Guest post by Steve Rajeckas from Flip Those Books
Keeping a 5-star feedback rating on your Amazon Seller account is incredibly important and is pretty easy ‒ if you know what you’re doing. Use this definitive guide to maximise your Amazon store’s feedback score.
Case in point: I’ve managed to maintain a 5-star Amazon feedback rating for more than two years now.
My current rating is 99%, with 287 positive feedback scores, 2 neutral feedback scores, and 1 negative feedback score.
I’ve been able to maintain this 99% rating because I’ve followed a few key principles, which I’ll lay out for you in the following guide to maintaining a 5-star feedback rating on your own Amazon store.
Note: This guide is specifically written for Amazon sellers who deal primarily in used books, but the principles still apply no matter what your niche is.
- Step 1: Understand the value of a 5-star feedback rating.
- Step 2: Build up positive feedback by asking customers to leave feedback.
- Step 3: Be honest when grading and describing your books.
- Step 4: Examine each item with extreme thoroughness.
- Step 5: Be honest when grading and describing your books.
- Step 6: Remove any trace of pricing.
- Step 7: Respond promptly and politely to customer messages.
- Step 8: Use Amazon’s automated feedback removal tool.
Step 1: Understand the Value of a 5-star Feedback Rating
Many sellers cut corners in key areas of their business to increase their bottom line by a little bit. There are many businesses in which this is fine ‒ but an Amazon business is not one of them.
Amazon became the ecommerce behemoth it is today by focusing on one single principle: make the customer happy.
Your feedback rating is what Amazon uses to gauge how happy its customers are with your service.
If Amazon’s customers aren’t happy with you, Amazon will remove your ability to interact with its customers by removing your selling privileges.
That’s why you need to care about maintaining a high feedback rating.
I have a somewhat unorthodox attitude when it comes to my Amazon business. I believe making your customers happy and thereby maintaining a good relationship with Amazon is actually more important than your bottom line.
If you’re like me, your Amazon business is the only thing standing between you and the dreaded 9-5 slog. Or maybe you’re just starting out, in which case your Amazon business is a glimmer of hope with which you can escape your current job.
No matter what your situation, one fact remains true ‒ if Amazon hits you with a permanent suspension, the game is over. Unless you’ve got another successful business up your sleeve, it’s back to the employment grind.
That’s why I value my feedback rating over all other business metrics ‒ including my bottom line.
If you fall a little short of my sales goals from time to time, that’s okay. You and your business will both persist.
But if your feedback rating drops to a dangerously low level, you could lose everything.
Despite my doom and gloom rhetoric, it’s actually pretty easy to remain in good standing with Amazon. There are only a few things they’ll actually suspend you for:
- Low feedback rating
- Selling counterfeit items
- Selling restricted items
- Inappropriate customer interactions
The only item from this list that’s sort of out of your control is the feedback rating. If your thorough enough, everything else is 100% avoidable.
That’s why you need a strategy to achieve and maintain a five-star feedback rating. The remainder of this article will lay out that strategy.
Step 2: Build up Positive Feedback by Asking Customers to Leave Feedback
The best way to cement your five-star feedback rating is to get a ton of positive feedback.
Sounds pretty obvious, I know. But it’s so important that I have to mention it.
So, how do you get a ton of positive feedback?
The best way I’ve found is to email customers and ask them to leave you feedback.
You could just leave it to chance and hope your customers just randomly decide to leave you feedback ‒ but that’s probably not going to work.
Most people won’t go out of their way to do things unless specifically prompted to. This is perhaps more true of leaving feedback for random Amazon sellers than any other action.
If sending feedback request emails to every single customer sounds like a lot of work, don’t fret. It’s actually one of the easiest parts of your Amazon business.
It’s easy because you can automate the entire process.
With feedback automation software, you can ensure everyone who buys something from you receives an email asking them to leave feedback.
I use FeedbackExpress for this purpose, and I recommend you do the same. They offer a free 30-day trial, so you can try it out risk-free.
