Negative Amazon Feedback: Why Response Time Matters

by Colleen Quattlebaum, on January 13, 2017

Negative Amazon feedback can be devastating to your visibility as a seller.

Why? For starters, as we've discussed at length, Amazon.com, Inc. ("Amazon") uses your feedback score when determining its much-coveted Buy Box algorithm. If that's not a good enough reason, your feedback rating is also publicly accessible to prospective and existing customers. This means that negative feedback could inhibit your ownership of the Buy Box and sabotage your efforts to build a positive eCommerce brand.

How can you minimize the likelihood of negative feedback? A simple tactic involves responding to customers at a lightning-quick pace. Unfortunately, you're a busy person, which means a prompt response isn't always feasible.

Here are a few best practices for streamlining your customer response time, thereby reducing your risk of negative feedback.

Why Speed Matters

Let's start with a simple truth: there is a direct correlation between merchant responsiveness and feedback. Don't take my word for it - just ask Amazon. As Amazon points out in its Buyer-Seller Messaging Service documentation, "Our research shows that orders with messages responded to within 24 hours receive 50% less negative feedback compared to orders with messages responded to after more than 24 hours." Now, that's a pretty powerful statement by Amazon!

Amazon doesn't just pay lip service to the importance of speed. If you've been selling for more than a few days, you're probably familiar with the contact response time metrics that are displayed in your Seller Central account. Amazon exposes this information in an effort to help sellers improve the service they provide. Although Amazon does not appear to use such data for suspending sellers, it's clear that the company views it as a leading indicator of satisfaction. And, as we all know, Amazon is all about delivering the world's most customer-centric experience - even through its network of third-party merchants.

Amazon Communication Tools

So, what steps can sellers take to ensure responses are provided within hours (rather than days)? Amazon offers several free communication tools to expedite the process. Most sellers already take advantage of auto-forwarded customer-initiated messages from their Seller Central accounts. Each time a seller responds from his or her own email inbox, a copy of the message is saved to the Seller Central "Sent messages" tab. Alternatively, sellers could download the Amazon Seller smartphone app, which provides another convenient messaging interface.

Either path bypasses the Seller Central login page, saving time and allowing for on-the-fly responses.

Respond Quickly to Feedback Too!

Despite all of your best efforts to provide an unbelievable experience through streamlined communication, some customers may still decide to leave negative feedback. No matter how hard you try, negative feedback is an almost unavoidable byproduct of growing your brand on the Amazon marketplace. As eCommerce guru James Thomson points out, "the cloak of anonymity" makes it easy for buyers to give negative feedback. "They have never met you," he reminds us. "It’s up to you to make a positive impression that will establish a small relationship, to reduce the chance of negative feedback."

The good news is that negative feedback is not necessarily permanent. In fact, buyers have 60 days to change their minds and remove ratings. Even better news is that our FeedbackFive tool automatically alerts you (via text and/or email) when customers leave negative feedback.negative_feedback.jpgRather than waiting until the next time you log in to your Seller Central account, FeedbackFive immediately brings the issue to your attention. Many sellers take action, seeking to "make right" whatever went wrong for the customer. After the situation has been resolved, FeedbackFive can then follow up on the seller's behalf, reminding the buyer to consider removing the feedback.

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Take Action While on the Go

If you're hoping to reduce negative Amazon feedback, here's the bottom line: continuously seek ways to improve your responsiveness, whether answering direct email inquiries or replying to negative feedback. Providing this type of unparalleled, personalized service is a key component for building a lasting Amazon reputation.

Interested in trying FeedbackFive? Sign up today for a risk-free trial!

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