As a new seller getting your head around Amazon feedback can feel daunting. Here’s our quick guide to understanding the 3 main Amazon feedback groups.

One of the first things people tell you about selling on Amazon is that feedback is important. You need good feedback and plenty of it, but in the beginning, feedback can become a surprisingly complicated concept.

Amazon feedback can be divided into 3 main groups and each one of them works in a slightly different way.

Here are the 3 types of Amazon feedback and what you need to know about each one:

Private messages

Private messages are an important but often overlooked form of feedback. It’s easy to get caught up worrying about public feedback that you forget to address your private messages.

In many cases, private messages may be the first type of feedback you receive. If the messages coming your way are positive, it gives you a chance to build your relationship with buyers and encourage them to leave public feedback.

On the flip side, if the messages are negative, it gives you the opportunity to address the concerns, hopefully avoiding damaging public feedback.

Amazon demands a high level of customer service when it comes to responding to messages. They expect you to send a reply within 24 hours no matter what time or day of the week you receive the message. It doesn’t matter if it’s the weekend or a public holiday – or even if you’re on vacation. Amazon still expects a prompt reply.

As indicated by the list of potential subject lines that a customer can choose from, most will use private messages to lodge a complaint. These subject lines include “where’s my stuff,” “can you ship faster?” and “received the wrong item.” The good news is that even though these buyers have a complaint, they are at least willing to keep their issue with you private — for the time being.

If you address buyer concerns in an open, efficient, and friendly way, buyers will probably keep their complaints private.

Product reviews

Amazon actively encourages people to send product reviews and some of them can be quite detailed. Buyers can produce their own detailed reviews about a product and add a star rating. If you can keep this rating high, you’ll have every chance of building and growing your sales.  

Product reviews should be focused entirely on the product rather than your performance as a seller. They appear on the product’s detail page rather than your seller profile and can be left by pretty much anybody regardless of whether they have purchased from you or not.

This particular rule has created all sorts of problems for Amazon as it can be open to misuse and manipulation. Fake reviews are a constant both from sellers looking to boost their own profile and from those looking to harm the competition.

Buyers can remove product reviews – and indeed they often do, often because they have changed their mind about how good the product is. However, you can never ask the buyer directly to remove a review. The decision has to be theirs alone.

Seller Feedback

The third feedback group is directly related to your reputation as a seller. Buyers will have the opportunity to leave seller feedback. This starts by answering a few basic questions such as:

  • Did the product arrive on time?
  • Was it in good condition?
  • Was the product as described?
  • Did the seller offer courteous and friendly customer service?

In addition, they will be able to leave a review about their experiences and give you a star rating out of five. Both your customers and Amazon will pay close attention to this feedback. Buyers are not likely to purchase from a seller that has a low star rating with a high incidence of negative seller feedback. Amazon also looks at your negative feedback rating and, if this gets too high, they may recommend that you adjust your sales practices.

The good thing about seller feedback is that it is easier to remove than product reviews. There are a number of situations in which Amazon may decide to remove the feedback:

  • Obscene or abusive language.
  • They have posted personally identifiable information about you.
  • The feedback is actually a product review.

How to Encourage More Feedback

Those are the three main types of Amazon feedback. Each of these will be vital in its own way. Feedback can often affect your visibility on Amazon and are likely to have an impact on your future sales. In general, the more feedback you have, the better. The good news is that there are many things you can do to increase the number of reviews you receive.

Amazon does have strict guidelines about how you can contact customers, but if you phrase your emails correctly, you can encourage people to leave positive reviews without breaking any of these guidelines. You should never offer an incentive in return for a review, but you can send emails about the order and its shipment. In these emails, you should include links to your product review and seller feedback pages.

For example, you can send an email to follow up on a purchase and check in to see that everything is going well with the product. From there, you can politely ask the buyer to leave feedback or a product review in order to help other buyers come to a decision about your product. Most people will forget to leave feedback without a little prompt, so this can significantly increase the amount of feedback you get.

Understanding Negative Amazon Feedback

If you do receive a complaint, good customer service is crucial. You want to put right whatever has gone wrong. You can assess where the responsibility for the problem lies and identify whatever steps are necessary to remedy the situation.

First thing’s first, you need to consistently monitor your feedback and the best way to do this is with a feedback management platform like FeedbackWhiz. FeedbackWhiz brings all of your feedback and customer data into one convenient location. It updates every 10 minutes which means that when you do receive negative feedback, you will be alerted to it right away.

