Interacting with customers is all part of delivering a positive shopping experience and helps build customer trust. It shows the customer that the retailer or manufacturer cares, in addition to providing that personal touch that is often lost when purchasing online.
Although Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”) does not allow sellers to contact customers directly via phone or personal email, there are still ways sellers can engage with their customers on Amazon.
After a customer has made a purchase, it is then your chance as a seller to ensure the customer had a great shopping experience and ensure they know how to contact you should they need further assistance. Many sellers focus on solicitation emails only to get seller feedback or customer reviews. This should not be the only focus. While positive feedback can help boost sales, your focus should be on building a rapport and trust with your customer, driving brand loyalty and positive word of mouth. Just because the customer did not actively write a review on Amazon in response to your solicitation email, it doesn’t mean they didn’t read it or weren’t impacted positively. I personally don’t write many reviews; my excuse is always time. However, the brands that have emailed me to check that I received my order and everything was fine, whatever their motive, made me remember them for future purchases.
It is important that as a seller you are regularly checking the reviews that customers are writing about your products. If you have a small range, this is an easy process to manage manually. For those with larger ranges, there are tools available that allow you to monitor product reviews so you can see those that have been recently added, along with the rating.
If you receive negative reviews (1-2 stars) it’s imperative to respond in a timely fashion. These ratings can be damaging to the product and impact sales. The negative feedback provided may be fair and accurate. If that is the case, as the seller you should thank the customer for taking the time to share it and offer them a path to resolve the issue. If no resolution is needed, just acknowledge the feedback and that you have taken it into consideration. As a seller you should be responding to negative reviews as well as listening to what the customer is saying, as it could help you improve your products and service going forward.
Positive reviews (4-5 stars) are often ignored. After all, you got the 5-star rating, so effectively the customer is happy, so let’s leave it as-is. With positive reviews, even if a customer has provided a glowing review, they sometimes also make further recommendations or call out things they didn’t like about the product. Some customers love to add in the pros and cons even if it won hands down, as they like to give a balanced overview. This means you should also be scanning through these reviews and responding where necessary. If you have the resources, you can take it a step further and respond to every review and thank them for sharing their experience. The customer took the time to respond, so a little bit of appreciation always helps. Of course, if you are getting multiple reviews daily, this process can then require a lot of time. I know businesses who end up outsourcing this. The downside is missing valuable feedback the customer may have shared while they were providing copy-and-paste responses.
Then for the 3-star reviews, these can often go both ways. While seen as negative by some, it might be seen as positive for others with room for improvement. With these reviews, it is important the seller reads them, and there is usually some detail around why they marked the item down. Again, it is important that you as the seller respond depending on the detail behind the review.
Not all reviews have the detail a seller would like to see, and some can be very limited and generic. In these situations, don’t be afraid to ask them for more information.
Customer Questions and Answers
When asking questions on the Amazon marketplace, customers are often looking for details that they need to help them make a buying decision or wanting someone to share their opinion or experience of the product. It is the questions where customers require more information that the sellers should be paying attention to and answering. Questions about opinion often don’t make sense for sellers to respond to; customers don’t really want merchant input here as it is often biased.
These questions are a great way to interact with the customer and gain their confidence in making the right buying decision. It also highlights areas where improvements can be made to the content. For example, if the customer is asking for the height of the table, is that because the data is missing from the content? If it is available, is it not very visible or clear on the page?
Create Your Process
Although you can’t approach customers as you would in a physical store, selling online doesn’t stop you from responding to them when they do reach out on Amazon. If you don’t have a process and employee focusing on customer engagement, now is the time to change that.