You’ve been an Amazon seller for the last few months and have worked hard to build a solid positive Amazon business. All that hard work to get nearly perfect star ratings is now threatened with negative news – late shipments and customer complaints – all leading to a lower overall average star rating.
The pressure is mounting, as terrible reviews are turning off potential buyers and will no doubt begin to impact your revenue if not managed quickly and efficiently. Since you cannot remove reviews, a quick action plan must be created to right the ship and provide solutions that resolve the negative press before more future customers see them.
Whether you’re First Party or Third party sellers, negative feedback will bite hard. There’s also the option to reply to the review publicly on the seller feedback manager feature and tell them to contact you on a different platform, like email. However, very few buyers would actually do so. But now, things have changed.
Luckily, Amazon now provides a way for sellers with who are enrolled in Brand Registry to communicate with buyers who left 1-3 stars reviews on their products! In this way, you can address the problem and perhaps have a chance that the buyer will update their review.
Before we jump into that, we need to understand Amazon’s Review System first.
Understanding Amazon’s Review System
Site visitors pay attention to the star reviews that show up at the top, as these have been deemed helpful by other shoppers. Reviews are also sorted by star rating and helpfulness, so the five-star reviews near the top of each product page are generally more trustworthy than those randomly dropped further down.
Additionally, Amazon offers an ‘Amazon Verified Purchase’ label on some star reviews, which suggests that they come from a reliable source and can be counted as an informed opinion.
That said, Amazon says it takes multiple criteria to determine the product star ratings. So, it isn’t simply averaging the stars and posting the average on the product’s description.
Amazon looks at many different things when figuring out the star rating for a product, not just the positive reviews. They look at how helpful the reviews are and what others say about them.
Some reviews may have an “Amazon Verified Purchase” label, which means they come from reliable sources and can be trusted. There’s a good chance that these reviews bring more impact to the star rating of a product.
Do give the community guidelines about reviews a read, and you’ll understand the policy of reviews on Amazon much deeper.
Why do Customers Write Negative Reviews?
There are multiple possible causes behind a negative, yet unfortunately honest review. The following are some examples. The customer received the following:
- Poor product quality
- Wrong/missing item received
- Shipping delays or issues with delivery
- High prices
- Bad customer service and communication
- Lack of features compared to what was promised in the listing
- Complaints about misleading product descriptions
- Unsatisfied with the refund policy
- Poor packaging
- Faulty product design
Of course, Amazon customers will leave a positive review instead of a negative review if the points above are the opposite. This is, indeed, a lot of things to take care of.
The Effects of Bad Reviews
Terrible reviews will have a huge domino effect on your business. Once all domino stacks keep falling to one another, you may expect the following impacts:
Loss of potential buyers/customers
Research suggests that a staggering 88% of consumers read at least one review before they buy, which means terrible reviews can result in a significant loss of potential customers.
This is because terrible reviews paint an ugly picture of the product or service, resulting in current and potential buyers avoiding engaging with the seller entirely.
Poor market reputation
When potential customers see nasty remarks, they will likely avoid buying from that same seller in the future. This will decrease sales, potentially leading to financial loss due to fewer transactions. Additionally, other buyers will be more cautious before buying anything from the affected seller.
Difficulty in Maintaining High Rankings on Amazon
Selling rankings on the online retail platform are calculated mainly based on customer feedback and reviews from shoppers. If these reviews turn out to be negative, ratings for the seller will plummet. Their merchandise may become challenging to find as Amazon algorithms favor competing products over those with less-than-favorable feedback.
This makes it much harder to attract new customers or keep loyal ones, leaving them struggling in a highly competitive marketplace.
Higher Return Rates due to Customer Dissatisfaction
After prospective customers read an unfavorable review, they are less likely to buy the product or service, increasing the chance that they might return the item if their expectations weren’t met.
Additionally, many returning customers may not even leave a review, so the seller doesn’t get the opportunity to address any concerns before the customer returns it. This leaves them with a product they can’t sell and no feedback on why they had to return it in the first place, making it difficult for them to improve their processes or offerings.
How to Tackle Negative Reviews
The presence of negative reviews can be disheartening for any business, but the challenge is how to address them in an appropriate and effective manner. It is essential for businesses to have strategies in place to handle these reviews since it’s impossible (and unethical) to delete negative reviews just like that.
