The Amazon Seller Feedback system was created so that Amazon customers could have access to previous buyers’ experiences with different sellers. This is in addition to Reviews, or the information that they can read about specific products listed by these sellers. Amazon also collects Package Feedback, which is limited to the packaging of an order.
Amazon Seller Feedback applies to wholesalers and resellers who offer the same products. Customers use it to make a decision on which seller to purchase from. Seller feedback evaluates the speed and quality of fulfillment – which doesn’t apply to FBA sellers – and rates how the product’s listing description matches the actual product received.
How Seller Feedback Works
Customers leave seller feedback by either returning to their order page and clicking through to a specific purchase, or by going to the Amazon feedback page and navigating from there. Customers choose from pre-set options, leave a star rating, and leave additional comments. They have 90 days from their order date to leave feedback.
Seller feedback is aggregated over time and ranked on a scale from 1 to 5. Negative experiences are ranked as 1 or 2. Neutral feedback is considered a 3. Positive seller feedback is a 4 or 5. Your score is displayed on your storefront and when customers view other selling options on Amazon product pages. You can also quickly view your overall Amazon Seller Feedback score on the home page of your Seller Central account.
Why Seller Feedback is Important
Amazon uses the seller feedback system as part of how they monitor and evaluate sellers on the marketplace. Seller feedback tells them if someone is not meeting their end of the bargain in terms of creating a stellar customer experience (which we all know Amazon values above al. else). If a seller goes beyond the acceptable Negative Feedback Rate of 5%, they get a warning from Amazon to review their business practices and make adjustments to meet the demands of Amazon customers.
Seller feedback is measured based on three factors:
- on-time order arrival
- product as described
- customer service
It’s a plain Yes / No response, with no middle ground, so a seller must be great or stand to get a “No” even if the order was mostly correct.
Benefits of Having Seller Feedback
Building up Seller Feedback is an important step for every Amazon account. Some features like Seller Central coupons cannot be implemented until you receive a certain quantity of seller feedback. Seller Feedback also appears to have a positive affect within the Amazon search algorithm.
We have seen some of our client’s high-volume accounts with low seller feedback reviewed by Amazon because of low feedback. The general response has been that our sales volume is out of proportion to the amount of seller feedback we have. There is no definitive proof of low seller feedback affecting sales, however the account being flagged by Amazon indicates that an expected level of sales are tied to Seller Feedback.
Winning the Buy Box
Negative feedback decreases your chance of winning the Buy Box. Amazon determines the winners through their overall seller scores for customer experience. With multiple sellers offering the same item, the competition can easily triumph if you have a bad feedback rating.
Amazon. You can have a 5.0 rating for your feedback, however if another seller has a 4.9, many more positive feedbacks and is the same price they can win it as well. The score takes into consideration your feedback received in the past 90 days as well so positive feedbacks before that period have a diminished effect.
For each order, sellers gain or lose Buy Box points. Note the huge difference between good and bad feedback:
- For orders received without problems, you get 100 points.
- For one- and two-star feedback ratings, you lose 500 points.
Not only do you get warnings and possibly face suspension, but your selling privileges on Amazon can get revoked if your seller feedback rating is consistently low. One- and two-star ratings count towards your Order Defect Rate. If this rating goes above the 1% threshold, you will be in big trouble.
Note here that three stars is not considered a good rating. Your Order Defect Rate won’t be affected, but lots of 3-star ratings can drag your overall score down. They also don’t count towards your positive ratings percentage, which is displayed on your seller profile. A lower percentage will turn customers away.
Seller Feedback VS. Reviews
Seller feedback is a distinctly different system from Reviews. The process is very similar, but the targets are very different. Seller feedback focuses on the seller, while reviews are all about the product. Many customers get the two confused, and this can mean getting a poor rating for something that wasn’t your fault, like shipping if you use FBA. In addition, seller feedback can be left by the same customer for each order they place. Product reviews can only be given once, but they can be revised as desired.
Getting positive feedback and reviews are both important to the Amazon ranking algorithm. Customers that leave a product review in your seller feedback could be a potential lead for getting a positive product review as well. You should focus on building both and finding ways to take advantage of the positive shopping experiences your customers have.
