Having a poor reputation on Amazon can make selling much harder. Regardless of the nature of what happened that caused a decline in customer trust for your brand, customers are going to be more likely to do business with another company that has more positive reviews since they want to have a positive experience.
Why Do Reviews Matter?
A higher rating will prove that your business is reliable and worthwhile and more people will be willing to talk to you. Negative reviews are going to be unavoidable and so, while you can do some things in order to prevent negative reviews, you will need to learn how to deal with them. Being silent is going to do more damage to your reputation. Customers who do leave a negative review expect a business to respond and offer a way to fix the situation.
What Is Considered a Negative Review on Amazon?
In order to prevent manage negative reviews on Amazon, it helps to know what is technically considered a negative review. Any review that is less than three stars is considered negative. Users on Amazon will typically consider three stars or above positive and it leaves a good impression with any potential buyers.
Amazon Rules on Reviews
It’s considered a good business policy to deal with negative reviews as soon as you can, but Amazon has rules of its own that you need to know when preventing and managing negative reviews. There are three rules that all sellers must follow if they want to get reviews on Amazon or deal with negative ones.
Don’t Incentivize or Intimidate Any Reviewers
Amazon has a strict policy on reviews and there has been a ban on incentivized reviews. You aren’t allowed to ask customers to change bad reviews in exchange for extra gifts or discounts. This also applies to engaging with customers. You risk getting your Seller account suspended or permanently banned if you do this.
Don’t Spam Customers
Amazon wants to offer the best shopping experience so it takes the customer experience seriously. If you disrupt the experience then you risk a penalty. You are allowed to ask customers to leave reviews and even contact a customer that has left a negative one but you aren’t allowed to spam customers.
Use Communication Effectively
Even though you may experience negative emotions when you come across a negative review and criticism of your business, you shouldn’t respond negatively to customers. You need to focus on communicating effectively and address the customer’s concerns instead of attacking them.
Preventing Negative Reviews
Amazon wants sellers to work on any situation that involves negative feedback and look into the cause of the rating, address the concerns in a timely manner, and make optimizations to the policies and processes. Customers are able to update feedback within 60 days of the original review date but are only able to update it once per transaction. There are some things you can do in order to prevent negative feedback.
Know the Amazon Guidelines
Sellers should have an understanding of the best practices recommended by Amazon for selling on the marketplace. The key to having good feedback is having accurately described items, constant communication with a customer in a timely manner, and fast shipment. Amazon also recommends using packing slips with every order as a way to get feedback.
Have Uncomplicated Returns
Merchants should make their return process as simple as possible. There should be a complete product refund within a standard 30-day period.
Keep Inventory Stocked
If an inventory isn’t available, the sellers should remove any listings for those that are constantly out of stock and avoid listing items that are back-ordered. Merchants should keep a minimum threshold of inventory on hand and have dedicated inventory for Amazon orders. By working to streamline the inventory strategy, which is an important part of the supply chain, sellers can avoid any inventory errors that may lead to negative feedback.
Avoid Late Shipments
Sellers should notify customers of any errors as quickly as possible and cancel the order or remove the product if necessary. They should use an expedited shipping method if shipping out an order late. Merchants should remove products from listings that continually require late shipping. If merchants confirm shipments are within timeframes specified or can ship ahead of schedule then it can lead to positive feedback instead of negative reviews.
Sellers should abide by Amazon image requirements and provide high quality images. It helps to offer multiple angles and views of the product in order to help a customer fully understand what the product actually is. If it is relevant, a custom sizing chart can be helpful to give the customer even more information. Merchants need to make sure that the SKU they are shipping matches the right product in order to avoid shipping the wrong product. Merchants should look at their shipping and packing processes to avoid any packages leaking or being damaged in transit. Providing accurate product data and making sure the condition notes and product descriptions are clear can be helpful in receiving positive feedback. Shipping products that match exactly what customers are seeing on the product detail page is especially important for bundled and private label products.
Excellent Customer Service
Sellers should have great customer service and be responsive to customer inquiries. Sellers should respond to inbound emails and phone calls within 24 hours. Merchants should make sure that incoming buyers’ messages aren’t sent to a spam or junk folder and make sure that email addresses and phone numbers are accurate in Amazon help pages to ensure effective communication.
Occasionally, customers can leave incorrect negative feedback. If this happens, merchants should contact the customer through the “Contact Buyer” form and the request should be to remove feedback after the problem has been fixed. If a shipment has been received, sellers need to send the buyer a request for feedback.
You are allowed to solicit feedback as long as there is no pressure or incentives. Sellers should personalize messages to their specific order and explain how a customer can leave feedback in a polite and clear way. However, you will need to prepare for a follow-up and be sure that you send a message to all customers after orders are received.
Keep Product Details Updated
Use negative reviews to your advantage and update product details with the feedback you get. This will make sure that your customers have the right expectations about your product. When a product meets or exceeds expectations, it will be more likely to get a positive review.
Why Do Customers Leave Bad Reviews?
