Guest blog post by Ryan Grant from The Online Selling Experiment
Today’s post will be how you can you maintain a positive feedback score on Amazon. Having a high positive feedback percentage let’s buyers know that they can be confident they will have a good purchasing experience when buying an item from you. Imagine yourself as the buyer and all other factors being equal, would you buy from a seller with a 98% feedback or the one with 96%?
As I mentioned briefly in my post about returns, at the time of that posting I had 1,604 lifetime orders on Amazon and had received 42 feedback reviews from customers. So, I received feedback on only 2.62% on my orders at this point in time. With such a low rate of receiving feedback, it is very important that the feedback Amazon sellers do receive are positive ones.
Especially when considering that if a buyer has a negative experience they are much more likely to leave feedback, compared to your many happy buyers who are somewhat less likely to leave feedback.
So, how do we maintain a great feedback score?
Provide great customer service
The first is obvious, provide great customer service. Do all of the basics right, such as listing your item in the proper condition (err on the side of caution here), and add any condition notes that are needed.
Condition notes are especially important for used items—give buyers a clear description of what the state of the item is while being sure to highlight any flaws. Even better, use pictures in your listings.
For new items, make sure they are actually new. If you need to add condition notes to an item that you are listing as new, then you probably shouldn’t be listing the item as new.
If buyers purchase a new item, when you have the Buy Box, then they will never see the condition notes—they are assuming they are buying a brand new item with no defects. This is exactly what they should receive, but occasionally there is confusion if items with shelf wear or box damage can be listed as new.
My personal take is that items need to be in pristine, gift quality condition to be listed as new; if it requires ANY description of the condition then it is not new. Put yourself in the shoes of the buyer, if you received the item you have listed in the described condition, would you be happy?
Providing great customer service is pretty obvious, but there are a few other ways to maintain a great feedback score.
Removing Negative Feedback
Negative feedback that results from items that are Fulfilled by Amazon, in which Amazon was the cause of the negative feedback, are eligible for removal.
If the entire feedback relates to the fulfilment or customer service aspect of the order, then Amazon will “strike through” the feedback and it will not count towards your score.
I had this happen twice within 4 days in December, both instances of neutral feedback were a result of the fulfilment of the item. Note, neutrals hurt your positive feedback score just as much as negatives!
The one on December 6, Amazon automatically took care of by “striking through” the feedback and I did not have to even contact them.
The one on December 2, I did have to submit a request to Amazon to have this feedback “struck through”. The item was brand new when I sent it in, so I let them know that the damage had to occur while in transit, and as a result they took responsibility for the experience.
Other reasons you can have feedback removed are: the feedback includes obscene language, it contains personal information, is a product review, or is a medical questionnaire.
I also have an example of a product review feedback that I had removed recently. Let’s take a look first at the feedback the customer left.
As you can see, this customer was basically leaving a product review and it was not a result of anything I did. You can see that they even answered “Yes” for both arrived on time and item as described. As a result of this being a product review I reached out to Amazon to ask them to remove it.
To get to the point of asking Amazon to remove a feedback, first login to your seller account, then click “help” in the upper right hand corner of the screen, then click “contact seller support” on the right side of the screen towards the top, then click “orders” and a drop down will appear, click on “customer feedback problems” and enter in the order ID. After going through those steps you will be brought to this screen:
As the reason I am requesting this feedback be removed is, it is a product review, I check that box.
Now, let’s take a look at the second part of this screen.
The above screenshot shows exactly what I sent to them. After submitting this to Amazon, you will have to wait up to 24 hours and they will make a decision to either remove this feedback or to decide that the feedback is not in violation of the policy and should remain on your account. In this case, they removed the feedback in less than 12 hours, and I was back to 100% positive.
I have had multiple feedback removed using this method I just described. If you receive a feedback on your account that violates Amazon feedback policy be sure to request to have it removed.
The last method for maintaining a great feedback score is working with buyers after they do leave you a negative feedback. Occasionally as sellers we will mess up and a negative feedback will show up. In a perfect world, buyers would always reach out to see if the issue can be resolved, but often they do not.
Here is an example.
I received a negative feedback in early January from a customer related to a Callaway Hat Gift Set that they purchased from me. Somehow, the item arrived and it did not have the golf balls inside. I don’t know for sure how this happened, as I would like to think I would have noticed if this item didn’t have the golf balls included, as you could hear them rolling around inside the boxes.
I sold about 20 of these so it is possible I didn’t notice that one set was somehow opened and the golf balls removed. Either way, the customer had an unsatisfactory order experience that was my fault, so it was my job to try to make it right!
My first step was to send them this message through Amazon:
Based on the feedback you recently left about an order you placed from me that was fulfilled by amazon,I wanted to reach out to apologize. I am very sorry to hear that your item arrived in an incomplete condition. I cannot imagine how this must have felt, especially when this item was given as a gift.
I wanted to reach out to ensure that this matter has been appropriately resolved by amazon? and also to see if I could personally send you a $10 amazon gift card via email or via regular mail due to you having to go through this inconvenience. Please let me know if you would be ok with this, and which method you would prefer.
Again, my sincere apologies for the condition your item arrived in, it was never my intent to send an incomplete item. Please let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns.
The customer responded saying they were able to return the item, receive a replacement and that Amazon was able to resolve the issue. They also said they were very thankful that I reached out to them, sometimes they just need to know there is a real person who cares on the other end of the transaction who made an honest mistake.
They did accept the $10 gift card, and I ordered one and sent it directly to them. I then waited a few days after the gift card arrived, and then I sent them this message:
Hope you are having a good weekend! I wanted to reach out regarding the negative feedback for the Callaway Gift Set order you placed in December. Again, I am terribly sorry that the item did not arrive in the proper condition and caused you undo trouble.
Although the initial part of the transaction was unpleasant, if the refund provided by Amazon from my account resolves your initial issue, I would greatly appreciate it if you would consider removing your negative feedback. Unfortunately there is not a way to revise previously left feedback, but removing it is an option.
As a seller, I pride myself on working to resolve any issues that come up with an order to one of my customers, and my goal is to have my feedback score reflect that. I have listed instructions below on how to remove the feedback should you choose to do so.
Thank you for your consideration.
1. Go to http://www.amazon.com/your-account.
2. Under “Personalization,” in the “Community” column, click “Seller Feedback Submitted By You.”
3. A list of all of the feedback left by you will be displayed.
4. Click the “Remove” link next to the feedback would like to remove.
Notice, that I did not mention the $10 gift card as a reason for them having to remove the feedback. It’s against Amazon policy to make the customer receiving something from you contingent upon them removing the negative feedback. Within an hour of sending the above message they removed their negative feedback, and I was back to 100% positive again.
This post has gotten quite lengthy, so I will wrap it up quick. If you sell enough on Amazon long enough you will receive neutral and negative feedback. Be pro-active with your feedback score and do what you can to keep your score as high as possible, and you should be rewarded with more sales.
FeedbackExpress, Amazon feedback software, makes it easier for sellers to maintain a great Amazon feedback score. You can use professionally-written templates to automate your process of feedback collection. And, if you do happen to get a negative or neutral feedback or product review, we’ll alert you straight away and do everything in our powers to get it removed as quickly as possible. Your feedback score is one of the most important factors in winning a share of the Buy Box, so whether you choose to do feedback management manually or automatically, ensure you have a process in place to collect feedback and to remove negative and neutral feedback.
*A version of this blog first appeared on The Online Selling Experiment blog