Maintaining a Great Amazon Seller Feedback Rating

February 14th, 2014

Today’s post will be about working to be sure you maintain a positive feedback score on amazon.  Having a high positive feedback percentage let’s buyers know that they can be confident they will have a good purchasing experience when buying an item from you.  I don’t have any stats to back up this claim, but if you were the buyer and all other factors being equal I am betting you would buy from a seller with 98% feedback compared to one with 96%.

As I mentioned briefly in my post about returns, at the time of that posting I had 1,604 lifetime orders on amazon and had received 42 feedback reviews from customers.  This is my post about amazon returns in case you missed it.  So, I received feedback on only 2.62% on my orders at this point in time.  With such a low rate of receiving feedback, it is very important that the feedback amazon sellers do receive are positive ones.  Especially when considering that if a buyer has a negative experience they are much more likely to leave feedback, compared to your many happy buyers who are somewhat less likely to leave feedback.  Currently, I don’t use any service to try to boost the number of feedback that I receive.  Is anyone else using a service? and if so, what kind of results are you seeing? Let me know in the comments.

So, how do we maintain a great feedback score?

The first is obvious, provide great customer service. Do all of the basics right, such as listing your item in the proper condition (err on the side of being conservative here), and add any condition notes that are needed.  Condition notes are especially important for used items, give buyers a clear description of what the state of the item is while being sure to highlight any flaws.  Using pictures in your listings are even better yet.  For new items, make sure they are actually new.  If you need to add condition notes to an item that you are listing as new, then you probably shouldn’t be listing the item as new.  If buyers purchase a new item when you have the buy box, then they will never see the condition notes and they are assuming they are buying a brand new item with no defects.  This is exactly what they should receive, but occasionally there is confusion if items with shelf wear or box damage can be listed as new.  My personal take is that items need to be in pristine gift quality to be listed as new, if it requires ANY description of the condition then it is not new.   Put yourself in the shoes of the buyer, if you received the item you have listed in the described condition, would you be happy?

Providing great customer service is pretty obvious, but there are a few other ways to maintain a great feedback score.  Negative feedback that results from items that are fulfilled by amazon in which amazon was the cause of the negative feedback are eligible for removal.  If the entire feedback relates to the fulfillment or customer service aspect of the order, then amazon will “strike through” the feedback and it will not count towards your score.  I had this happen twice within 4 days in December, take a look here (click to enlarge, same goes for all screenshots throughout): Fulfillment by amazon feedback removalBoth of these neutral feedbacks were a result of the fulfillment of the item.  Note that neutrals hurt your positive feedback score just as much as negatives. The one on 12/6 amazon automatically took care of by “striking through” the feedback and I did not have to even contact them.  The one on 12/2, I did have to submit a request to amazon to have this feedback “struck through.”  The item was brand new when I sent it in, so I let them know that the damage had to occur while in transit, and as a result they took responsibility for the experience.

Other reasons you can have feedback removed are: the feedback includes obscene language, it contains personal information, is a product review, or is a medical questionnaire.   I also have an example of a product review feedback that I had removed recently.  Let’s take a look first at the feedback the customer left: Showing neutral feedback receivedAs you can see, this customer was basically leaving a product review and it was not a result of anything I did.  You can see that they even answered “Yes” for both arrived on time and item as described. HERE is a link to the amazon product page to the item that was ordered to give you an idea of what the feedback actually means.  As a result of this being a product review I reached out to amazon to ask them to remove it.

To get to the point of asking amazon to remove a feedback, first login to your seller account, then click “help” in the upper right hand corner of the screen, then click “contact seller support” on the right side of the screen towards the top, then click “orders” and a drop down will appear, click on “customer feedback problems” and enter in the order ID.  After going through those steps you will be brought to this screen: submitting request to amazon for removal pt1

As the reason I am requesting this feedback be removed is it is a product review, I check that box.  Let’s take a look at the second part of this screen (it didn’t all fit in one screenshot):submitting request to amazon for removal pt2The above screenshot shows exactly what I sent to them (except I did say “Hello” in the additional information but it didn’t show up in the screenshot).  Then after submitting this to amazon, you will have to wait up to 24 hours and they will make a decision to either remove this feedback or to decide that the feedback is not in violation of the policy and should remain on your account.  In this case, they removed the feedback in less than 12 hours, and I was back to 100% positive.