Understanding why a customer leaves a negative review is important to your understanding of how to respond in the best way possible and even ways to get them to change their opinion.
Negative Reviews Can Be Helpful for Others
When a customer shares his or her experience, it gives a real picture of what others can expect from a product or business. You will need to respond and acknowledge the problem and ask for some additional details in order to address the experience and improve on it for future customers.
Product or Service Didn’t Work for the Customer or Meet Expectations
In this case of this type of negative review, the service or product isn’t necessarily bad for everyone but the main reason behind the negative review is that it didn’t meet their own expectation. In this case, you will want to ask for more details and learn why the customer felt this way.
Customers Want to Help a Business Improve by Giving Feedback
A customer may want to show that a service or product has an issue and that way the business can use this information and improve. In this case, a business should thank the customer for their opinion and then ask them for more details to assist with product improvement. This can actually be a good way to gain some valuable information.
Customers Want to Be Heard
Many customers have left negative reviews and never hear back and this is frustrating. It’s understandable that if a person has a bad experience with a service or product and wants to share it, they want to have their opinions heard, as well as appreciated, by other businesses and customers. The best way to respond is to let the customer know that their voice is in fact heard and you can engage with them to make them feel more appreciated.
Be Part of the Crowd
Since so many people leave online reviews people want to be a part of the fan group and find a way to strengthen a feeling of belonging. Chances are the reviews are validated by others of the group who frequently leave reviews. With this review, you want to ask for more details and address the problem.
Responding to Negative Reviews
When you are responding to negative reviews, there are things to keep in mind in order to help maintain your reputation. It’s also important to consider the official guidelines for posting on customer reviews.
Thank the Reviewer
No matter how bad the review is, you should thank the customer who wrote it since they did take time to give you information.
Online shoppers expect a business to respond to reviews, especially negative ones. If you reply within a few days and show a commitment to paying attention to what your customers are saying and making things right, this can help you a lot. Potential customers will see an attempt to address the problem and this can help minimize any effects on your reputation.
Address the Issue
There is a reason behind the negative review so you shouldn’t just respond but actually identify any issue and attempt to fix it. You can provide contact information and ask to get in touch for addressing the problem and further communication. This shows you are committed to addressing the problem and this is something that customers appreciate.
Your reply should be error free. Mistakes can make you look unprofessional and amateur and you are already dealing with problems to your reputation with negative reviews. Proofread templates you create and make sure that replies show your professionalism.
Part of communicating effectively with your customer is allowing them to see you as a real person and not just the product. Talk to them as you would a real person and forget about adding in a bunch of industry jargon.
Keep It Short
When responding to reviews, make sure you keep it short and sweet. The damage is already done so the goal is to just enhance the visibility of your brand. Lengthy replies may alienate your customers from the actual subject matter.
Identify Fake Reviews
Fake reviews can be common despite Amazon’s effort to prevent users from cheating the review system. This can be a challenge for an honest seller so knowing how to find a fake review and report it can be helpful.
There are some common signs to look for. These things include one sentence or one-word reviews, advertisements, numbers, web links, or email addresses, as well as those that include spiteful remarks, too many spelling or grammar errors, obscene or irrelevant content, reviews written by other sellers, and unhappy customers that write more than one review for the same product.
Amazon does encourage sellers to report any fake reviews so it’s necessary to monitor your reviews and let them know if you have fake ones.
What Should You Know about Negative Reviews?
One of the most important things you need to consider with reviews on Amazon is the position they are placed on the page. When it comes to getting reviews removed, there are two things you should note. If the review is about the service instead of your product then this may be at the fault of Amazon and they will remove the negative review from your account. If it is about your product then you may not be able to get it removed by Amazon but there can be some options to make sure it’s not as visible on your page.
Getting Reviews Removed
When you are trying to remove reviews from Amazon, there are some different ways you can go about it. These steps can help you when it comes to getting these reviews removed.
Ask Amazon Directly
Buyers need to follow the rules that Amazon has when leaving a review. Amazon knows that there are examples where angry buyers leave a bad review because of a misunderstanding. Due to this, Amazon has created situations where they will in fact remove buyer reviews.
When a bad review gets removed from your page, the impact will also be removed from overall review ratings. Amazon will only remove reviews if the review has obscene or profane language, the review is a complete product review, or includes personally identifiable information such as full names, email addresses, or telephone numbers.
If you think your review meets these guidelines then you can submit an Amazon feedback removal request.
In order to contact Amazon about removing the review, you need the order number of the bad review. You will find this on the Feedback Manager page.
You are taken to a page once you click on “Manage Customer Feedback” and you will enter the order number and start the removal request. You then have to choose “Customer Feedback Removal Request.”
Choose the relevant option once you are shown the bad review and confirm it. Most of the time, the feedback removal should be resolved quickly but sometimes it can take a while before someone reviews your request.
Ask Amazon to Strike – Through Buyer Feedback
There are cases where Amazon doesn’t remove the bad review and instead there is a strike-through. The strike-through will have a similar impact on the overall review rating but buyers can still see the comments and the rating.