Openly responding to negative feedback provides the opportunity to offer a thoughtful response and resolution and demonstrate an understanding of customer concerns that can eventually bring connection, and loyalty, and gain back customers’ trust.
Additionally, businesses should also strive to ensure they are providing the best service possible so as not to be vulnerable to bad reviews in the first place.
With that said, bad reviews should never be taken lightly; provide timely and sincere responses, as neglecting them or ignoring complaints can only make matters worse. Since sellers cannot remove negative reviews, they have to suck it up and handle it professionally for the sake of their business.
Contact Buyer Option
Once upon a time, sellers on Amazon saw the message from Amazon on their brand dashboard once they are enrolled in Brand Registry, a new piece of the community guidelines, as follows:
“We listened to your feedback! “
“We’ve been tracking brand feedback related to the Customer Reviews experience. We heard that you love having a way to see all your reviews in one place and that it is nice to be able to filter by star rating and time period.
You also shared your frustrations over not being able to directly engage with your customers who left critical reviews. “
“We’re now offering a brand-only benefit that allows you to reach out to buyers who purchased your branded product directly from you, who left critical (1-3 star reviews) via templated emails that allow you to communicate with buyers via buyer-seller messaging.“
“We believe this will build brand trust and help establish stronger relationships between you and your customers. “
This gives birth to a new feature for sellers to contact buyer directly. Thanks to this, sellers with Amazon Brand Registry now have a bigger chance of addressing the 1-3 star reviews. Yes, you can get the buyer with other methods, but we don’t condone doing so as it is unprofessional. Follow the following steps to do so:
- Open the customer review tool on the brand dashboard and find the negative review in question.
- Press “Contact Buyer” on the right side of the review
- A window will pop up. You can choose the reason to contact the buyer, either to do a courtesy refund or a review.
- Courtesy Refund gives the customer the freedom to have a full refund. Only choose the courtesy refund option if you’re very sure about it. If not, select the review option.
- A template will be generated, along with the review details, the product, and the order id. The template message essentially asks the buyer to reply to your email to address the cause behind the negative review.
- This feature essentially allows you to send direct messages to the buyer via buyer-seller messaging, although you cannot necessarily edit the message.
- The customer’s email address can be hidden should the customer choose to reply and turn on the anonymous option. So, do not be surprised to see no email address origin since Amazon tend not to share customer email addresses.
- Once you’ve contacted the unhappy customer in question, determine if there are any issues or miscommunications that can be rectified amicably.
- Respectfully acknowledge the customer’s dissatisfaction and apologize for it. It’s better to maintain professionalism even if the cause of the bad review sounds absurd.
- Try to provide a solution, such as offering a refund, exchange, or credit. Also, ask customers who left low ratings or negative reviews what you could have done better. Of course, once you’ve been answered, you should negotiate if the proposal will hurt you too much.
- Follow up with the customer after resolving their issue. It’s unprofessional to ask customers to delete the negative reviews they’ve posted. Rather than that, you can emphasize that their case has been resolved, and we hope they’re now happy customers. This indirectly tells them that their poor reviews are now irrelevant.
- We can only hope that the unhappy buyers remove negative reviews they’ve posted or rewrite good reviews afterward.
Utilizing Amazon Sellers Support
There’s another option if you feel that the Contact Buyer method won’t simply do. If you’re confident that a negative review is too absurd and will help no customers with their shopping experience, you may turn to Amazon’s official channel.
Amazon has a policy for manipulative reviews but obviously cannot monitor the entire reviews on Amazon. If a negative review violates what’s described in the policy, then you can report it.
Suppose it doesn’t; don’t bother. The Amazon seller central team will not follow up on your report. With that said, think thoroughly before submitting a report.
Follow the following steps to file a report:
- Find the negative review in question, then choose “Report Abuse.”
- After clicking the “Report Abuse” button, create a support case and provide details (order id, product, the review itself) about the negative review and issue.
- Submit your support case to Amazon’s seller support team.
- Wait for the seller support team to review the case and respond with instructions or additional questions if necessary.
It usually takes 1-2 business days for the Amazon Seller Central team to follow up on your request. However, the review process may take longer for more complex proposals.