I have had multiple feedback removed using this method I just described.  If you receive a feedback on your account that violates amazon feedback policy be sure to request to have it removed.

The last method for maintaining a great feedback score is working with buyers after they do leave you a negative feedback.  Occasionally as sellers we will mess up and a negative feedback will show up.  In a perfect world buyers would always reach out to see if the issue can be resolved, but often they do not.

Here is an example.  I received a negative feedback in early January from a customer related to a Callaway Hat Gift Set that they purchased from me (link HERE if you want to see).  Somehow the item arrived to them and it did not have the golf balls inside.  I don’t know for sure how this happened, as I would like to think I would have noticed if this item didn’t have the golf balls included, as you could hear them rolling around inside the boxes.   I sold about 20 of these so it is possible I didn’t notice that one set was somehow opened and the golf balls removed.  Either way, the customer had an unsatisfactory order experience that was my fault, so it was my job to try to make it right.

My first step was to send them this message through amazon (copied and pasted from amazon, that’s why the formatting is a little off):

Hello,

Based on the feedback you recently left about an order you placed from me that was fulfilled by amazon,I wanted to reach out to apologize. I am very sorry to hear that your item arrived in an incomplete    condition. I cannot imagine how this must have felt, especially when this item was given as a gift.

I wanted to reach out to ensure that this matter has been appropriately resolved by amazon? and also tosee if I could personally send you a $10 amazon gift card via email or via regular mail due to you    having to go through this inconvenience.  Please let me know if you would be ok with this, and which   method you would prefer.

Again, my sincere apologies for the condition your item arrived in, it was never my intent to send an  incomplete item.  Please let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns.

Best Regards,
Ryan Grant

The customer responded saying they were able to return the item, receive a replacement and that amazon was able to resolve the issue.  They also said they were very thankful that I reached out to them, sometimes they just need to know there is a real person who cares on the other end of the transaction who made an honest mistake.  They did accept the $10 gift card, and I ordered one and sent it directly to them.  I then waited a few days after the gift card arrived, and then I sent them this message:

Hello,

Hope you are having a good weekend! I wanted to reach out regarding the negative feedback for the Callaway Gift Set order you placed in December.  Again, I am terribly sorry that the item did not arrive  
in the proper condition and caused you undo trouble.

Although the initial part of the transaction was unpleasant, if the refund provided by amazon from my account resolves your initial issue, I would greatly appreciate it if you would consider removing your  negative feedback. Unfortunately there is not a way to revise previously left feedback, but removing it is an option.  As a seller, I pride myself on working to resolve any issues that come up with an order to one of my customers, and my goal is to have my feedback score reflect that.  I have listed         instructions below on how to remove the feedback should you choose to do so. Thank you for  
your consideration.

1. Go to http://www.amazon.com/your-account.
2. Under "Personalization," in the "Community" column, click "Seller Feedback Submitted By You."
3. A list of all of the feedback left by you will be displayed.  
4. Click the "Remove" link next to the feedback would like to remove.

Best Regards,
Ryan Grant

Notice, that I did not mention the $10 gift card as a reason for them having to remove the feedback.  It is against amazon policy to make the customer receiving something from you contingent upon them removing the negative feedback.  Within an hour of sending the above message they removed their negative feedback, and I was back to 100% positive again.

This post has gotten quite lengthy, so I will wrap it up quick.  If you sell enough on amazon long enough you will receive neutral and negative feedback.  Be proactive with your feedback score and do what you can to keep your score as high as possible, and you should be rewarded with more sales.  If you have any questions or comments please leave them below, or send me an email at grant.ryanj@gmail.com.

