Why NOT Soliciting is a Bad Idea
by Colleen Quattlebaum, on August 28, 2017
There's a lot of noise on the seller forums.
One of the more hotly contested topics involves Amazon feedback solicitation. A small group of rather vocal sellers seem to be saying that feedback solicitation is a bad idea. On the contrary! I would argue that failing to solicit is actually the bad idea.
Solicitation Shows the Customer That You Care
I think we can all agree that the word "solicitation" has earned a negative connotation over the years. After all, think about the times you've been "solicited" for something. The door-to-door salesman pushing his magic all-purpose cleaning potion. The telemarketer trying to trick you into a so-called "free" dream vacation. The not-for-profit that fills your mailbox with donation letters. Such solicitations represent a very one-sided agenda, thereby giving legitimate solicitations a bad rap.
Despite being a somewhat loaded term, Amazon.com, Inc. ("Amazon") indeed refers to the process of requesting feedback as "solicitation." Regardless of terminology, Amazon feedback solicitation is the seller's only surefire way to confirm the customer's satisfaction. Amazon even admits that "happy customers aren't motivated to leave feedback," so allowing merchants to follow up only makes good sense.
Remember, buyers are under no obligation to provide feedback. Therefore, if the merchant spams a customer, he's only increasing his chances of a negative rating. Smart merchants ask for feedback, but they don't overdo it.
Amazon Likes Happy Customers
Sellers are often surprised to learn that Amazon actually encourages sellers to "send a polite request for feedback to the customer after the shipment has been received." Yes, you read that correctly. Clearly, Amazon views the process of requesting seller feedback as a vital part of the buyer-seller communication experience. Honestly, this should come as no surprise - much of Amazon's success is a result of its five-star rating system. The more honest ratings, the better.
To keep sellers from trying to game the system, merchant feedback emails may not:
- Offer any incentive to the customer
- Provide compensation in exchange for feedback
- Exceed the daily email limit set forth here
- Break any of these rules
In short, Amazon loves it when you bring in customer feedback ratings. Just be sure to know the rules, build well-crafted emails and stay focused on measuring customer satisfaction - positive feedback will take care of itself.
Solicitation Increases Feedback Conversion Rates
So, we've talked about feedback solicitation from Amazon and the customer's perspective. The obvious question that remains is this: Why should the seller really care about feedback?
I could go on forever about this topic, but the quick answer is that solicitation boosts your feedback conversion rate. In other words, each new order will be more likely to result in feedback. With more feedback, you'll be in a better spot to:
- Optimize your service model
- Decide which ASINs are better suited for FBA (or MFN) inventory
- Enhance your shipping workflow
- Identify products and categories most likely to impact your seller reputation
- Build a more effective Buy Box strategy
Don't Let the Skeptics Scare You
Your gut tells you that asking for customer feedback is OK. I hope this article gives you the added confidence to go with your gut. Remember, customers and Amazon want sellers to ensure satisfaction. Feedback solicitation is the most reliable method for doing exactly that!