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12/05/2011

FAQ: Responding to negative feedback

FBA Sellers have been asking our Seller Support team how to address negative feedback from an Amazon.co.uk buyer. We all agree excellent customer service can help you increase sales and customer loyalty. FBA's Feedback Strikethrough policy is designed to help deal with negative feedback relating to customer service. When a buyer rates an order fulfilled by Amazon on your behalf based only on the service they received from Amazon, we can remove the rating and strikethrough the buyer comment. 

If a buyer says the order was received on time but that the condition is not as described or the seller has not responded to a request for a VAT invoice, the rating will not be removed and the feedback will remain in place. You still have options for dealing with negative feedback. In your seller account on the Manage Orders page, you can communicate directly with the buyer using the Contact Customer tool. Here are some tips to remember when communicating with the buyer:

• Keep communications private: Don’t post responses on the feedback page that might embarrass or anger the buyer.
• Ask for specific details: Find out what about their experience went wrong.
• Offer a solution: Make sure the solution addresses the issues the buyer mentions.
• Ask to remove feedback: After you have confirmed a solution has been reached, politely ask the buyer if they would remove their negative feedback.  

Learn more about the FBA Feedback Strikethrough policy and Getting Good Feedback with Customer Service.

 

Comments

The article ends with something that seems to be a missing set of links to 2 articles, can you double-check that?


I agree with the others who commented. Sometimes the feedback is not fair and there is nothing we can do about it. The lesson I learned is that negative feedback can be of 2 types: harsh and objective, harsh and subjective.

If it is of the objective kind, I learn from it and improve my product/service accordingly. As for feedback that is negative and unfair, knowing that I can't do anything about it helps me shift focus elsewhere and forget about it.

Before giving up, I always try to get in touch with the customer and address the problem personally. Many people respond positively and I think I have a success rate of above 50% when it comes to removing negative feedback. If I could distill this into one tip, that would be "talk to the customer before giving up".

I would gladly share my best practices with the other readers.

Absolutely correct. I've experienced the same feedback frustrations. Amazon have been known to remove feedback that doesn't strictly fall into its list of reasons for immediate removal. However my greatest concern is that it allows itself to fail and will remove a comment but doesn't allow us to fail in the identical manner. This is one rule for the master and one for the servant. Or perhaps it's blatant marketing for the fulfillment service. A little bribe?

I too find that there is the Amazon world view and reality. As long as new sellers flock to them and build attention grabbing accounts by giving goods away Amazon are unlikely to change. But there are a new breed who exploit the 'Buy Box' status by charging ever higher prices and thus rob Amazon of its status as the best value shopping experience. These accounts can stand the occasional bad fedback as their business is based on volume sales which hide negative reports. Some negative feedback uncovers shocking levels of customer service. However as long as they generate high commission payments Amazon appears to cast a blind eye to their business practices. By mixing a FBA and FMA judiciously they can all but eliminate the affects of negative feedback. The moral of the story - Amazon want big sellers. Perhaps there is new game in town? Sellers flocked from Ebay when prices plumetted. Will sellers flock from Amazon as small operators find it's not a level playing field?

Wouldn't it be great if customers could leave feedback for Amazon? Very occasionally disgruntled customers leave their comments in product reviews. If you ever find them they seem to be similar to the feedback comments Amazon tell us are perfectly valid to appear on our seller profiles. Don't do as I do, do as I say!

It's a shame that Amazon's dominance makes it both judge and jury in these matters

Such a shame that Amazon's good advice is practically useless in the real world. Along with every other seller I have ever spoken to, I think it is ridiculous that Amazon allows buyers to leave poor feedback for fulfillment issues when obviously the seller can not be responsible for the failure of a third party service such as Royal Mail.

Furthermore Amazon's strict criteria for removal is also often very unfair especially when the feedback is incorrect. I have suffered negative feedback for items claimed to have been delivered late on more than one occasion despite the fact that they were in fact delivered on time.

As for asking the buyer to remove the feedback, don't make me laugh. 9 out of 10 don't even bother to respond to your request, but then that's only to be expected from people who are ignorant enough to leave such feedback in the first place.

What is particularly galling though is Amazon's apathy, ignorance of, or simply the failure to recognise, that it is seller's income that ultimately suffers from poor feedback and when that feedback is unfair it needs to be taken far more seriously. I would ask any Amazon employee if he thought it was fair that a deduction was made from his salary because somebody made a comment about his work, particularly if that comment was untrue or simply unfair? I'm betting I would be hard pressed to find an Amazon employee who answered "yes", yet that is exactly what we have to put up with.

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