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Amazon Sellers: 6 Ways to Turn a Complaint into a Positive Review

  • Dec 21, 2015 | Marcus DeHart

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. They just bought a product from you and something went wrong. It might be a broken product, a late delivery, the wrong color, you name it. Some of these issues might be outside your control while others are within your control. It’s all the same to the customer.

So now they’ve left feedback or contacted you directly to express their dissatisfaction. You have a choice. You can accept it and move on or try to turn it around.

Amazon's Customer-Service "Secret"

Customers pay attention to the feedback left by other customers on Amazon. And let’s face it, they’re shopping on Amazon -- not on your website -- so their expectations are based on their experiences with Amazon, even if you're the seller. Amazon has set a high bar when it comes to customer experience. Amazon is the top-ranking Internet retailer with an American Customer Satisfaction Index score of 86. So customers are going to expect the same level of service from you.

So how does Amazon do it? No doubt their logistics and the scale of their business enable them to devote more energy to focusing on their customers. Leaving that aside, Amazon’s “secret” is hiding in plain sight.

Amazon doesn’t just use your Customer Metrics as a way to police the quality of sellers on Amazon. They’re not just holding up hoops for you to jump through so they can penalize you when you miss. These are the metrics that customers consistently identify as the experiences that matter most to them. And when you deliver on them consistently, you can expect to see more positive feedback from your customers. It only takes missing one of these seven metrics to receive a dent in a flawless record.

All is not lost. Even Amazon makes mistakes. But when they do they take action that often turns a negative experience into a positive one. Likewise, here are six things you can do.

1. Respond quickly

Once your customer has left feedback or filed a claim on an order, it’s a waiting game for them. With every minute that ticks by, the uncertainty of how you will respond strains their nerves. The sooner you can reply, the better their impression of how important they are to you. Amazon recommends replying within 24 hours, but during the holidays the recommend decreasing that to 12 hours. Your customers will feel more valued by you with every minute you trim off your response time.

2. Acknowledge the issue

Clearly restate in your own words what you think is the customer’s issue. Don’t gloss over it and jump right to some kind of recommendation or solution. That will come in time. By acknowledging the issue, you validate the customer’s values and expectations.

3. Own the issue

Remember, this is your customer. Their experience is a reflection of your choices. Did your employees ship the wrong package? Own it. Did the carrier screw up? You chose the carrier, so own it. Did the manufacturer ship you faulty products? Own it. And with ownership comes the opportunity to apologize. It won’t fix the issue, but it can go a long way toward making the customer feel appreciated.

4. Fix the issue

There are many ways you can fix an issue. Sometimes it’s refunding a purchase. Sometimes it’s sending a replacement with overnight shipping so the customer doesn’t have to wait more than necessary to get what they want. At the very least, aim to leave the customer with what they expected from you when they first ordered the product. That might neutralize the negative experience. But going beyond that expectation will be critical in turning a negative experience into a positive one.

5. Ask for feedback

Once you think you have addressed the customer’s concerns, ask for feedback. If they’ve left a negative review, ask them if they wouldn’t mind changing it. If they haven’t left feedback, still encourage them to leave a comment about how you handled the situation.

6. Create an email template

I recommend creating email templates using Amazon Buyer-Seller Messaging system that can make it easier for you to respond quickly and professionally.

From the Messages link go to Manage E-mail Templates. From there you can create and save a template for use later on.

Give your template a name and take your time to craft a message that is professional and courteous.

Then the next time you get a complaint or inquiry from a customer, you can reply and click the Insert E-mail Template link and select the template of your choice.

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Avalara Author
Marcus DeHart
Avalara Author Marcus DeHart