), the received item is damaged, defective, materially different from the product description, or if the seller has agreed to provide a refund but fails to do so or provides an incorrect refund amount. Customers can also file a claim if they are dissatisfied with the quality of eligible services provided by the seller. It’s important to note that claims may not be covered if the customer refuses the package and the return lacks tracking information.
However, certain items and situations are not covered by the Amazon A-to-Z Guarantee. These include payments for services (except specific eligible services), digital merchandise, cash or stored value instruments (excluding physical gift cards), prohibited items (in violation of the Amazon Payments Acceptable Use policy), credit card payments that are subject to chargebacks initiated by the issuing bank, and damage or loss occurring to goods after delivery to a freight forwarder. For more information on A-to-Z coverage restrictions for wine purchased on Amazon Wine, refer to the “About Amazon Wine Claims” section. Additionally, watches, jewelry, collectibles, and fine art items must be returned according to the guidelines outlined in Amazon’s Return Policies to be eligible for the A-to-Z Guarantee.
A chargeback, also known as a charge dispute, occurs when a cardholder contacts their bank to dispute a charge for an order placed on Amazon.com. Chargebacks can be filed for various reasons, including unauthorized use of a credit card.
As per Amazon’s agreement, the responsibility for chargebacks differs based on the nature of the dispute
- Chargebacks filed for service-related reasons, such as non-receipt of the item, are the seller’s responsibility.
- Payment-related fraud chargebacks, such as stolen credit cards or payment fraud attempts, are the responsibility of Amazon Payments.
To prevent chargeback claims, it is important to follow these best practices
- Ensure that you do not change the shipping address provided by Amazon.com. Any disputes filed for orders shipped to a different address will be your liability.
- Use a shipping method with a tracking number to provide proof of delivery.
- For high-value merchandise, use delivery confirmation with a required signature.
- Maintain records of the shipping date, shipping method used, and any available tracking information for at least six months after the order date.
When a buyer requests a chargeback from their credit card company, the credit card company contacts Amazon.com for transaction details. Amazon Payments will then notify you via email to provide transaction information.
You can respond to a chargeback notification in two ways
- Issuing an immediate refund.
- Representing your case to the credit card company through Amazon.
It is crucial to respond to chargeback notifications within seven calendar days of receiving the email notification. Failure to respond may result in a debit for the transaction. Additionally, you must reply to any further requests for information within the specified time frame.
The final outcome of a chargeback can take up to 90 days from the date the charge was represented to the issuing bank. In rare cases, it may take even longer. If you are held financially responsible for the chargeback, you will be notified via email, outlining the reason for the debit.
If you believe that you were wrongly debited for a chargeback, you can dispute it by replying to the notification. Amazon will review your dispute; however, it is important to note that the issuing bank’s decision is usually final, and there may be no recourse for appeal.
If you have any questions regarding a prior chargeback decision, you can reply to the email notification or contact [email protected]. For more detailed information, please refer to Amazon’s Help section on chargebacks: http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200223890
Fraud has become an increasingly prevalent issue for many sellers, and it’s important to be aware of the different types of fraud and take protective measures. One of our clients experienced a significant scam over a three-month period, resulting in $15,000 worth of goods being stolen.
Upon discovering a large number of suspicious returns, the seller promptly reported the situation to Amazon. Amazon responded by shutting down the customer’s account, but the customer persisted, attempting to make purchases under different aliases and using PO Box addresses. Amazon took action and shut down multiple accounts associated with the fraudulent activity. While it is reassuring that Amazon provided assistance in this case, it is important to note that they do not assume responsibility for any resulting losses and do not reimburse the seller.
The two most common types of fraud we have encountered are as follows
- The False Return: This occurs when a buyer defrauds the seller by returning a used, defective, or older version of the item originally sent by the seller.
- The No-show Package: In this scenario, a buyer claims non-receipt of a package even after it has been confirmed as delivered. The buyer then requests a refund or asks for an additional item to be sent.
To address these types of fraud and protect yourself, it is crucial to implement appropriate measures. However, it is important to remember that one bad transaction should not discourage you from continuing in this business for the long term. While losses due to fraud can be disheartening, it is essential to have robust systems in place and take proactive and retroactive measures to combat fraudulent activities.
Even after implementing preventive measures, it may be challenging to prove fraud definitively in every case. In such situations, it is advisable to move on to the next order rather than dwelling on unproven instances of fraud. It is important to strike a balance between protecting your business and maintaining a focus on long-term success.
By staying vigilant and continuously improving your fraud prevention strategies, you can minimize the impact of fraudulent activities and ensure the security of your business operations.
The False Return: Dealing with false returns can be a challenge, but there are strategies you can employ to mitigate the risk. One approach is to identify high-risk items and exclude them from your inventory altogether. Many sellers have adopted this practice as a proactive measure. However, some innovative sellers have developed an intriguing solution.