If things work out in your favor, the best case scenario will be to have the seller central team remove the negative review from the customer or ask the customer to turn it into a positive one.
Prevent Bad Reviews from Happening
It is always better to try and prevent critical reviews when selling on Amazon than to address them after they happen. If you can stop negative reviews from happening in the first place, it will save you a lot of time and energy.
Avoid Late Shipments or Wrong Deliveries
To avoid getting bad reviews due to late shipments, sellers should plan ahead by anticipating factors such as high demand times of the year, such as the holidays. Consider increased lead times for order processing and keep close tabs on stock levels so you won’t run out unexpectedly.
Pack each item carefully to prevent sending the wrong product and meet deadlines for drop off or pick up from shipping centers. Above all, be transparent with customers throughout the process regarding any possible delays, keeping them up-to-date at every step, so they remain satisfied with their purchase.
Also, if you’re an FBA seller, you should have a good shipping experience. However, the management from your side also needs to be adequately quick.
If these tips and tricks are correctly followed, it will undoubtedly increase customer satisfaction, decrease the number of unsatisfied customers, and help improve ratings on Amazon for sellers. In other words, more good reviews for the business!
Try to Improve Customer Service Standards
Sellers have to work hard to ensure that they do good customer service at all times, as evidenced by how quickly they respond to inquiries, how detailed those responses are, and how satisfactory they are when resolving issues.
If a seller pays attention to feedback and has measures in place to address any potential issues promptly, there’s much less chance of them receiving a bad review; offering speedy resolution times increases customer satisfaction dramatically, which, in turn, will help protect them from negative reviews.
Good reviews are your best friends! Thus, ensure the customers receive the best customer experience you can provide.
Educate Customers on the Product’s Features and Benefits
Educating customers on a product’s features and benefits before they purchase is an important step for Amazon sellers to keep in mind. By providing an in-depth look at what a product offers, buyers can decide whether the product best suits their needs.
Furthermore, this type of education eliminates the chances that a buyer will be dissatisfied with the item after purchase because they were unaware of what it truly offers. Ultimately, informing customers properly can leave them feeling pleased with their purchase and result in fewer unfulfilled customer’s expectations.
Keep your eyes peeled for any error in the product’s feature description. If you hear a report from a customer who experiences a mistake because of your product’s own faulty description, you cannot allow other customers to experience the same thing, too.
Taking time to go over the features and benefits with potential buyers not only helps to foster customer loyalty and trust but also ultimately results in a more positive review.
Resolve Issues Amicably with Buyers who are Unhappy with Purchases
Amazon sellers should always strive to resolve issues with unhappy buyers amicably. When a problem arises, the seller should be proactive in looking for a mutually beneficial solution. This could mean offering a full refund, providing a replacement item if it’s defective, or providing a partial refund and offering to keep the product if the buyer is still unsatisfied.
Open and transparent communication between seller and buyer is vital; when both sides can work through the problem together, it can often result in a resolution without a bad review. Though it may be more challenging for some cases, taking the time to work out all angles of the situation helps ensure neither party suffers from lingering conflict.
Good customer service not only helps preserve relationships but can help prevent bad reviews from ruining an otherwise successful business on Amazon.
Leverage Social Media Platforms for Promoting Your Products & Brand Image
While negative feedback has an unavoidable and negative impact on a product or brand image, there are more effective ways to address them than by responding directly.
Leveraging social media platforms for product and brand image promotion can help to prevent negative feedback, as well as create a stronger foundation for positive reviews. This allows the brand to focus on the features and benefits of its products rather than having to spend time explaining away negative ones.
Along with that, social media can also function as a platform for you to gather even more customer reviews. Additionally, providing customers with information about their products through these platforms can potentially preempt any issues that may lead to negative feedback in the first place.
Potential customers will also send direct messages, so respond to them, too. Social media can also function as a platform for you to contact customers. It might not be the most professional method, but it serves that function well.
The end result is happier customers and improved brand loyalty, both of which contribute to excellent customer satisfaction and brand trust in the long run.
