Amazon has received about 800,000 negative reviews in April and 945,000 negative reviews in May, which was twice the amount received in 2019.
Amazon’s superfast shipping is the gold standard in the online selling industry. But because of continuous shipment delays, customers were frustrated. Sadly the world’s most customer-centric company failed to “delight” its customers. Not so surprisingly, negative reviews started to increase dramatically in March. In the USA, Amazon received about 800 thousand negative reviews in April, which was double the amount of negative reviews received last April. Not just the USA, negative reviews have increased in almost every Amazon marketplace. Japan, for instance, where negative reviews are rare, saw an increase from 2% to 10%. According to a survey conducted by MarketPulse:
- The number of negative reviews in May 2020 increased to 945,000 from 345,000 in May 2019
- Amazon received about 1 million negative reviews in the last 30 day period which is double the usual amount
- 13% of the customers had a negative buying experience on Amazon which is 5% higher than the usual
- 49% of the reviews mentioned the words such as late deliveries never, received, package and tracking
Seeing the stats above, it’s apparent that COVID-19 hasn’t just taken a toll on everyone’s sales, profits and lifestyle but also on the hard-earned reviews and ratings. Sellers should know the measures to avoid any negative reviews in the future and prepare for managing negative reviews. Read on to know more.
Quick guide to deal with negative reviews (coronavirus edition):
#1: Be honest with your customers:
Communication is the key. Nothing pisses off a customer more than a lack of communication. Imagine you ordered a product four-five days back, you haven’t heard from the sellers since then. How would you react? Is my product shipped? When is it going to arrive? Have I been cheated? Did they run away with my money? Now, in this case, only if the seller had informed you that the shipment might take up to 7-8 days, wouldn’t you be calmer. Being a responsible seller, you should stay proactive and inform your customers in advance about the shipping delays. Even better, make updates in your listing stating that the product may not be delivered in the promised two-day window. Most buyers will understand the situation and won’t mind waiting.
Be sure to communicate with the buyer via Amazon Buyer-Seller Messaging. This can positively affect your impression. A little communication can go a long way to improve the experience of your customers. There is nothing wrong in explaining the situation to your customer; even Amazon expects you to do that, take a look at the message below. Amazon sent this to one of the sellers.
#2: Stay alert and be prompt
The first tip was about being proactive as to what you should do to avoid negative reviews. This tip is about what you should do if you have got a negative review. Well, first, you should take immediate action. Customers don’t like waiting and they expect an answer from you sooner than soon. 53% of the shoppers expect you to reply within a week. Amazon obviously doesn’t send any alerts or notification for negative reviews or seller feedback. So it’s up to you to keep a watch on your listings and reply as soon as possible.
#3: Keep an eye on your negative seller feedback, or it can lead to account suspension
Seller feedbacks are just as essential as a review, actually even more. Negative feedback, Credit Card Chargeback Rate and A-z Guarantee Claims are all a part of your Order Defect Ratio (ODR). It is essential that you maintain your ODR below 1% or your account can get suspended. Amazon had relaxed its policies for account suspensions for shipment related performance metrics, but now after two months, it has again started tracking accounts that do not fit its set criteria. Amazon removes seller feedbacks that have abusive language or any identifiable information about the seller. Amazon can also remove feedback if it’s actually a product review. If you find any such feedback, go ahead and report that feedback to Amazon.
#4: Try and remove the negative review
If you have a negative review that’s badly affecting your sales, you have two options to get rid of it: (a) get Amazon to remove the review or (b) do something to correct the situation. Amazon will remove under the following circumstances. First, if you are using FBA and the review is about receiving a damaged product, late shipment, or anything related to Fulfilment. Second, if the reviewer has used abusive language or not followed Amazon review guidelines. If you find any such negative reviews, you can immediately report to Amazon and the review will be removed. Now, if the negative review does not fall under any of the above-mentioned circumstances, you can reply to the customer directly in the comments section. Everyone is very well aware of the current situation and your customers will totally understand why you weren’t able to ship the product on time. Either reply back to them in the comments or draft a professional email explaining the situation. If possible, offer them a refund or discount on the next purchase. This will highly increase the probability of a customer removing the negative review. If you decide to reply to respond to the customer directly, make sure you do it the right way.
#5: Respond Professionally:
No matter how nasty the review is, you should not lose your cool and respond politely. First, thank your customers who took out time to share some information about your product. Never ever copy-paste the message. Boilerplate responses never work because it shows your lack of interest. You should also address each customer with their name and talk with them like you mean it. You are replying to resolve their issue, so it is essential that you give your contact information in the message. This is something customers really appreciate.
Every cloud has a silver lining and every negative review has a positive side:
- Opportunity to show your concern for the customers: Negative reviews are an excellent opportunity for you to show how much you care for your customers. About 90% of the customers read reviews before they buy and when they see you respond to a negative review like a responsible brand, their trust will increase and it will leave a positive impression.
- Identify your faults: Customer posts a negative review for a reason. He must have found something wrong with your product. Although most of the negative reviews you are receiving right now are because of shipping delays, there are many other reasons to look out for. Maybe the product received was damaged, maybe the product did not work as expected under certain conditions, or maybe there’s something wrong with the description. It’s an opportunity for you to improve your product. While our Amazon Product Listing experts optimize any product on Amazon, we read the reviews and customer questions and answers without fail. There’s so much hidden there.
- Makes your positive reviews look realistic: Imagine seeing a product with 1000 reviews and all positive. These are fake, of course, that’s what you would think, won’t you? Having a few negative reviews can make all your reviews look more realistic.
The good news is that we are recovering:
Yes, Amazon is healing and it has now recovered from essentials-only. So, the severe shipment delays will now be reduced. As a result, the spike in the negative reviews will gradually decrease. However, it would be safer to use FBM as your Fulfilment channel for a few months until everything normalizes completely. For the negative reviews you have received until now, try to remove them by contacting the reviewer. Also, remember that you aren’t alone who is going through all this; every seller selling on Amazon is in the same situation as you are. This includes the name brands like Bath & Body and Apple. If keeping a watch and dealing with reviews looks too overwhelming to you, you can always count on us. Hire our Amazon consultants and let them deal with the nitty-gritty of your Amazon store while you can focus on other essential aspects of your business.