How to Deal With Negative Reviews on Amazon
By Tina Marie Bueno | April 19th, 2016
As the leading Amazon review service; we have a lot to say about those treasured digital testimonials. For the most part, Sellers who offer great service, a quality product and fast shipping, earn higher reviews. But what happens when negative ones are thrown into the mix? They too directly impact your sales and metrics on Amazon.
When was the last time you wrote one? What motivated you to take time out of your busy day to actually post it? To share a great product or customer service experience? Or to vent a frustration so others are spared from the same encounter? Fortunately or not, both reasons are potent influences. And on Amazon, when a prospective buyer answers Yes or No to “Was this review helpful to you?”; it turbo boosts the rating.
Shifting Your Perspective
You may think that the real objective is to have only four- and five- star reviews. Consider recent stats from Reevoo which suggest that reviews produce an average 18% uplift in sales and the presence of bad reviews actually improves sales conversions by 67%! Additionally, 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad ratings.
For example, look at this moisturizer listed on Amazon. There are 6 one star reviews and 8 two stars. Those low ratings are few compared to the amount of four- and five-stars. This product has a very healthy overall 4 star rating out of 137 total reviews.
Would those bad reviews preempt you from buying it? Probably not. As odd as it may sound, having a few negative reviews can contribute to building trust that the rest are authentic and probably help consumers understand the product better.
Should You Respond to Reviews?
The question a Seller must ask themselves is, “Why do I want to respond to a negative review?” If the answer is ego-based, it’s best to just let it go. However, if the review content is a good opportunity to explain product usage in the words the buyer used, or there has been a product update that resolves the issue; then, that warrants a response. Choose your battles wisely. In other words, don’t respond to every negative review that shows up. Being defensive doesn’t help your reputation as a trustworthy merchant.
On some websites – Yelp and Travel Advisor to name a few; there is an opportunity to respond directly to a customer review. With reviews left on your Amazon product page; it’s a whole other ball game. Amazon prefers it that way.
If a reviewer did not contact you either through Amazon or in the way suggested on your product package insert, but you deem needs a response; there are a couple of ways to contact these “almost” unreachables. Below are three possible sources that Sellers can use to reach reviewers:
1. Customer Feedback Ratings.
Sometimes shoppers who posted a product review also rate their experience with the Seller. You will have to play detective on this one though. If the reviewer uses the same name as on the feedback rating; then by clicking on this section…
leads to this section…
If you find that it’s the same person, then either use the respond button and proceed according to the best practices covered later in this post.
2. From the Review.
Often reviewers use pseudonyms which makes this first and second source ever more challenging. In the case that the reviewer used the same name on their order as seen by arrow a in the picture below; then you can search the name in your orders and contact them via Amazon.
3. Comments Section.
Then there is Plan b: Clicking on Comments. Actually created for customer discussions, it is another possible way to reach out to a negative reviewer.
This goes to a page that looks like this if no one has posted a comment yet:
Or, this box if at least one comment exists:
Eyes Are On You
Be aware that this may be seen by other buyers if they decide to view those comments. To be clear, this is not about defending yourself publicly.
Rather than post your solution here unless it is for educational purposes; ask the reviewer to contact you via Amazon to resolve the buyer’s issue.
Perhaps being so public is out of your comfort zone; however, it can actually help with gaining more trust from prospective buyers if handled well. Choose your words wisely.
Best Practices for Managing Negative Reviewers
If you are indeed going to contact a reviewer, stay within Amazon’s guidelines for customer communications. Never pressure anyone: Treat them like royalty.
1. Be Polite.
Sometimes easier said than done, don’t take a negative review personally. Read through the words to actually discover what the real issue is. Writing with professional yet kind words sets the tone.
After collecting your thoughts and determining how to resolve the issue, start off with, “Thank you for your valuable feedback. We understand that you ….”. Buyers want to know they have been heard.
2. Respond Within 48 Hours.
Remember, 88% of shoppers use online reviews before making a purchase. From a buyer’s view, they are simply doing their part in helping others with their decision-making process too.
If you are choosing to respond, a quick resolution could just be the catalyst for someone who had a bad experience change their review to reflect how swiftly you responded.
3. Do the Right Thing.
Never offer compensation. Resolve the issue because that is what excellent customer service is all about. Don’t do so as an incentive to have a review removed, but because it is the professional thing to do.
Sometimes quickly solving an underlying problem motivates customers who left a bad review to going back and edit it to include how happy they were with your fast response.
After everything has been resolved and if the buyer hasn’t changed their review; THEN ask, “If you are fully satisfied, could you take a few moments to share your experience?”
Otherwise, just move on.
4. Share Reviews With Staff.
Whether you are working with just one other person or many others in your Amazon business, make sure everyone reads all reviews received. It puts staff in the same Amazon customer-centric mindset.
When re-occurring themes prevail, this is an area begging for preventative measures. Of course, share the positive feedback too. It’s highly motivating.
5. Monitor Reviews Regularly.
If you are busy running your Amazon business with few people, schedule an hour first thing or end of day to read any new reviews. Otherwise, assign this important task to staff trained in managing customer service communications.
6. Request Damaging Reviews Be Removed.
It is a rare case when Amazon removes a review. And let’s face it, just because a reviewer has a surly personality, doesn’t mean Amazon will take it down.
However, if you are certain that the negative review is thoroughly understood and differentiated between a chronic complainer versus a genuine problem; then contact Seller support as shown on the arrow below. Valid reasons to ask for a review removal? If…
- the complaint is not directly product related
- you can see foul play by another Amazon user/Seller
- you are abused, harassed or there is inappropriate language
Reviews, positive and negative, add value to product listings. All reviews are a super source for content when writing product descriptions and keyword search terms. Reading them is not an activity exclusively for responding to negative reviews, but also for gleaning valuable insights about how others view your product. This free market research and focus group-like feedback may just inspire new product enhancements that could result in a product that customers actually love.
Tina Marie Bueno is a global citizen with an MBA in Int’l Business plus over 20 years of content marketing experience both in the U.S. and overseas. As iLoveToReview’s Marketing Director, she strives to deliver relevant content to serve Amazon businesses of all sizes.