Soliciting Seller Feedback
A seller can’t ask for reviews, but they can ask for feedback on their performance as a seller. If you have successfully fulfilled an order and have gotten no complaints, it’s perfectly ok to reach out to a customer to check in on how it went, and ask for feedback so you can give the best experience possible. With the right timing and message, you can get valuable feedback that will help you improve sales, and also get positive feedback to push up your rating and let other Amazon customers know that you’re a stellar seller. Without feedback, customers won’t know if they can trust you, and will likely go with a seller who has something to show for their performance.
Managing Seller Feedback
It’s important to note that customers have 90 days to leave seller feedback, but only 60 days to remove it. This means that sellers have to be pro-active about reaching out to buyers if there’s a complaint. Think about the time that it takes to review the case, come up with a proposed solution, reach out to the buyer, wait for a response, and work through the issue. You’ll need the full 60 days if you want to get rid of negative feedback and preserve your rating.
Seller feedback is unique to the marketplace where your orders originated. This means that if you’re selling on Amazon US and Amazon Canada, feedback for the US will only be visible on the US website, and vice versa. This can be a bad of a good thing, depending on your rating. It’s definitely a challenge when you’re branching out into a new marketplace, but it can be a nice fresh start if you’ve ignored your feedback on a previous marketplace and are struggling to get your negative rating down to an acceptable level.
How to Get Amazon Seller Feedback
Feedback will build up organically overtime. However, it is important to have a process in place that allows you to increase it more rapidly. We help our clients implement Amazon email follow up sequences for each of their customers. Depending on the customers’ goals and objectives we can cater that email sequences to target product reviews or Amazon seller feedback.
One strategy that can be implemented to help screen for potential negative reviews is to use the email follow up sequence to ask for Seller Feedback first. The ability to get negative seller feedback removed is the primary reason to utilize this strategy. It is nearly impossible to get a negative product review removed, however any negative product reviews left in feedback violates the guidelines and Amazon will strike them from your score.
The way to structure your email sequence when you are targeting seller feedback is to either send the first email in the sequence as a purchase or delivery confirmation. After a few days, you can follow up with the customer and ask for feedback on how their experience with the product, delivery and customer service was. If they leave you a positive feedback, you could then follow up with a third email asking for them to consider leaving you a product review. This can help you increase both your Amazon Feedback and product reviews at the same time.
Dealing with Negative Seller Feedback
No seller should ignore their feedback score, no matter how busy fulfilling orders. Negative feedback can lead to account suspension, which heavily impacts sales. Moreover, the competition is so fierce on Amazon that sellers need to actively maintain a great rating to become the preferred choice of customers.
No seller can avoid negative feedback – you simply can’t please everyone. You can, however, take steps to mitigate the effects of negative seller feedback. There are three ways to do this:
Request Feedback Removal
When an instance of negative feedback violates Amazon guidelines, you can request its removal in Seller Central under the “Performance” tab.
Basically, these are the types of seller feedback that you can have removed:
- is a product review and not about your performance as a seller
- contains promotional content for other sellers or websites
- contains the personally identifiable information of Amazon users
- contains obscene or abusive language
- for sellers using FBA, any complaints about the wrong item sent, warehouse or shipping damage, or anything relating to picking and packing and shipping problems
After requesting for removal, you might get an immediate response. If not, this means that the issue has been sent to Amazon for review and you will be notified of the resolution within a few days. If you haven’t heard back within 3 days, follow up. You don’t want time to run out or your issue to be forgotten, leaving inappropriate negative feedback live on your profile.
Many times, a customer will leave a positive product review in your feedback. Amazon will not proactively remove any feedback. This allows you to take advantage of the positive feedback you received and leave it on your score. You can then also reach out to the customer to see if they will consider leaving you a product review saying what they said on the Seller Feedback. You could have your positive feedback that violated the guidelines removed, but why would you?
Getting your score as close to 5 as you can is important. You should consider having feedbacks that are scored as 1, 2 and even 3 removed from your account if they violate the feedback guidelines. Initially you will want any feedback you can get to access the other features of Seller Central that require feedback to use. However, as you continue to garner more reviews of your selling professionalism you will want to remove anything that is not a 4 or 5.