These sellers have started using warranty labels on their products, which have proven to be quite effective. These labels, typically priced at around 15 cents each, cannot be peeled off without revealing the word “VOID.” Additionally, each label is equipped with a unique serial number that allows for easy date tracking if needed. When a buyer attempts to remove the label to switch the item, the serial number is destroyed in the process.
What’s remarkable about these labels is that they can be removed from the item without causing any damage. However, once someone tries to tamper with the label, it becomes unusable. Many of these sellers offer a warranty period of 60-90 days on their products as long as the warranty label remains intact.
Interestingly, the use of these labels has resulted in a noticeable decrease in warranty claims for these sellers. This suggests that the problem of false returns may have been more widespread than initially anticipated.
It’s worth noting that Amazon has demonstrated a strong inclination to support sellers in cases where the serial numbers on these labels have been tampered with. This backing from Amazon further emphasizes the effectiveness of these labels in combating fraudulent activities.
By implementing such innovative solutions and utilizing warranty labels, sellers can take proactive steps to protect their products, reduce false returns, and strengthen their position against fraudulent behavior.
The No-show Package: When it comes to instances where a customer claims that a package has not arrived, there are certain protective measures you can take depending on whether you fulfill the product from your own warehouse or utilize Amazon’s FBA service.
For sellers who handle fulfillment in-house, obtaining signature confirmation, opting for Direct Signature (available through FedEx), and considering insurance coverage for your items can provide added protection against such situations.
On the other hand, utilizing FBA can serve as a preventative measure since Amazon assumes responsibility for lost packages.
Let’s consider an example of how experienced sellers typically handle a customer’s claim of a missing package: Firstly, they apologize to the buyer and reassure them that the product was indeed shipped, providing the confirmation number as evidence. They kindly suggest that the customer checks alternative locations where the package might have been delivered, such as a neighbor’s house or with friends or family.
The seller then requests the customer’s feedback on the status of the missing item, emphasizing that they are willing to issue a full refund if it remains unaccounted for.
If the package is not located, the seller proceeds to file a claim for theft and, if applicable, also files an insurance claim if insurance was purchased for the shipment.
By following this approach, the seller aims to ensure customer satisfaction while also recouping the loss through insurance coverage. In cases where the buyer might be attempting fraud, the potential threat of a theft claim may encourage them to reconsider their actions and, ultimately, lead to the recovery of the missing item.
Adopting these measures not only helps address customer concerns but also allows sellers to safeguard their business against fraudulent activities and minimize financial losses.
We often receive questions about feedback solicitation on Amazon. Some sellers wonder if Amazon’s own feedback solicitation is enough. While Amazon does solicit feedback, it has been observed that seller-generated requests tend to generate more positive feedback from customers.
Another common question is whether a seller’s feedback requests will result in negative feedback. The answer to that depends on the quality of the seller’s operations. It is recommended to address any customer service issues before focusing on feedback solicitation. Additionally, becoming an FBA seller can help minimize negative and neutral feedback.
To prevent negative feedback, it is beneficial to give buyers an opportunity to contact you first and address any concerns they may have. However, it’s important to note that some negative feedback may still occur, even with the best business practices. Amazon does not expect 100% feedback from sellers. Maintaining feedback within the 98%-100% range is considered top-level for buy box eligibility, so it’s not necessary to worry about a single negative feedback that cannot be resolved.
So, what does an effective feedback request look like? Effective requests should primarily focus on showing concern for customer satisfaction rather than simply asking for feedback. Consider using a softer approach and experiment with different subject lines. For example, subject lines like “Your feedback matters,” “Please help me grow my business,” or “Amazon buyers care what you have to say, please share” can be more appealing to customers.
Now let’s address some common questions about Amazon customer reviews:
- Who can write Amazon.com customer reviews? Any registered Amazon.com customer is entitled to write customer reviews.
- Does the reviewer have to buy the item from Amazon.com? No, it doesn’t matter where the item was purchased. Whether it was bought from Amazon, received as a gift, or borrowed, as long as the reviewer is a registered Amazon.com customer, they are welcome to write a review.
- In what order do customer reviews appear on a detail page? By default, customer reviews are displayed from newest to oldest. However, on most detail pages, you may find one or two “Spotlight Reviews” at the beginning of the customer reviews section. Customers can also sort reviews by different criteria.
- How long do customer reviews stay on the site? Customer reviews stay on the site indefinitely. There is no expiration date for customer reviews.
- Can Amazon.com customer reviews be removed? Yes, Amazon has the ability to strike reviews that violate their guidelines. Additionally, customers have 60 days to remove their own reviews if they choose to do so.
- Won’t asking for reviews help the competition for items sold by other sellers? Some sellers may worry that soliciting product reviews for items sold by multiple Amazon merchants could benefit their competition. However, encouraging positive reviews benefits the overall product and can lead to increased sales for all sellers competing for the buy box. It helps raise the water for every boat, so to speak.
Remember, product reviews are not only beneficial for private-label items branded to the seller. They can also help increase sales for branded items and expedite the selling process.