There are two different reasons why Amazon might strike-through a review. These include if the whole review is about a delayed or undelivered order which you had shipped using certain services or if the whole comment is related to fulfillment or service for an order you fulfilled through Amazon.
For example, you sent white coffee mugs to Amazon and the customer received red ones and wrote a negative review. The responsibility is on Amazon since they picked the wrong item. You are able to get a strike-through on your review in the same way you can get feedback removed.
When you are submitting the request, Amazon will decide if the review should be completely removed or if it should get a strike-through. Both are going to be beneficial to your account so don’t be disappointed if you only get a strike-through when you were hoping for complete removal.
Contact the Buyer Directly
While the perfect solution would be to either get a strike-through or complete removal, there are some cases when the review doesn’t meet the criteria set by Amazon. If you think the bad review is unwarranted then contact the buyer directly.
Amazon even encourages you to resolve the concerns of the buyer before you contact them about removing the review. The way you choose to do this is up to you. Apologizing is the first step and you may want to consider giving a refund. Keep in mind that pressuring or incentivizing the buyer to remove the review is against Amazon’s policies.
Respond to the Review for Everyone to See
Another effective strategy to remove negative reviews is responding to the review in public. If you aren’t able to reach out to the buyer or the buyer decides to not change or remove the review then you have this option.
This method doesn’t impact the overall rating like removals or strike-throughs. This isn’t the best way to deal with the problem as that should be done privately through email but it can be a chance to turn a bad review into a good one.
In this case, you aren’t going to change the mind of the reviewer but you are able to make your business appear professional and may still be able to change the minds of potential customers.
Get More Positive Reviews
If you are on this next step of removing a review then it means the other steps haven’t worked and you are now stuck with the negative review for good. At this stage, you will need to forget about this review and work on improving your overall rating.
The best way to do this is to get more feedback. Getting more feedback will happen naturally as you start selling more products. You may find that there could be weeks where you aren’t getting any reviews and then you are suddenly getting multiple reviews at once. If you are desperate to get some more reviews, you are able to contact your customers with a request for a review.
Amazon does allow sellers to send customers one request for a review when the package has been delivered. Keep in mind that this could trigger an unhappy customer to leave a bad review, just as it would encourage a positive customer. This could just be the chance you have to take in order to get more happy feedback on your page.
Learning How to Manage Reviews
Since getting more positive reviews can be a way to push down negative reviews you could be spending a lot of time managing reviews. If you are selling a lot of products, managing all these reviews can be a full-time job. You also need to be notified right away when you get a negative review so that you can promptly deal with it and preserve your reputation. Using a Negative Reviews Notification tool can help you manage your reviews so you know when you get a negative one and can address it right away.
Getting More Positive Reviews on Amazon
The more positive reviews you have, the less people may pay attention to the negative ones. There are different ways that you can help generate positive reviews for your products.
Create a Community Feeling Around the Product
Building a community around the product has helped many brands achieve success. In order to do this, you can offer advice on how to use the product and provide information to your customers.
Send special cards and notes with products in order to make customers feel special. You can also personalize messages and emails that your customer receives to help make them feel more valued.
A more personalized connection can help encourage people to answer back and communicate with others about the great experience. This creates loyalty and brand trust, which will translate to more feedback and sales.
Design Your Review Insert
You need to give your customer a good reason to leave a review. If you are just casually asking for a review, you may not be given the time. Ask yourself what would make you leave a review. You should have the insert of your product professionally designed to be appealing so customers want to read it.
Messages should be clear and not long so it doesn’t take up too much time. You can leave personalized messages for customers, but just be sure to not offer perks or discounts and go against the Amazon terms of service.
Perfect Your Timing of Asking for Reviews
Getting a product review takes time and it means someone has to sit down and write what they feel like. They may not do it as soon as they get the package. You should ask for reviews after the customers have had a chance to use the product for a few weeks.
You can send a follow-up email to customers that have bought your product a month after it has been delivered and then ask for a review. On the flip side, you don’t want to take too long to reach out since you don’t want the new product feeling to wear off and have them not care anymore.
If you are able to market your products through bundles then there is a better chance that people will purchase it, as well as leave positive feedback. People view bundled products as a better value for the money and this leads to happier customers. Happier customers lead to better reviews. Getting a great deal isn’t always possible, especially in the retail industry, so if you are able to provide a customer with a deal then they will likely thank you for it.
Utilize Amazon’s Customer Service
Amazon’s API can allow you to get access to third-party tools to send automatic emails so you are able to keep track of when things are purchased and shipped and get your timing right.
Not All Negative Reviews Are Bad
There is technically no such thing as a bad review on Amazon. Even the worst reviews may have something good in them. While you may focus on removing a review from Amazon, your main focus should be to use the reviews as a barometer for gauging your progress in the industry and learn how you compare to other sellers. There are still going to be times when a customer will buy a product after reading bad reviews because they want to experience it for themselves.