Contact the Unhappy Customer
The easiest way to contact a customer about negative feedback is from the Feedback Manger in Seller Central. Next to the feedback rating is an option to respond to the feedback, and access to the customer’s email so you can send them a message.
Take your time with the complaint, investigating what went wrong and how you can fix it. Then email the customer with at least one proposed solution to resolve the issue. If they respond and accept, you can then ask them to remove their negative feedback. If you handle things politely, they should be open to making it right from their end. Help them towards this action as well by providing instructions on how to remove it:
1. Go to http://www.amazon.com/your-account and navigate to “Personalization”
2. In the “Community” column, click “Seller Feedback Submitted By You.”
3. Click the “Remove” link next to the feedback you would like to remove.
What to Avoid When Contacting an Unhappy Customer
You need to be particularly careful when contacting unhappy customers. There are certain steps you can take to try to improve their experience. However, taking other steps can put your Seller Central account at risk.
Amazon’s Prohibited Seller Activities lay out a few clear guidelines of how to contact a customer. They clearly state that unsolicited emails to Amazon customers are prohibited. However, contacting them for customer service reasons are allowed. An unhappy customer that says they are trying to speaking to customer service or have not been able to get in touch with customer service clearly falls within the scope of what is allowed. Contacting any customer who is unhappy with their shopping experience is a slightly gray area as an email reported as unsolicited from a customer could cause your account problems.
You should also not contact a customer with a discount, promotions or other reward apart from a refund. Amazon also states that emails related to marketing communications of any kind are prohibited. Incentives could be seen as such and could get your account flagged by Amazon.
Amazon’s incentivized review policy also applies to Seller Feedback. You cannot offer compensation for feedback just as you cannot offer it for product reviews. Doing so can also lead to getting suspended or kicked off the platform by Amazon.
A few tips:
Be sure to respond to feedback promptly. Upset customers will only grow more irritated as time passes without any resolution to their concerns. Also, they only have 60 days to remove feedback, so you need this time to make things right – angry customers will not usually respond to your emails promptly because, well, they’re upset with you.
Be sure to apologize for whatever it is that made them unhappy. Don’t start with your reasons for why it’s not your fault or turn the situation on them in any way. Recognize that they have had a bad experience, apologize for this, and go directly to the solution.
Never offer a refund for removing negative seller feedback. This is a violation of Amazon policy and can get you suspended. You can ask for feedback, but you can in no way coerce or encourage a buyer to leave or remove feedback. Address the problem. Don’t look for an easy way out.
Always reach out with the purpose of understanding the problem. Don’t just say sorry and ask a customer to remove negative feedback. Be personable and show that you care about their experience, not just your score. Then express that you would like to resolve the issue, and how you propose to do just that.
When a Customer Doesn’t Respond
If a customer doesn’t reply to your message, try to make things right anyway. Send them a replacement for a damaged item or give them a refund. Email them that you’ve done so, and why, repeating your apology, even if you don’t expect a reply. They may just not feel like replying, but resolving the issue will make them feel better and your dedication to customer satisfaction may bring them back to your store again.
Also, leave a response to their negative feedback. It’s going to stay there unless the customer removes it, so all you can do is show that you’ve made an effort towards resolution.
A few tips:
Keep your feedback replies polite, short and to the point. It should contain these main elements: an apology, the proposed resolution presented via email, and assurance that you are working to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Even if that customer doesn’t care, this response will be visible to other Amazon customers who are reviewing your rating as a seller. Keep it professional, too. Don’t try to be funny or cute, because this shows disrespect for the customer’s problem.
Here’s a neat Gliffy chart that you can use to guide your seller feedback process:
Don’t Sweat it Too Much
A high seller feedback rating is essential to your success on Amazon. There is a limit to what you can do to control customers’ responses to your service, however. You can do everything in your power to provide great products and fulfillment and customer satisfaction. There is still a chance that here and there, either you will slip up, or a customer will be ungenerous.
Deal with the issues as they come along, make improvements to prevent them from happening again, and don’t let negative seller feedback get you down. A few bad ratings will not ruin you as long as you maintain a high rating overall. Most customers won’t believe a perfect score, anyway – they know that you can’t please everyone, so 98% is better than 100%.
Just keep on doing your best to offer the best you can and keep your chin up.