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18 responses to “Maintaining a Great Amazon Seller Feedback Rating”

  1. Aaron says:

    how do you handle returns that are FBA and the buyer didnt leave negative feedback? Is it worth reaching out to them to see why the returned it?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hey Aaron,

      If they don’t leave negative feedback then I don’t reach out. To find out why they may have returned the item, you can go to your amazon seller home page, hover over reports, click fulfillment, and then click “Returns” under the customer concessions header on the left side of the screen. This will then show you the reason for the item being returned.

      Hope that helps!

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  2. Megan says:

    Hey Ryan,

    I have a feedback neutral with the comment, “okay”. They left a 3. Would you consider sending any type of letter/revision for this? The product was a $7 book.
    Thanks!

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hey Megan,

      I would definitely send a response to this. Any time I receive a neutral or a negative I reach out to the customer or amazon to see if I can work to get them to resolve the situation and remove the feedback. In this case, I would reach out to the customer, apologize that they didn’t have a 5 star experience and see if there is anything you do to make it a 5 star experience. I would also let them know that you strive for 100% positive feedback, and that a neutral score hurts your positive rating just as much as a negative. I would first reach out with that and see what they say.

      Depending on what they respond with to that email (if they respond) I would possibly get to the point of refunding them and allowing them to keep the item. I would really only do this because it is such a low value item, in my opinion it would be worth losing the $7 to have this off of your score. If it was a higher dollar item, I would not just refund without getting the item back.

      Just be sure you don’t make a refund or concession contingent upon them removing their feedback as this is against amazon policy. Just work to resolve the issue, and then once it is, reach out to them and ask them to remove their feedback. Hope that helps, and let me know if you have further questions!

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  3. MLH says:

    Ryan,
    Do you reach out to buyers to potentially prompt positive feedback under the guise of providing good customer service? Something like ‘Hello! Just wanted to see if you’re enjoying xxxxxxxx. We here at YYYYYYYY pride ourselves on top quality products and excellent customer service, please let us know if there is anything we can do.’

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hey MLH,

      Currently I do not reach out to buyers attempting to get them to leave feedback. I have tried a few times and found that the conversion rates of actually receiving feedback even when requesting it are very low, so I rather spend my time elsewhere.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  4. B&K says:

    Fairly new to Amazon/FBA (2 months) and received our first feedback. Wanting to make sure that we aren’t supposed to reciprocate and leave buyer feedback? (Can you tell we are experienced Ebay sellers?). We are finding your blog very helpful – thanks for all you do!

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi B&K,

      Glad to hear it, and no there is no need to reciprocate feedback on amazon.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  5. Salem says:

    i received a negative feedback (i ordered…) only this what buyer wrote, but the buyer said the item delivered on time and as described my rating decreased from 100% to 86% can you tell me what to do?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Salem,

      I would take the steps outlined in this post, or else contact the customer to try to resolve their issue.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  6. Mark says:

    Excellent post Ryan,
    Im a new Amazon seller and got a 3 star feedback on a recent item which dropped my rating down to 96%.
    Following your steps outlined above I got the review which was a “product feedback” removed in less than 1 minute.
    Thanks for the info.

  7. Ehsan says:

    Do you send note or text to buyer to give Seller rating? Do you have draft.

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Ehsan,

      I use feedback genius to do this automatically. You can find a link to that service as well as all others I am using on my resources page: ose.wpengine.com/resources

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  8. vijujvijuj says:

    Excellent. Thank you a lot. I never knew about this. I had a negative feedback and I got that removed following your steps. Thanks again.

  9. Adam says:

    Hey Ryan – Just learning about your operation now and it sounds really fascinating! My question has to do with being completely new to selling on Amazon. I went out and purchased some games to sell online and when I posted it to Amazon I noticed that I was going up against other sellers with incredible customer ratings and satisfaction percentages. How do I as a new seller begin to compete with sellers like this and also how do I even begin to get buyers for feedback?

    If you discuss this somewhere else on your site, I apologize.

    Thanks!
    Adam

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Adam,

      We all started with zero feedback at one point, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Just focus on being price competitively and making sure you take care of the customers you do have and the good feedback will come. Some customers will still buy even if you don’t have feedback.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

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