Negative Seller Reviews and How to Deal with Them
As an Amazon seller, you get access to millions of customers who trust the platform. Amazon is one of the top performing marketplaces in the world, but selling there means following Amazon's many rules.
Amazon requires that all sellers maintain high account performance and reviews. Negative Amazon product reviews can hurt your account, as Amazon aims to keep it as close to 0% as possible. As negative reviews rise, you (and Amazon) will lose customers and product placement in search. If negative ratings rise over 5%, your seller privileges may be suspended.
If you are getting negative seller reviews, it's important that you take the time to respond to them and correct the issues behind them so that future feedback is positive.
Responding to Negative Seller Reviews
If someone leaves a bad seller review, they are likely frustrated and unhappy with the service they received. While this isn't always the case, studies show that 30% of consumers post negative seller reviews to vent frustration, 23% because they are angry, and the rest just want solutions. Your first reaction should be to reply to consumers who leave negative reviews, decide what is wrong, and try to find a solution that will make them happy.
- Respond to the buyer as quickly as you can with an apology letter. Create a schedule and check reviews regularly.
- Apologize to the buyer for any inconveniences and be sincere, no matter how trivial the matter may seem to you.
- Offer to make amends – it's cheaper to offer a free product replacement or a gift card than to have Amazon withdraw your seller privileges.
- Mention that you are taking steps to correct any issues causing the negative feedback.
Making a customer happy may result in them updating their feedback, but you should aim to prevent negative feedback in the first place. This means checking your messages on a regular basis, responding to complaints, and fixing issues as quickly and as professionally as possible. Most people will contact you before leaving a bad review, and you should try to solve any issues before they become negative reviews.
Take some time to respond to reviews every day. 88% of consumers check feedback before they make a purchase, so an unattended negative seller review could hurt your sales.
Offsetting Negative Seller Reviews
If the customer refuses to change or update their bad review of your company after you have offered a solution, you can try to increase the number of good reviews on your account. Amazon has banned incentivized reviews (unless they go through Amazon's Vine program), but you can still request honest ones. Positive seller reviews offset negative ones and will reduce your overall negative score.
- Package inserts offering a 10% off coupon or other perk can greatly boost reviews. Be careful to only ask for honest reviews, these giveaways shouldn't be available only to positive reviewers.
- Reach out to buyers who have had clear positive experiences and prompt them to leave their feedback to help others. Phrases like, "Would you mind leaving feedback on your experience to help other buyers?" are often successful.
- Don't be pushy. If you annoy someone, they may even leave a bad review.
A Learning Process
Customers don't leave negative reviews because you are doing a great job and making them happy. While you will occasionally have to deal with unreasonable people who cannot be pleased, the majority of your customers just want to be happy with their purchase. If you're not delivering that, then your seller reviews will decrease in quality.
Negative reviews can serve as a learning tool to help you determine what you're doing wrong and what you can fix.
- Read through your negative reviews.
- Write down complaints. Common complaints are receiving the wrong item, item not in stock, slow shipping, damaged items, poor or slow customer service, etc.
- Note if any are product reviews and not seller reviews. You can likely have Amazon remove product reviews.
- Analyze your most common complaints.
If you have frequent complaints, you can use them to identify your biggest problems and improve in that area.
For example, if you get multiple complaints about buyers receiving the wrong item, you need a better inventory management solution. If you receive frequent complaints about slow shipping, you need to work on your logistics. Switching to a 3PL might benefit you by speeding up shipping costs. If your complaints revolve around customer service, difficulty in contacting you, and slow replies, you should consider investing in a customer service team or helpdesk software.
Negative seller reviews can hurt your account, but also teach you where you need to improve for long-term success.
Removing Negative Seller Reviews
If you feel that the negative review of your seller account is unwarranted, you can contact Amazon to have them remove the feedback. You can see their policies for removing negative seller feedback here.
Removing negative seller reviews is straightforward if the customer has left a product review, is being irrational, or has mistakenly left the review.
Negative seller reviews can reduce sales and result in loss of seller privileges. However, if you respond quickly and professionally, fix issues where possible, and have Amazon remove unfair or irrelevant reviews from your profile, you can work to keep your feedback up.
Negative reviews are often caused by poor customer service, slow shipping, poor inventory management, or even stock-outs, and you should pay attention. If you have a problem in your fulfillment chain, you will continue receiving negative feedback because of it. Taking the time to review and improve your business practices will help you to increase customer satisfaction, reduce costs, and reduce negative feedback.
Chad Rubin is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Skubana, a multichannel e-commerce software the enables brands to unlock growth by unifying their back-office operations.