Tips for Better Communication with Amazon Customers

by Matthew McAuliff

How many people will hear the complaint of one wronged customer?

Before the Internet, it was estimated somewhere between 8 and 16, perhaps up to 20. Now, in the digital age, an unhappy customer’s words can reach at least a potential 244 million. That’s the number of individuals with an active Amazon account as of late May 2014.

Here’s the thing: although consumers turn to Amazon for competitive pricing, they still also expect quality customer service. If they have unresolved customer service issues, you -- and all your potential customers -- will hear about it in the form of online feedback. It goes without saying that it’s of the utmost importance to set your business up for success by garnering the best Amazon customer feedback possible.

One important means of doing so is through superior communication with your customers, so let’s take a look at a couple key tips on staying connected with customers.

Master Amazon’s Messaging Service

Formerly known as the Communication Manager, Amazon’s Buyer-Seller Messaging Service launched in March 2010 to handle all email communication between buyers and sellers, while making it open to third-party email systems. Its goals were to increase overall security (it masks private email addresses), improve dispute resolution, reduce the number of disputes and A-Z claims, and make claims investigations more efficient.

The Messaging Service is a reliable system, but it does have the occasional pitfall. If you have integrated the Messaging Service with Outlook, Gmail, or another corporate client, you may have encountered delays in messages that you send to Amazon or to customers. Such glitches necessitate checking your seller accounts from time to time for new orders or other time-sensitive matters. As for why you may not have received a message, Amazon points to usual IT suspects. Having basic troubleshooting skills on hand can be helpful in these situations.

Just as you are using the Messaging Service to manage your communication with your customers, be aware that Amazon is also using the Messaging Service to manage you. In particular, it monitors your contact response times. Dropping below a certain rate can result in penalties and hurt your Seller Rating. Setting your status temporarily as inactive does not deactivate your service or suspend the expectation that you respond to a certain percentage of messages within 24 hours. To boost your response ratings, one email-management software company recommends diagnosing average times, creating auto-responders and dealing quickly with “No Reply Required” emails.

Be a Problem Solver

Of course, not all messages are created equal. Although a reply is not necessary for some, and others can be handled automatically, there will always be those that demand your attention. Messages vary widely, as do possible responses. Amazon requires that all sellers accept returns, for instance. Yet it makes some exceptions and offers detailed advice on timing, refunds versus replacements, concessions, and more. Turn not only to Amazon, but to seller forums as well. Take good counsel, because the impact of your decisions can be significant: a flawed response can easily rebound as negative feedback.

However, a quick and fitting answer can change that dynamic and pay rich dividends. Your communication and customer service can reverse an unhappy customer’s opinion of your company and, ultimately, win you positive feedback. As social media marketing expert Andy Sernovitz puts it, “Things go wrong -- it’s how you respond that matters.”

Want to discover more ways to ensure your business’ highest possible customer feedback ratings? Download a free whitepaper on how to keep your Amazon customer service top-notch by clicking here.

Originally published on February 4, 2015, updated May 1, 2019

This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.

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