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18/03/2009

Tips on handling neutral or negative feedback

Ever had a situation like this: You switch on the computer, have a quick look at your Seller Account and there it is – a Neutral or Negative Feedback!! But why? You have done everything to please your buyer: You prepared the package well and dispatched the product fast but there was still something wrong? More than likely your first reaction is to grab the phone, call Amazon and demand feedback removal, surely they’ll understand!?

Well, unfortunately it’s not quite that easy. Not for you, but also not for us. There will be a few reasons why buyers leave negative feedback that you feel are absolutely okay when something really did go wrong. But let’s not talk about these, we know that you’re happy to accept the odd occasion if something really went wrong. Let’s talk about the instances when the feedback was not due to something within your control.

So what kind of feedback am I talking about?

~ “Was charged too much for postage”
~ “Package was wet”
~ “Ordered it 3 days ago and it still hasn’t arrived”
~ “Please contact me about a problem with the order”

You will agree that all these factors are out of your control and there is indeed someone else to blame. Be it the post office, Amazon’s delivery rates or a misunderstanding. But what can you as the seller do about it?

Well, first of all let me tell you that even in an ideal world where you do everything you possibly can and deliver your parcels by hand, you can’t possibly please everyone! There will always be that one person that leaves you negative feedback and is not willing to discuss any further. This is very unfortunate but nothing that you can change.

What you can do is to try to keep that kind of feedbacks as low as possible. Here are a few guidelines to help you achieve this:

Contact your buyer! - Most issues can actually be solved by contacting the buyer. They can remove their own feedback if they feel it’s the right thing to do. What should you tell the buyer and how?

Firstly, be as polite as possible! We both know you might be very upset, this feedback could have a serious impact on your business but calm down first, deep breath and then contact the buyer through your Seller Account. Tell them that it does affect your business, that the problem they occurred is out of your control and ask them if they would consider removing the feedback. If you want, offer them to refund a certain amount of the price of the item. Also make sure you bear in mind that not every buyer reads their emails every day so it might well be the case that you will have to wait a few days for a response.
Next step would be to post a response to the feedback given by the buyer. It is extremely important for you and your business to be polite and professional at all times. The buyer who posted the feedback may not come back and see whether you replied to it, but other buyers will! They are likely to check your feedback rating before placing an order and want to find out why you got the negative feedback. Make sure your response to a negative feedback doesn’t scare them away.

~ WRONG: “Why did you leave negative feedback, this is not my fault!”
~ RIGHT: “We are sorry to hear that there was a problem with your order. We have contacted you by email in order to resolve this issue!”

So now you know that part, but why did I not suggest you contact Amazon about the feedback you wonder? Let’s get to that point next.

We cannot remove feedback unless it violates our Participation Agreement.
The cases where we can remove a feedback are clearly stated in our seller help FAQs.

  • If the feedback contains inappropriate language.
  • If the feedback contains personal information.
  • If the whole feedback is a product review.

What happens if you contact us anyway and it is not one of the above mentioned circumstances? Right, you guessed it: The feedback will stay. I want to highlight here that we will not make an exception to the guidelines we have been given, nor will our supervisors, even if we feel for the sellers in some instances. This is not the case because we don’t understand your concerns!

Imagine, you are the buyer and a transaction has disappointed you very much. You feel all you can do is leave negative feedback and the next day, it’s gone!! Why would someone remove the feedback, you ask yourself? And how can you ever trust a seller’s feedback again if negative ratings are being removed?

It might generally be a good tip for you as the seller to try to see it from the buyer’s point of view. Of course, this doesn’t always solve the issue but it might help you a bit in handling negative and neutral feedback.

As hard as it is to believe, but there is a good reason why so many buyers like buying on Amazon and it is partly that they trust Amazon to keep the platform honest and fair. Feedback is a part of this, even though it might sometimes appear to you to be unfair, we maybe wouldn’t be as successful if things were handled differently.

So, here we are now, at the end. You know what to do and what not to do. But what if nothing helps? The feedback is still there, you have contacted your buyer but they don’t want to reply to you or remove the feedback and Amazon can’t help either?

There is only one thing left to do…get yourself a nice cup of tea, sit back and know that there will always be the one person that is impossible to please.  Just don’t it let ruin your day.

-Lisa

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