In days gone by, people were resigned to word-of-mouth referrals, but modern consumers are far more likely to read a handful of online reviews before deciding whether to buy a product. It’s estimated that two out of every ten customers are driven away by just one negative review.
In the past, Amazon allowed public responses to reviews, but they removed that, citing that the feature on customer reviews was rarely used. Recently, though, they offer a brand-only benefit that allows sellers to reach out to buyers who purchased a branded product directly from a seller and left a critical review (considered to be between 1-3 stars).
Resetting the Clock
Before this feature was introduced, contacting a customer was dangerous and often led to trouble with the e-commerce giant. Even if you didn’t explicitly ask them to change their review, the fact that you were giving a buyer a refund or replacement might have been interpreted as an attempt to influence them to modify their rating.
How to Use This New Feature
Notably, this option is only available if you have Amazon Brand Registry. Assuming you do, in seller central, go to the Brands Menu, and click on “Customer Reviews.”
You will be taken to a page saying that you can now send direct messages to customers who left you a 1-3 star rating.
A “contact buyer” button appears there, and a templated message comes up that offers the customer a full refund or replacement by clicking on it. You won’t be able to edit or personalize it and only have the options to either send the message or ignore it.
Alternatively, you can click “Customer Review” – “check with your buyer to clarify any product issues based on their review.”
Amazon provides the exact order number that resulted in your bad review in both of these scenarios, and both templates utilize the buyer/seller messaging system. As soon as you send the email, you will see it show up in your buyer/seller messaging sent folder.
No Harm, No Foul
If you feel a review is invalid or unhelpful, an additional useful feature is the option to “Report Abuse.” In that instance, go over and request a product review removal by filing a ticket.
Everything Changes, Nothing Changes
There is almost nothing to lose by trying to rectify a customer’s perceived negative experience. Even if you decide to offer a refund or replacement, you’re only out of pocket for the product cost. At best, you’ll gain loyalty, perhaps a repeat purchase, and maybe even a positive review, while at worst, everything will remain the same.
Take Advantage of Every Asset You Have
Amazon continues to give exclusive benefits to Brand Registered sellers, so if you don’t yet have Brand Registry, make sure to start the application process as soon as possible to take advantage of this feature and conceivably turn a negative experience into a positive one.