Implement Automation Tools For Continuous Monitoring of Customer Feedback and Product Ratings
By 2023, businesses will increasingly rely on Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions for handling negative reviews. AI tools are being developed that not only automatically scan a stream of comments, staying on top of volume and sentiment, but also provide actionable insights to business owners. Automation tools have become increasingly important to businesses looking to monitor customer feedback and product ratings continuously.
Furthermore, AI-based systems like natural language processing algorithms can help businesses understand what customers are saying and provide an accurate analysis of any potential risk. As a result, employing these solutions not only saves time and resources but also promotes better customer relations when it comes to dealing with those who left critical reviews.
These tools can deliver timely information on industry trends, user opinions, feedback from competitors, and other metrics that can guide a company’s long-term success. In addition to tracking customer satisfaction scores and ratings for products, automation tools can also be used to quickly identify emerging trends and patterns in the marketplace.
With the ability to monitor customer feedback continuously, companies can stay ahead of any changes or updates needed for their products or services, as well as quickly adjust their strategies in response to customer input.
By investing in automated monitoring tools, businesses are gaining powerful insights into their performance and that of their competitors – affording them invaluable advantages in today’s ever-evolving marketplace.
Some examples of these tools are the following:
- Awario: starting from $24/month all the way to $249/month.
- Mention: starting from $41/month all the way to $149/month
- BrandMentions: starting from $99/month all the way to $499/month
- Hootsuite Insights: starting from $99/month all the way to $249/month
- Social Clout: starting from $149/month all the way to $895/month
- Zoho Social: starting from $14/month all the way to $52/month
- Jungle Scout: starting from $29/month all the way to $84/month
How to Use Customer Reviews as a Competitive Advantage on Amazon
Regardless if it’s a negative or a positive review, a review provides invaluable insights into the success or potential pitfalls of a product. By monitoring customer reviews, tracking ratings, and responding to any issues promptly, you can use the data collected to make informed decisions and stay ahead of your competition.
Not only does this help in improving the product itself, but it also allows for better engagement with customers, which can ultimately turn into sales. Investing time in understanding customer feedback on Amazon will give you a massive advantage over competitors who have ignored this part of the process altogether.
Analyzing feedback in combination with past and current sales data is key when making decisions about pricing, product placement, ad campaigns, inventory, and more. By leveraging consumer-driven insights, you’ll be able to drive more sales and ultimately increase profits for your business and have fewer disgruntled shoppers.
Taking advantage of both qualitative and quantitative input from customers will empower businesses. And, of course, the average star rating rises naturally from there.
In today’s competitive marketplace, Amazon sellers need to stay ahead of the game by leveraging customer feedback and actively monitoring ratings. Having a bad review on your product doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world for your business.
Don’t give up! Talk with them and try to find a solution that works for both of you. The average star rating rises after the bad review turns into a good one, naturally. With the features Amazon has provided, there’s always hope to fix your reputation, even if it means a full refund.
However, do keep in mind that when a customer leaves a negative review, they may have a point, too. Their honest review reflects the overall quality of your product or customer service.
As a professional Amazon seller, it’s only natural for you to be perceptive and do what you have to do to improve whatever needs improvement.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does Amazon put bad reviews at the top?
Amazon puts negative reviews at the top in order to ensure that Amazon customers are presented with honest and accurate feedback – even if it’s not helpful. This helps Amazon maintain a high level of trustworthiness and reliability among customers by ensuring that all feedback is considered. Additionally, it encourages sellers to strive for higher levels of customer satisfaction.
Does Amazon suppress bad reviews?
No, Amazon does not suppress bad reviews. The company publishes all customer reviews on its platform and strives to provide consistent and unbiased ratings. It is up to the seller to manage their product’s reputation on the platform by addressing any negative reviews or customer complaints that might arise to ensure a positive overall Amazon experience.
What percentage of customers leave reviews on Amazon?
Studies show that just a handful of 3-10% of Amazon customers generally leave reviews on Amazon. The exact figure of customer reviews can vary depending on the product type, the quality of customer service, and the overall customer experience. Additionally, reviews typically come from customers who have had either a very positive or negative experience with a product.
How do I contact customers who left my bad Amazon review?
You can contact customers who left a bad review on Amazon by utilizing the buyer-seller messaging system available in your account settings. If a customer leaves a bad review, you should email them directly through amazon to apologize and address their concerns.