Once you’ve sold a product online and it has reached your customer, you’re perhaps waiting anxiously to see what they have to say. A review is a major deciding factor in how well you sell online. Even for products from companies that are well established, prospective buyers take reviews from past customers very seriously. Just take a look at the Amazon reviews for the MacBook Air 13. It is certainly one of the more successful products with a 4.5 rating on Amazon, but it still has bad reviews.
As a retailer, handling customer dissatisfaction is a lot easier in physical stores. The customer, and you, would have the benefit of face-to-face interaction, thus giving both parties more context. When you receive a bad review online, it is hard to decide if your product was indeed bad, or if this is a case of spitefulness from someone.
Here are some tips to handle negative reviews on Amazon.
Tip #1: Getting In Touch With The Reviewer
This is an extremely tricky approach. We recommend you use it only when you’re supremely confident about your communication skills. You can get in touch with the reviewer privately, on another platform or via email, and ask them what went wrong.
There are a few steps here:
- Find out who the consumer is. A verified purchase on Amazon always shows up as a verified purchase next to the review.
- If the purchase was not made through Amazon, do not take this approach to tackling the review. You can get into trouble for snooping on someone.
- If it is a verified purchase, and if you see a real name under the review, try looking for the person on other social media platforms. Twitter and Facebook are both good. Look for an email address only when all else fails.
- Write to the, as politely as possible, and with no hint of intimidation, asking what went wrong with their product. As much as possible, don’t use this mail to present your point of view or offer incentives.
- If they do not respond, let it go. Do not hound them.
- If they do respond, gauge the tone of the response. Are they upset? Are they genuinely dissatisfied? Offer help in any way you can.
- Once you feel like you’ve resolved their issue well and they’re happy about it, ask them if they could remove/ modify their negative review. Don’t pressurize.
For this approach to work at all, you need someone with excellent communication skills who can handle any situation without making it worse. When in doubt, don’t go with this approach.
Tip #2: Commenting On An Unfair Review
A lot of reviews crop up on Amazon – someone doesn’t like the packaging while another is upset about delivery. Amazon will not remove a review just because a retailer thinks it is unfair. However, for orders fulfilled by Amazon, they will add in a line stating that delivery issues happened from their end.
In some cases, you may find a review that complies with Amazon’s guidelines, but projects a bad image of you and your product that borders on too much. In such a case, you have the option of responding to the review.
- As always, keep the communication extremely polite. Sarcasm, passing the blame onto the reviewer and making tall claims don’t help.
- The purpose of this response is to give other people a balanced view of the matter. Back everything you say with facts and figures.
- In cases where the review pertains to personal opinions, such as, “this fragrance smelled truly horrible”, use testimonials and good reviews from the same site to point out how many other people have enjoyed it.
- If the complaint is about packaging and it is genuine, write back about how they’ve prompted you to change your packaging so it is more efficient and aesthetically pleasing.
- Remember, not everyone is out to get you. Some people may have genuinely hated the product, so see what you can change.
Tip #3: Getting Amazon To Remove A Review
This happens very rarely, but Amazon does remove reviews that don’t match its guidelines. If you find that a review uses obscene language, overtly promotes a competitor’s product or just gives a bad rating with no clear reason, you can use the ‘Report Abuse’ option under the review. If they find that it is indeed violating guidelines, they may remove the review.
Especially in cases of books, it is very common to see a bunch of bad reviews posted incessantly, especially when it makes it to a blockbuster list. Competition is fierce in the world of publishing, and if you’re retailing books, it may help to have a team dedicated to handling Amazon reviews. For bad reviews on books, your response can ask more questions. If someone has just posted a review without reading the book, you can tell by asking pointed questions about the plot and characters.
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Tip #4: The Bane Of Paid Reviews
Paid reviews are a thing. Entire business models are structured around offering people free samples in exchange for their ‘honest and unbiased’ opinions. However, ReviewMeta found that such reviews are rarely, if ever, unbiased.
For selling on any platform, including Amazon, having reviews is not a prerequisite. Usually, sellers receive feedback only for 10-15% of their products, so you don’t have to artificially bloat this percentage. Most people who receive free samples feel compelled to leave a good review even if you didn’t tell them to do so.
Very recently, Amazon has updated its community guidelines to place a complete ban on products that have been reviewed in exchange for an incentive. Too many fake, bloated reviews can tilt consumer opinion one way or another. In order to prevent this practice, Amazon is going so far as to sue sellers who are offering free products to their customers in return for a positive review. As of now, offering customers free samples in return for a review is prohibited on Amazon.
If you want to judge reviews from a customer’s perspective, here are a few guidelines for what Amazon considers a valid review, and what it considers abuse.
The key to handling Amazon reviews well is to not take them all personally. People are entitled to their opinions. You need to step in only when the reviews are damaging your sales. At this point, take a look at your business. If you can find no fault in it, go ahead and think about how to deal with the reviews.
Tell us how you handled negative reviews in the comments below!