How to deal with Negative Amazon Reviews
Updated: Sep 5, 2019
Negative Amazon reviews can be infuriating and frustrating for Sellers. Even for sites with strong feedback bases, one-star reviews can stand out and pull down the average ratings.
Throw in the fact that many customers often start by reading negative reviews and they can have a damaging effect on Amazon Sellers’ businesses.
In certain circumstances especially of the reviews relate to fake - inauthentic items this can lead to Amazon issuing a 72 hour notice of the intention to suspend your seller account unless the seller can prove the authenticity of their products.
But there are ways to legitimately counteract negative Amazon reviews, which can then have a positive effect on your online business.
Lets first look at the main reasons why Amazon buyers leave reviews.
1. Negative Reviews Help Other People
Amazon buyers give a real picture of what they should expect from a business or a product.
What you should do as a good Amazon Seller is to respond by acknowledging the problem and asking for more details to address it to improve the experience of future Amazon customers.
2. Product Didn’t Meet a Customer’s Expectations
The item isn’t necessarily bad because the main reason for the negative review is that the product didn’t meet the expectations.
As a Seller you should ask for more details and find out why the customer felt this way.
3. Customers Want to Help Amazon Improve by providing Feedback
As an Amazon Seller you should thank the customer for their opinion, and engage with them to get more details on product improvement. This way you can get some valuable information – continuous improvement!
4. Customers Want to be Listened to
Approximately 60% of customers who left a negative reviews didn’t get any response from Amazon Sellers. That’s frustrating and the customer has no choice but to vent their frustrations through the review.
The best way to go is to let the frustrated customer know that their voice is heard and engage with them by offering help to make them feel appreciated.
5. To be a Part of a Crowd
Lots of Amazon buyers leave online reviews because they are a part of a fan group or it’s just something they do to strengthen the feeling of belonging to a certain group of people.
In this case, chances are that their reviews will be validated by the members of their group of other who leave reviews often.
Here Thompson and Holt’s managing partner Craig Gedey, who has vast experience and knowledge of Amazon’s systems, outlines three ways to deal with negative and unfavourable Amazon reviews when they do crop up.
1. Ask for a removal or amendment by the poster
“This should be your starting point following any negative review that you feel isn’t justified,” Thompson and Holt’s Gedey explains.
“If that doesn’t work, you can contact Amazon to try and have it removed, but more of that later. Your first port of call should be asking for a revision or removal by the customer if you can identify them and are able to contact them directly. They have the ability to modify or delete reviews, and you can contact them to ask for that if you feel their comments are unfounded or inaccurate.
“Since many reviews are written using pseudonyms, it isn’t always possible. Sellers can try to identify the reviewer by comparing the pseudonym and date of the review with received orders. If this isn’t successful, you can still use the comment function and try to get the reviewer to contact you instead.
“Your chances of having a review changed are highest when the customer has made a mistake in their feedback, the criticism is clearly unjustified, or you have dealt with the reason for the bad review.
“Try to help them solve the problem that they had with your product. If you can resolve the issues, there is a reasonable chance that the negative review will be edited or deleted.
“If you do contact the customer, maintain a friendly approach at all times, never be abusive in any way and underline how important it is for you to deal with criticisms on Amazon.
“What you also absolutely must not do is offer the customer any incentive to make those changes, because that is a violation of Amazon’s rules and regulations.”
2. Ask for a removal by Amazon
“If, for a number of reasons, you are unsuccessful in getting the poster to amend or delete their review, you can take the issue to Amazon themselves, if it does not comply with the site’s guidelines,” Gedey continues.
“This is not something that happens regularly - in fact Amazon only delete reviews in extreme cases where the posts have been deceitful or inappropriate. They will not delete a review simply because you think it is unfair, even is it is.
“The process itself is fairly straight forward. Go to the product details page of your product, click on the questionable review and click ‘report abuse’. In the pop-up window that will open, where you can outline the reason for your request.
“Another method is to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, citing the ASIN of your product, the date and time of the review, the username of the reviewer and a link to the review. Indicate in which way the user is violating the review guidelines to help your prospects of success.
“Among the violation of guidelines are: One person writing several negative reviews for the same product, spiteful remains, obscene or tasteless content, one word reviews, advertising rival products, and reviews from other companies that have a commercial interest in criticising your product either themselves or by commissioned third parties.
“What you shouldn’t do is start asking for any one-star review to be removed with no foundation. Simply reporting a host of one-star reviews without providing credible evidence that they are violating Amazon’s guidelines will actually have a negative effect on your account, lowering your internal reputation.”
3. Make your own public comment
“This won’t change the original review and therefore its impact on your average rating, but it can help to put their criticism into perspective,” Thompson and Holt’s Gedey explains.
“It also presents an opportunity to show potential future customers that you are prepared to solve issues that do arrive and ensure that any problems are not repeated.
“There are no barriers to adding your response to a review. To comment, you simply need to click on the review in question and click ‘add a comment while logged in. You need to make sure that users can clearly identify you as the seller, by using a clear signature.
“What this process allows you to do is give your opinion on a negative review, especially if you have unsuccessfully tried to have it removed. Given that some customers do start by looking at negative reviews, this is your chance to publicly put your case across and ensure potential buyers know that any mistakes that have been made will not be repeated, reinforcing the product’s image.
“It may be that you don’t feel like any mistakes have been made on your part, because the buyer has misread the product description, which can be hugely frustrating. In that case you should absolutely ask that they remove that review. But if they don’t, always remain polite and stick to the facts that work in your favour.
“If it is your business that has been in the wrong then start by apologising for any inconvenience, explain what you've done to solve the problem and make assurances that it won’t happen in the future.
“Public comments need to be carefully written. Don’t try and use customised or automated responses, they need to be tailored to the specific criticisms that have been made, and address the issues raised in those. Take your time, include important details and never be abusive.”
We see many Sellers who try to brush over poor reviews by buying reviews off the internet, there are many Facebook groups and WhatsApp groups which offer incentivised reviews, the incentives are often a combination of free products and cash. Amazon historically didn't seem to pick up on these reviews however recently there have been several thousands of sellers who have been suspended and lost all their reviews, Amazon class this suspension as 'Amazon Review Manipulation'. There are many ways to boost your reviews on Amazon without breaching Amazons ToS.