I’ve already written a couple of articles on FeedbackExpress, so I won’t belabour you with the details in this article. If you’d like to learn more and better understand how FeedbackExpress can get you a bunch of positive feedback.
Step 3: Be Willing to Give Full Refunds for Mistakes
One of the primary reasons I’ve been able to mitigate quite a few negative feedback ratings is my willingness to refund buyers who contact me with a complaint.
As media sellers, we have a unique advantage in the refund department because most of our inventory costs a few dollars at most. Refunding unhappy customers without expecting them to return the item isn’t a huge deal. In my over 10,000 orders in the two years, I’ve been selling on Amazon, I’ve had less than 30 customers contact me with complaints.
It is true however that as the item cost goes up, your willingness to refund will go down. I’ll refund a $12 novel without hesitation, but if the unhappy customer bought a $150 textbook, I’m going to suggest they return the book in the normal fashion and hope they don’t leave a negative review.
Step 4: Examine Each Item with Extreme Thoroughness
This is arguably the most important factor in maintaining a five-star feedback rating.
Because Amazon takes responsibility for order fulfilment, the only way you can feasibly get negative feedback is through a failure to inspect, grade, and describe your items properly.
So take your time and make sure you check for every possible flaw that could degrade a book’s condition or make it unsellable:
- International/Teacher’s editions
- Counterfeit books
- Broken spine
- Warped spine
- Missing/torn pages
- Mouldy smell
- Cigarette smell
- Water damage
Step 5: Be Honest When Grading and Describing Your Books
Don’t make books seem like they’re in better condition than they really are. When in doubt, go with the worse of the two conditions.
If they have any significant flaws, mention them in your description. It might hurt the sellability of the item, but it will go a long way toward keeping your feedback rating intact.
Step 6: Remove any Trace of Pricing
How would you feel if you paid $200 for something on Amazon, only to learn after receiving the item that the person who sold it to you got it for $1?
Personally, I’d commend that seller for their undeniable genius, but I’m in the minority here. Most of the non-reselling community would understandably feel a bit annoyed if they knew they paid a 10,000% premium on their book.
As such, you should do everything you can to remove any trace of the low pricing you purchased the item on.
Price traces come in a couple of forms.
- Labels: You can get rid of most labels with a set of label peelers. I use this set of Scotty label peelers from Amazon. It’s a cheap $5 purchase and will save your nails and hands from a lot of trouble.
- Pencil markings: You can get rid of pencil markings pretty easily with a high-quality eraser. I use these high-quality Pilot Foam erasers, also on Amazon. They last a ridiculously long time and can remove tougher markings that generic erasers can’t handle.
Step 7: Respond Promptly and Politely to Customer Messages
Once a customer is unhappy with their purchase, you need to do everything you can to appease them.
I’ve found that much of their anger can be alleviated with a prompt apology and some polite rhetoric. Often, customers just want some validation that their displeasure has been received.
If you can give that to them, you might even be able to convert a would-be negative feedback into a positive one. I’ve received a few positive feedback ratings from customers who were initially angry about some perceived slight (late shipment, inaccurate item description, etc).
Step 8: Use Amazon’s Automated Feedback Removal Tool
Most of the negative feedback ratings I’ve received have been due to order fulfilment issues. The item didn’t arrive on time, or the box was damaged, or the delivery man left the item in the wrong location.
As an FBA seller, you are not responsible for these problems. Amazon takes full responsibility for any order fulfilment issues, and they will remove any negative feedback left because of order fulfilment.
So if you receive negative feedback for order fulfilment, don’t fret. Just click on the remove feedback button and Amazon will automatically remove it.
Make sure you don’t abuse this automated feature though. If Amazon catches you removing negative feedback that you are responsible for, they will remove your ability to get feedback removed ‒ which means you’ll have to eat any future negative feedback ratings related to order fulfilment.
Read more from Steve: