Nothing is more frustrating than trying to get your point across to a Seller Central representative and feeling like you are continually being misunderstood. When you’re already annoyed with the issue you’re needing to bring to Amazon for help and the answers you get from a Seller Central rep don’t seem to help, then that frustration is compounded.
In this episode, I’ll walk you through how to best communicate with the Seller Central reps in such a way that you get the results (and answers) you’re looking for. I’ll talk about my own experiences, as well as what Amazon employees themselves have taught us when it comes to how to best communicate with a seller rep.
Did you know there are some magic words that help you find your solutions much faster? I’ll share those magic words and more in today’s episode.
Listen on the podcast player below.
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Links and resources mentioned in this episode:
- FREE BOOK – Seller Central Tips: Reimbursements, Refunds, and How To Correct Other Possible Amazon Glitches
- How to open up an Amazon Seller Central support ticket (plus how to get phone support and how to get a stateside representative)
- The Magic Words for Communicating with Seller Central
More Episodes from Season One of The Full-Time FBA Show podcast:
- Season One Episodes (2019)
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Announcer: Welcome to the Full-Time FBA show in each episode. It’s our goal to help you turn part time hours into a full-time income, selling almost anything on Amazon. And now your hosts of the show, Steven and Rebecca Smotherman.
Stephen: Welcome everybody to episode 13 of the Full-Time FBA show podcast. This is Stephen Smotherman. I’m excited that you’re here with me as my wife, Rebecca Smotherman, and we are excited to talk about seller central. Even though it doesn’t sound very exciting we’ve got some tips to help you get the results that you are looking for when you are opening up a seller support ticket on Amazon.
Rebecca: We are really excited about this episode. Yeah, seller central sounds like kind of a boring topic, but it’s a topic that gets brought up a lot, especially in our Facebook group. There’s a lot of questions that come up about how do I handle this situation with seller central, or I opened up a ticket about this and how do I respond, and different questions along those lines. We think that this is going to be an exciting, interesting, helpful episode where hopefully we can teach you some things about getting the right kind of communication going and getting the answers that you need for the problems that you might be having with your Amazon FBA business that involves seller central.
Rebecca: And one of the things that we want to talk about are the magic words to use when you’re communicating with seller central. And magic words is a little bit of a misnomer, it’s more like magic phrases, and so we’ll get into that and a lot more. And be sure to listen all the way to the end of the episode because we’ll have a link that you’re going to be sure to want to follow.
Stephen: Oh yeah, we’ve got something free we’re giving away and you have to wait til the end to get it. So all right, let’s get into talking about seller central and getting the results that you need.
Rebecca: Okay. Stephen, before we even get into how’s your reach out to Amazon, open up a ticket and the things that you want to be sure to communicate with seller central rep, are there things that we should be doing ahead of time before you even get to that point of contacting seller central?
Stephen: Absolutely. Sometimes when we open up a seller support ticket, we can kind of jump the gun and actually slow down the process because we’re kind of making some mistakes up front. And so one of the things that you can do to expedite the solution that you’re looking for is to research solutions on Amazon seller central. And so you can search Google, you can search on Amazon, in their search bar, and try to see if you can find the solutions yourself. The solution might just be written in seller central. If you find a solution in seller forums, just be sure they link to an Amazon policy because there’s a lot of outdated stuff and even some wrong information on Amazon seller forums. And be sure the pages are recent in what you’re looking into.
Rebecca: Yeah, and that’s something that in our own Facebook group, for the Full-Time FBA Facebook group, that we are pretty insistent on when people are giving out information that, hey, where are you getting that information from? Can you share a link? And so we try to be real stringent about that in our group. Part of that is to train other people to always be asking that question, hey are you just saying that or is that a rumor that you heard? Or did you actually see that in the guidelines?
Stephen: Right. And so making sure that you are going straight to the source is crucial when deciding on what you need to do to solve your problem.
Stephen: Another thing you can do is to look on Amazon’s help page. And when you click help to start opening that seller support ticket, Amazon gives you the most frequently asked questions that people ask when they’re trying to find a solution and your solution might be right there. And sometimes when you’re going to click help on seller central, you might need to click it twice. Sometimes there’s a little glitch and it takes you to the wrong page. But if you click help a second time, it’ll take you to that page. And then toward the bottom of that page there’s a little tell us how we can help, where you can even type in words and key phrases of the issue that you’re dealing with to Amazon will do a search to find that. But if you aren’t finding your solution that way, then it’s time to open up a seller support ticket.
Rebecca: Okay, so let’s say that we’ve been through all of the upfront research, we’ve flipped through the Amazon guidelines, searched seller support in the search bar, we’ve possibly even asked for help in a group and looked at any other guidelines that they put forward for us to look at, and we still need help. There’s a problem that we can’t solve by just reading up on it. How do you even go about opening up a ticket?
Stephen: Well, I’m going to walk you through it, but you can just know for future reference, if you ever go to fulltimefba.com/openaticket, then you’ll see a video walk through of me opening up a ticket and you can follow that to know how to do it.
Stephen: But if you log into seller central and you click on the help button, then you can click on the need more help contact us link, and then it says, what service can I help you with? And you can start to narrow down to find the solution that you’re looking for, whether it’s a question about FBA warehouse, or whether it’s about a particular product, whether it’s an advertising question, whether it’s an account question, it whittles it down to the actual problem that you are trying to solve. And by doing that, you’re going to be connected with a seller support representative who can best help you because they’ve been trained on those particular topics. And again, fulltimefba.com/openaticket to be able to see exactly how to do it.
Rebecca: Okay, so talk with us for a minute about we’re opening up our ticket and we know what we need to solve, what are the best ways to get the results that we’re looking for?
Stephen: One of the things to make sure that you do upfront is to make sure you have the information. You want to make sure that you have the ASIN of the particular item that you’re talking about, or you wanting to have the order number if there’s a problem with an order. You want to have that stuff up front because if you just open up a ticket and say my remote control convertible Corvette was damaged, can your reimburse me for it? That’s not going to get you any help. If you say my item ASIN number, and you fill in the ACSIN with warehouse damage can you please reimburse me for that ASIN that was damaged in Amazon warehouse? You’ll be able to find a lot better help that way.
Stephen: Another thing to make sure that you do is to keep emotion out. I know when we are dealing with a problem we can get pretty frustrated and when we’re communicating with Amazon seller central, sometimes that frustrations can get ramped up. But make sure you keep emotions out of it. You don’t want to say, “My remote controlled convertible Corvette was damaged in the FBA warehouse, I don’t know how items get damaged, but this warehouse worker. They need to get their act together and they need to be more careful with my inventory. Maybe they’re just playing with it and they broke it. Reimburse me.” That’s not going to help and that’s going the cloud the person who wants to help you.
Rebecca: Yeah, and we see this all the time, even in our Facebook group. Maybe people are not communicating with Amazon the way they are in the Facebook group, but we see people posting things like that. With tons of emotion wrapped up into either a return that they think shouldn’t have been granted, or an item that was damaged, or items that have been lost, and other shipment problems, and bad mouthing the Amazon warehouse workers, badmouthing seller central reps, is just not the way to go to get what you’re looking for. And it’s not, it’s not professional for one thing, and it’s also just not going to help people to want to help you.
Stephen: Right. So to be able to get the help that you’re looking for, number one, make sure you have the information. Number two, keep emotions out. Number three, keep it simple. I sometimes find myself and I’m opening up a sellar ticket, starting with a sentence and then closing with the exact same sentence thinking if I say this again it’s really going to drive the point home. No, that’s just causing more text for the Amazon seller support person to read. And how many times that you get a long message you just start reading it and then you scan through it? The seller support reps might be doing that as well. So just keep it simple.
Stephen: And then the tip number four is to use magic words. The magic words, and like Rebecca said earlier, they’re actually magic phrases, but the magic phrase here would be the customer experience. Use the word the customer experience if it is applicable and you can find a solution that you’re looking for. Amazon wants to be the most customer centric store on the planet. They know that the more trust that they earned, the more sales that they’re going to get. And seller central reps are trained to prioritize the customer experience over that. And so find a way to communicate to the seller rep that this problem is impacting customers’ experience in a negative way. So you don’t say something like, “Please help me change the title of this product so that I can get more sales. The current title is wrong and I can’t get my product on the first search result page.” That’s not working. More effective thing would say, “The current title is product is affecting the customer experience because customers cannot easily find it in the search using the correct title. Please change the title of the product to improve the customer experience.”.
Stephen: So these four ways are a great way, especially if you can focus on the customer experience to get the help you’re looking for.
Rebecca: So these are all really good suggestions, I think. And in a perfect world, these things would work every time and it would resolve our issues, we would get the help we need, we would get the solutions we’re looking for, but we all know that we don’t live in a perfect world. Amazon is not a perfect company. There are human beings on the other end of the phone line or the email that you just sent and so there’s going to be some, either miscommunication or there’s going to need to be some back and forth before you can resolve. You can’t just expect every time that you turn in a ticket and the person automatically understands everything perfectly and solves your problem for you in one fell swoop. And so what do you do?
Rebecca: What happens when you get a reply and it’s not what you were wanting? It’s either they didn’t understand you or they say, oh I can’t help you with that, but you know that they can. It’s a problem that there is a solution, they’re just not getting it. Or I know the big frustration that a lot of sellers have is when it seems pretty clear that you get a response that doesn’t address what you said and it seems just copy and paste of a canned response. That happens a lot and it’s really frustrating. The reason they have that is because they do get the same questions over and over again and a lot of the time that’s really all they need to do is send that canned response. But what do you do when you’re not looking for that canned response? You already know what they told you and you’re looking for another response, how do you handle that? What’s the next step?
Stephen: Well, it’s definitely frustrating, and the first step for me is to take a deep breath. I mean, seriously just trying to regulate myself and just calm down because it can be really frustrating and I can go into an emotional response that’s not going to be any helpful for anybody and it’s just going to waste everyone’s time. And so taking a deep breath and respond in a polite manner. Your mom was right, being polite is the way to go in this world. But just redirect them to the problem again and just state, I’m not sure if you understood this or not, but this is the problem and I’ve tried your solution, or the solution that you suggested, did not work the way it was supposed to. And just redirect them again. Sometimes this happens three or four times. And as always, use the magic word please because that does go a long way as well.
Stephen: Another magic word that you can use is take ownership. Magic phrase, you know what I mean. Take ownership. Amazon trains their employees, their seller representative employees, to take ownership of the problem. And that means to not just give you a quick reply, but to actually take ownership and find the solution that will help you solve that problem.
Rebecca: I’m thinking there’s one more magic phrase that we have been using that we were told to use by people who work for Amazon and it works, and what is this last phrase that we’ve used before? It’s a last ditch effort if everything else that you’ve tried hasn’t worked, what’s one more thing that you can try?
Stephen: If you ask your question and you get a canned reply and you’re apply again and redirect them and you’re still not getting the help that you want, and maybe you understand that they don’t understand the problem and that they’re not going to be able to help you with a solution if they don’t understand the problem. The next magic phrase that you can use is escalate the case. And what this does is you are communicating to the seller support rep that if they’re not able to help you, you would like to escalate the case to a supervisor. And when you ask this, the seller support rep transfer this case to a supervisor and the supervisor might be able to better help you, they might be able to understand the situation better, they might be able to communicate the solution better. And that phrase, when I finally realize that I’m not getting anywhere with the seller support rep, who honestly really is trying their best, I use that phrase, escalate the case, and then I get a chance to talk with a supervisor who can better help me find the solution that I’m looking for.
Rebecca: And I think that last part is really important about trying to reach out to a supervisor. And one thing that I was thinking as you were saying all that is, and I’m tempted to do this as well, we’ve seen people in the Facebook group talking about, well I opened up this ticket and I went back and forth and they couldn’t get me the solution I wanted so I just quit talking to that person, closed the case and opened up a new one and started over. It’s tempting to do that, to think this person’s obviously not understanding me, I want to talk to somebody else. Well, you’re starting from scratch at that point. It’s better to just keep working with the same case so that the paper trail is there and it’s all connected. And if you can escalate it so that somebody who has more knowledge and expertise on this area can see the back and forth and can read the history of the ground you’ve already covered, you’re much more likely to have a less frustrating experience than just starting from scratch and hoping that you get a person the second time around who knows what to do to help you.
Stephen: Yeah, that’s absolutely true. And that really does help you in the long run with that paper trail because the supervisor can take a look at that and already be able to help you. And so you have someone who’s better trained to help you, that can look back and see what went wrong before with the conversations in the past so that you can skip that part and then you’ll be able to find that solution much faster.
Rebecca: Okay. And then we’ve already kind of touched on this a little bit already, but what would you say in closing for this topic? What would you say is the most important thing that we need to remember when we are communicating with seller central reps, whether they’re state side folks or people who are … The job’s been outsourced overseas? Either way, what’s the most important thing that we should remember when we’re communicating?
Stephen: I think the most important thing is to remember that they are a human being and deserve respect just like you do. And a lot of times with this situation we can get really frustrated, and the more cases that we have to continually reply to and continue to go back and forth, that frustration begins to mount. But honestly these seller support reps are doing the best that they can. Yeah, there is bad apples every now and then just like with any company, but most of them are doing the best that they can. They’ve been trained and they’re encouraged by Amazon to make a quick solution because you want a quick solution, don’t you? And sometimes that’s where things break down and go wrong and miscommunications happened, and there’s cultural differences there too or there’s miscommunications, and that’s something that the person you’re talking to and yourself need to work through. And just know that this is a human who deserves your respect. So be kind, be patient.
Stephen: Imagine if you were working their job and having to handle 4,000 different potential issues and problems and trying to fix them all. They’re doing their best and they want to help you, and so it’s up to us to be on our best behavior as we’re interacting with them.
Stephen: So there you have it, some tips and tricks and strategies to be able to communicate better with seller central representatives who are trying to help you and finding ways to be able to get the help that you are looking for with the problem that you’re dealing with. Sorry that you’re dealing with a problem that you need help with from seller central, but taking the advice from this episode will help you get the results and the solutions that you are looking for.
Rebecca: Well, that wraps up today’s episode of the Full-Time FBA show and we’re so glad that you were here with us. I know that there were several different links that we mentioned throughout this episode, if you would like more information about the topic that we’ve been talking about and those links, be sure to go to fulltimefba.com/13, that’s the number 13, and that will take you to the show notes for this episode. And we’ll include links about the magic words we’ve been talking about, links to blog posts about how to open up a seller support ticket, how to get a seller up on the phone, how to get a state-side representative. Those are all different things that will be covered in the links in those show notes.
Rebecca: And we did say at the beginning of this episode, if you listen all the way to the end we’ve got another link you’re to want to follow, so why don’t you tell us about that, Stephen?
Stephen: Absolutely. We’ve got a free book that Rebecca and I have written together called Seller Central Tips, and it’s all about being able to fix a lot of the problems that you might encounter on Amazon and the book will walk you through how to do that best in seller central. And so if you go to fulltimefba.com/sellercentraltips, and we’ll put that on the show notes too, then you can be able to learn a lot of things with dealing with the reimbursements and fixing stranded inventory and all other sorts of problems that you’ll have that you’ll have to try to fix yourself in seller central.
Stephen: I mean, maybe you got an unfair reimbursement, “I actually had this item priced a lot higher and this is an unfair reimbursement”, we walk you through how to get a more fair reimbursement. Maybe you have items that the customer said, “Yeah, I returned that item” and you’re like, “No, this item never returned to my inventory and Amazon was supposed to reimburse me for this item,” we walk you through how to request a reimbursement for an item that the customer said they returned but never actually returned to Amazon. So much more fulltimefba.com/sellercentraltips to get this free book just for you because we love our listeners and we love you.
Rebecca: That’s so sweet. Okay. Well, on that note, we’ll see you next episode.
Stephen: On the next episode, we are going to be talking about how to have the best Q4 ever. Q4 is always really awesome because there are so many customers coming into Amazon. Q4 meaning the last three months of the year, October, November, and December, where October sales start to kick up a little bit, November sales start to really kick up and then December, oh my gosh, the first three weeks of December sales are crazy and it’s awesome. But the better you prepare, the higher sales you’re going to get, the more profits you’re going to get, the faster you’ll be able to reinvest that capital into more inventory that will help you make even more money. We’re going to talk about how to have the best Q4 ever, how to build up your Q4 snowball, and we’ll talk about what that means next week. So stay tuned for the next episode of the Full-Time FBA show.
Announcer: That’s all for this episode of the Full-Time FBA show. So head over to fulltimefba.com/podcast where you’ll find the show notes and links from this episode. While you’re there, subscribe to our newsletter where you’ll get several free downloads of our popular and helpful Amazon FBA resources.
Announcer: Now, take action on what you’ve learned today so you can find success in turning part-time hours into a full-time income with Amazon FBA.