Amazon Complaints: Understanding Buyer Feedback
Amazon customers have several ways that they can complain about their interactions with your business.
Direct complaints via email, public feedback ratings and A-to-z claims are all ways that customers can express their frustration with you.
In this post, we'll explore these different situations.
In a perfect world, all of your customers would be happy - all the time. Unfortunately, we don't live in a fantasyland. Sometimes, you mess up orders or shipments. Likewise, some customers are simply impossible to satisfy (despite even a flawless transaction).
When it comes to negative feedback, a direct complaint is about as good as it gets for the seller. Although the customer is clearly frustrated, at least the feedback came in the form of an email (and not something more public). Direct complaints give you the opportunity to engage with the customer, understand the problem and take action - before things escalate into a worse situation.
It's relatively easy for Amazon customers to contact your business. For open orders, customers can simply click the "Get help with order" button and follow the prompts. (If your item is being fulfilled by Amazon.com, Inc. ("Amazon") via the FBA service, Amazon customer service may step in on your behalf.) For completed orders, customers have more digging to do if they wish to complain directly. The most common approach involves finding your Amazon seller profile page and clicking the "Ask a question" button. The wizard guides the customer through a form, linking the question to a prior order.
What happens if you overlook a direct complaint from the customer? Depending on the situation, you could be headed for an A-to-z claim. In case you need a refresher on how A-to-z claims work, customer orders are protected by the A-to-z guarantee, which ensures an item's condition, delivery timing and other criteria. A buyer can qualify for an A-to-z claim, assuming that all of the following conditions are true:
- The buyer contacted the seller at least once (as outlined in the "direct complaints" section above).
- The seller did not respond within a two business-day time frame.
- The order meets at least one of the specific A-to-z requirements listed here.
For example, let's say that you hire a new shipping manager to handle your merchant-fulfilled Amazon orders. During the shipping manager's onboarding, a few orders slipped through the cracks, causing your company to completely miss some shipments. Customers complained, you overnighted several packages and you thought everyone was happy again. Unfortunately, one customer was still forgotten - as you later discovered in a rather terse and overlooked email. By now, you were well beyond the 3-day estimated delivery date grace period, which meant the customer was entitled to an A-to-z claim.
Talk about some painful feedback for your business. Now, your account health dashboard bears an important reminder of why feedback complaints should be taken seriously.
Somewhere in between direct feedback and the A-to-z claim is what's known as seller feedback (which, by the way, is different from product reviews). As the industry's #1 feedback management tool, we've written extensively on the importance of positive seller feedback. But, as you might imagine, not every customer uses public feedback as a way to brag about your company. Negative feedback, although somewhat inevitable, can make a noticeable impact on your share of the Buy Box.
So, what are your options for dealing with complaints in the form of public feedback? Here are some quick thoughts:
- Take action quickly. Allowing a negative rating to fester will only decrease the chances of eventually removing it.
- Check to see if the feedback violates Amazon's community guidelines. If so, Amazon might consider removing it, but you'll need to file an appeal.
- If the feedback does not violate Amazon's guidelines, seek to resolve the customer's concern. You are permitted to message the buyer and ask for additional details about what went wrong.
- If you're successful at resolving the situation, consider requesting feedback removal (Amazon allows sellers to do so, but you should never pressure the customer).
- Set up feedback alerts, so you'll know if negative feedback strikes again.
By developing and committing to a negative feedback workflow, sellers can minimize the consequences to their seller reputations - and, in some cases, turn complaints into satisfied customers.
Listen & Act
Amazon customer complaints can be constructive for your business. However, they can also be destructive to your seller reputation. Turn Amazon complaints into satisfied customers by creating in-house best practices for dealing with each type of complaint.
Originally published on June 8, 2017, updated August 14, 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.