Having a good customer feedback score is a vital part of FBA success on Amazon. Higher scores increase your ability to win the buy box, help you earn customer trust, and even ensure higher levels of protection for your seller account. While it is not too hard to get positive feedback if you provide excellent products and service, you have to ensure that you always stay within the Amazon guidelines regarding customer responses.
In this episode, we’ll clarify for you how Amazon’s seller feedback works. We also share with you how to improve your feedback score while staying within the parameters set out by Amazon. The most important thing is to always be proactive either in ensuring the customer has the best experience possible or finding ways to turn negative customer experiences into positive ones.
Listen on the podcast player below.
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Key points from episode 20:
- The importance of staying within the Amazon rules and what happens if you don’t.
- Three main reasons why having a good feedback score is so vital for your seller account.
- Find out two ways you can get customers to leave reviews on your seller account.
- The different ways to avoid negative feedback and how to tackle it if it does happen.
- How to go ‘above and beyond’ to fix a customer’s negative experience.
- Why being proactive will help reduce the likelihood of negative feedback.
- The benefits of using automated feedback tracking like Feedback Genius.
- Learn about some of the recent changes in Amazon’s feedback guidelines.
- And much more!
Links and resources mentioned in this episode:
- How to Win the Amazon Buy Box for Maximum Sales
- Feedback Genius
- Can Amazon Remove Buyer Feedback?
- Latest Amazon Communication Guidelines
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Episode 20 Transcript:
[00:00:01] 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. Now, your hosts of the show, Stephen and Rebecca Smotherman.
[00:00:21] STEPHEN: Welcome to episode number 20 of the Full-time FBA Show. I’m happy that you’re here, listening to this podcast. We’re going to talk about how to increase your Amazon seller feedback score while still remaining in Amazon’s rules. Not going outside their guidelines, yet increasing your feedback score, because it’s important.
With me to talk about this today is my wife, my best friend, my co-host, Rebecca. How are you doing?
[00:00:46] REBECCA: Hi. I’m doing good. I am excited about this topic today because I am a rule follower, and so I am very happy to know that we will be talking about ways to stay within Amazon’s guidelines and follow their rules. It’s important to me that when people are selling on Amazon and doing activities related to selling on Amazon that they know what the rules are and make sure they’re following them.
[00:01:11] STEPHEN: Yeah, and there’s a few people out there who like to see if how far they can bend the rules. But, man, we do not recommend that all, because Amazon can shut your seller account down in an instant, and it could be almost impossible to get back. Want to stay within the rules to help you succeed, and we’re going to talk about that today.
[00:01:29] REBECCA: That’s one of the most important things to keep in mind if you’re trying to turn part-time hours into full-time income is that if you bend the rules, you’re not going to have that opportunity to make a full-time income for very long.
[00:01:41] STEPHEN: Yup. In years past, I’ve been selling on Amazon for – How long has it been? Almost a decade?
[00:01:46] REBECCA: Almost 10 years.
[00:01:47] STEPHEN: Yeah. In the early days, it was pretty easy to keep a 100% feedback score. It’s pretty easy to delete some of the negative feedbacks that were out there. That got close to breaking Amazon’s feedback rules. But today, man, it’s nearly impossible to create a 100% feedback score.
[00:02:06] REBECCA: Can I just pause for a second there and ask you? When you say delete those feedbacks, can you clarify? Where you going in and deleting feedback from your seller feedback score? How does that work?
[00:02:18] STEPHEN: Well, I think if I went in and deleted it, that would be breaking the rules. So, no, you’re right.
[00:02:21] REBECCA: It would be impossible. You couldn’t do that, could you?
[00:02:22] STEPHEN: You got that too.
[00:02:24] REBECCA: That’s not what you mean, right?
[00:02:25] STEPHEN: No. I’m not just deleting it. I mean asking Amazon to remove it or asking the customer if they could remove their feedback score or change their feedback score if it happened to be not so good. And in the early days, it was a lot easier to do that. But nowadays, it’s a lot harder, so we’re going to help you kind of overcome that and help you get increased feedback score, even though it’s a little harder to not delete, I used the wrong word. I want us to help improve your feedback score and possibly eliminate the possibility of the negative feedback scores that are going to come your way. We’ll talk about that in this episode.
Before we jump into this topic, I wanted to tell you a story that actually relates to this topic. Years ago, Rebecca and I were out doing some thrifting. We were driving around, going to a bunch of different thrift stores, finding inventory to sell on Amazon. It got to be toward lunch time, so we went to a favorite Mexican restaurant of ours.
As we were ordering, I actually got a text on my phone saying that I had received a negative feedback score and I was like, “Oh,” just frustrated with that. I asked Rebecca real quickly, “Can I deal with this really quick? I’ll just take care of it real quick, and then we can get back to lunch.”
[00:03:38] REBECCA: He asked me that because we both like to not be on our devices when we’re eating a meal or whatever, and so he explained that this is kind of important. This is work-related. It’s not just me texting.
[00:03:50] STEPHEN: I looked down at my text and I saw I had received a negative feedback for an Amazon order. I took just about two minutes out of my time, dealt with that. By the time lunch was over, that feedback that was negative was removed. It was gone. My feedback score went back up to where it was before. At the end of today’s episode, I’ll tell you exactly how that was possible and how easy it was to get taken care of.