As soon as feedback comes in, the clock is ticking. The sooner you can get in touch with the buyer, the greater your chances of resolving their complaint.

Negative feedback may come in two forms: private or public.

With private feedback, the buyer may message you directly with their complaint. Once you are done being grateful that they didn’t leave public feedback, you need to respond. Whether the complaint is about a defect in your product or damaged packaging from a careless courier, you need to offer a solution. If, for example, you offer a replacement the customer complaint can quickly become an extremely positive interaction. This exchange may even land you some positive public accolades by way of positive seller feedback or a positive product review.

Dealing with public feedback

All customer feedback is important but public feedback can have an immediate impact on your reputation. Negative feedback sits out there for all potential buyers to see. Customers will be less likely to purchase from you if appear to have a shoddy product. Negative seller feedback can impact your seller rating and, again, turn off potential buyers. Too much negative feedback in either category and Amazon may even take action against you.

If you receive negative feedback, all is not lost. When FeedbackWhiz alerts you to the negative feedback you should get in touch with the customer immediately to determine what is wrong. Your goals here are simple: make sure the customer ends up happy and to remove the negative feedback.

Under very specific circumstances you may be able to ask Amazon to remove the feedback. These circumstances include:

  • Explicit or offensive language: Obviously, anything rude or offensive will be removed by Amazon.
  • Reveals details which might identify you as a seller: Your privacy is meant to be sacred so anything which compromises this will be deleted.
  • Relates to an issue with delivery for products sold through Fulfilled by Amazon( FBA): With FBA, Amazon takes on responsibility for the shipping and customer service. As such, any problems with shipping are their fault and they should take responsibility for that and strike the negative feedback from the record.
  • Problems which were the fault of the courier: As long as you have held up your end of the bargain in getting the product to the courier in good condition Amazon shouldn’t expect you to suffer the consequences for a courier’s mistake.

Product reviews are a slightly different matter, but you may still be able to get these removed if you can convince Amazon that the reviews are fake. This might happen if a competitor is trying to spoil the online reputation of your product. There are various tell-tale signs which might cause Amazon to suspect the review is not genuine, such as if the review is vague or generic, suggesting the reviewer has never used the product, or if several reviews come from the same IP address. This suggests someone is trying to drive product reviews up or down. There are also a number of products out there such as Fakespot which help to identify fake product reviews. This could help to back up your case.

Removing or amending

The first step is to look at the feedback itself. Feedbackwhiz regularly updates all feedback so you can see this as it comes in. Have a look at what the customer says to see if there is any way you can take action to remove it. If it fulfills any of the criteria mentioned above you can report it to Amazon.

If not, then never fear. All is not yet lost. You may still be able to persuade the customer to remove it or amend it. This will be difficult and delicate. Amazon’s guidelines forbid asking explicitly for them to remove negative feedback or offering any kind of incentive. For example, you mustn’t make a refund contingent on them removing the feedback.

However, if you deliver some grade A customer service, there is a chance that the customer might have a change of heart. For example, if a product arrives damaged or stops working after a couple of days the customer may remove the negative feedback if you quickly provide a replacement item which works much better.

In the case of negative product reviews, respond publicly to the review with your contact information. This ensures that even if the reviewer never amends their product review, potential buyers looking at your reviews see that you are a caring seller who will make things right should something go wrong.

Learning from negative product reviews

Even if you fail to get negative product reviews removed, these can still present you with an opportunity. These complaints will tell you where you go wrong. By using FeedbackWhiz you can search through all your product reviews based on the star rating and search for common trends.

Many of your customers will already be doing this, even if your feedback score is pretty good. They will want an idea of the kind of things that can potentially go wrong with your product. Amazon may also be paying attention. If they see phrases like ‘not as advertised’ cropping up too often, they may take measures against your account. If they start seeing you as a questionable seller, you could be on the slippery slope towards account suspension.

From your perspective, though, these can negative product reviews offer great learning opportunities. They highlight issues with your products and help you put right anything you need to. If you embrace these criticisms rather than shy away from them, they can help you become a better and, ultimately, more successful seller

Mastering your feedback

Amazon feedback and product reviews can be a murky field. The rules of the game can be quite complicated and it’s not uncommon for both buyers and sellers to get things confused. However, if you understand the different types of feedback available and how they can help you. If you master feedback management, you can boost your ratings, attract more sales and make more money.