If social proof is one of the cornerstones of eCommerce, Amazon is largely responsible for laying the foundation. Even during a time in which the lines between social media and digital commerce are becoming increasingly blurred, the largest global online retailer can rightfully claim the role of pioneering social proof as a key element of marketing in the digital age.
We all know the value of constructive feedback. It's a critical element of our business reputation. And business reputation is one of the first things potential customers look for.
Feedback can make or break our business. And a single bad review is difficult not to take personally. Constructive feedback is hard to come by in a culture of increasing negativity and sarcasm. Trying to find a customer who's willing to provide honest, direct and above all, critical feedback can seem like the proverbial needle in a haystack.
The Value of Feedback as a Seller
It doesn't have to be.
Think of a customer review as the retail equivalent of upward feedback in the corporate world, where buyer reviews (employee feedback) float directly back to sellers (management) in order to provide insight which can directly affect future performance (teamwork.)
The only difference is that giving feedback isn't just requested in most corporate environments. It's frequently mandatory for many employees, whereas it's not at all necessary for a buyer to provide feedback about your performance (even though many eventually will.)
But many customers generally don't like requests for unsolicited feedback from companies, particularly if it's not part of an order confirmation. Giving feedback never stems from persuasive tactics, but from both the quality of a product and service provided. Persuasion is the cause of marketing, while feedback and testimonials are the result.
Amazon's not just fully aware of this. They've taken active steps to ensure that any communication between sellers and buyers isn't misconstrued as marketing. As a result, adhering to regulations which have been put into place can be one of the more frustrating challenges of receiving honest feedback as a seller.
Seller feedback is just one of several metrics used to evaluate your overall performance. It's rare to find two way feedback between sellers and buyers on Amazon. Amazon's focus on customer-centricity frequently leaves sellers with little recourse to defend themselves against feedback, to speak nothing of using positive feedback as social proof.
You may not be able to reach out to customers as effectively as you'd like. But there is a tool that can help you maintain both positive and negative feedback. It's called Feedback Manager and it just might be one of the more valuable ways of obtaining both constructive criticism as well as actionable insights into just how you can better operate your business.
Why Feedback Manager?
Feedback and reviews are fundamental to Amazon's business just as much as they're fundamental to yours. In fact, they're so indispensable that just one bad review could put you at risk of violating community guidelines. Too many bad reviews could result in being suspended from the platform altogether.
There's always going to be at least one customer who simply won't be satisfied with their order—no matter how hard you try. And while simple common sense should tell you that any overwhelming issues should be resolved as graciously as possible, an uptick of bad reviews and negative feedback might just be saying something about your business practice.
That’s why Feedback Manager is so valuable. By helping you measure critical feedback metrics for both short and long term performance, you can identify just where you're succeeding in your business as a seller. And where you aren't.
How Does Feedback Manager Calculate My Ratings?
Positive feedback consists of 5 or 4 star ratings, neutral feedback only 3, while negative feedback consists of 1 or 2 star ratings. Keep in mind that these ratings don't always reflect your service but can refer to a product itself.
Ratings are then reported in aggregate and separated into two different tables:
Feedback Manager's Feedback Rating Table.
Feedback percentages are rounded off to the nearest whole number and are calculated based on the sum of all positive feedback and the sum of all feedback based on intervals of the past 30 days, 90 days, 365 days and lifetime. This consists of both percentages and actual feedback accrued during the course of 12 months.
Feedback Manager's Recent Feedback Table
Recent feedback is ordered by the date in which it was received over the past 30 days and displays actual feedback associated with the order, allowing you to view comments, post a reply, contact the buyer and request the removal of incorrect feedback if proven to be blatantly false.
What If A Buyer Has Left Incorrect Feedback?
Incorrect feedback isn't uncommon from dissatisfied customers, particularly from seller-fulfilled orders.
You may have shipped your order in a timely manner. But somehow along the way, it arrived late or damaged. Even if you're not at fault, reasoning may not be enough for a buyer to refrain from sharing feedback which reflects poorly on you.
Unfortunately, incorrect feedback cannot be edited by you directly. But you can request the buyer to delete their review in Feedback Manager. It's as simple as logging in, reviewing the Order ID in the Recent Feedback Table and selecting the “Request Removal” button under the Actions column. Include an explanation of the situation in question and see if either of you can come to a mutual understanding and solution. You'll often find that listening to a buyers' perspective can teach you about their own needs.
Note that personal opinion is not considered incorrect feedback per Amazon's guidelines. Likewise, pressuring or incentivizing a buyer to remove any negative feedback is a violation of official policy.
If a product arrived late or damaged through no fault of your own, contact the customer directly to see if you can clarify or resolve the complaint. Be polite and open-minded, even if the buyer left feedback rashly.
Can I Respond To Feedback?
So long as your response doesn't contain a defamatory personal attack, you can post a public reply through Feedback Manager:
Go to Feedback under the Performance tab
In the Recent Feedback table, select Post a public response
While this won't remove negative feedback, other users will frequently take note if you attempted to resolve any unaddressed concerns. Often, you'll find that responding professionally and courteously to a rude or hostile review will reflect much better on you than it will the reviewer.
More Feedback = More Recognition
Sellers need all the support and recognition they can get in a highly competitive marketplace. More feedback has a direct impact on the health of your account and your ability to continue selling on Amazon.
Positive feedback will obviously garner you more recognition. But so will negative feedback. And rarely in a good way.
Receiving feedback gives you the opportunity for improvement as a seller. It can point out both the weaknesses and strengths of your customer service. But above all, it can give you perspective—perhaps one of the more overlooked aspects of being a seller.
Feedback Manager may seem like a simple tool. But it's an extremely valuable one. Pay attention to it, and you may find out more about your performance than you think. Ignore it?
That's the same as ignoring your customers altogether.
Color More Lines manages all aspects of your account, including feedback. Find out more at Color More Lines.