[00:04:12] REBECCA: Okay. With that story as our prelude, we want to spend the rest of this podcast episode talking about the ways that you can work to increase your Amazon seller feedback. Before we get into all of the details of that though, Stephen, can you tell us a little bit more about why it is important to have a good seller feedback score? Why does that even make a difference?
[00:04:37] STEPHEN: Yeah. There’s three main reasons that I can think of of why it’s a good reason to try to have the best feedback score possible. The biggest one is that it’s going to increase your sales. A higher feedback score helps you win the buy box more often, and the better metrics that you have as an Amazon seller will help you win the buy box. If you don’t know what the buy box is, it’s that little box in the corner of an Amazon product page where it says, “Buy it now.” You can add it to your cart or you can buy it now.
But over 80% of sales on Amazon come from that buy box. If you’re curious more about the buy box, you can actually go back to episode one, fulltimefba.com/1, and we have an entire episode about the buy box. We even have a blog post about it too. If you go to fulltimefba.com/winthebuybox, you can learn more about that. But, man, positive feedback score will help you get more time in the buy box, and that leads to more sales.
The second thing that is a good reason to have a higher feedback score is it helps you earn a customer trust. During the times where a buy box is suppressed or maybe people don’t want to see the buy box, they want to look at all the Amazon offers, the customer will look at the feedback scores of all the different people selling their items. If your price is the same or similar to someone else but you have a better feedback score, that customer is going to trust you more to deliver a good product. So the higher feedback score that you have, the more sales you’ll get again.
Then finally, the higher feedback score just helps you protect your Amazon seller account. If you continue to get complaints from customers, negative feedbacks are going to hurt your customer metrics, and you might end up getting a suspension from Amazon because you’re not following their high standards, and customers are upset, and Amazon doesn’t like that. So they might suspend your account because of a lower feedback score.
[00:06:20] REBECCA: Okay. That’s all good foundational information about seller feedback. Can you also talk to us a little bit about how Amazon sets up that seller feedback score? What does that look like as a seller when you’re looking at how that’s set up?
[00:06:34] STEPHEN: Well, Amazon rates feedbacks from one to five, one and two being a negative feedback, not very good at all. Amazon says number three is neutral feedback, and fours and five are positive feedback. When you get a feedback, you want to make sure it’s always four or five. Amazon says that three is neutral, but it still acts negatively to your feedback score. So always focus on trying to get those fours and fives for feedback.
[00:07:02] REBECCA: Yeah. I think that’s hard, especially when we’re getting into selling. It seems counterintuitive that something that’s neutral would actually be counted as negative, because neutral just seems neutral and like that can’t be negative. By definition, neutral is not negative. But when it comes to your Amazon seller feedback score, you really only want positives, fours and fives.
All right. Another thing that we want to take note of is if you’ve been selling for any amount of time, I’m sure you’ve noticed that most Amazon customers don’t typically leave feedback for the sellers that they’re buying from. That’s just not something that they automatically do without having some type of prompting to do it. How can we as Amazon sellers get our customers to follow through and leave feedback, and not just feedback but positive feedback?
[00:07:55] STEPHEN: There’s two ways to get that done. The first way is manually. If you actually log into your orders and open up your order and if the item has actually been delivered, then there’s an opportunity to contact your customer directly. You just open up your order, click on the customer’s name, and it’ll open up a menu where you can choose the reason why you are contacting your customer, and you can just send them a quick message asking for that feedback.
But there’s also an automatic way that you can do that, and we use a tool called Feedback Genius. Feedback Genius is part of Seller Labs, and they created this service to automatically send your customers an email, and you can set up when you want the customer to receive it. Personally, I have the customer receive that automatic email from Feedback Genius the day after they receive it. Feedback Genius actually goes in and sees when the customer is going to receive the item. They can connect with your Amazon seller account and see when that item was delivered and sends them a message automatically asking them for feedback.
When you’re contacting your customer, then the message that Feedback Genius sends that you can adjust and adapt to how you want to send it. It is very important for you to do that to adjust it, to make sure that it’s following Amazon’s terms of services.
But you can say, “Hey! I had noticed that your item was received yesterday and I just want to make sure that everything went okay. If there is an issue with this order, please send me a message and I’ll do what I can to fix it. If you have a moment, we’d love to have honest feedback about this transaction, and here’s where you can go to leave that feedback.” I tell them where to find that in their Amazon account.
You can do it manually one by one, which is good for if you’re just starting. But after you get a consistent amount of sales coming in each month, you might want to consider using Feedback Genius from Seller Labs to be able to do it automatically for you.
[00:09:43] REBECCA: Feedback Genius is a third-party program that can sync up with your Amazon seller account. It will automatically send emails to your customers at they are receiving the items that they’ve ordered from you.
[00:09:59] STEPHEN: That’s correct.
[00:10:00] REBECCA: Okay. Just wanted to like summarize that one more time and kind of try to distill it down to what it actually is doing. Okay. That’s one way that you can be just generating more feedback in general and hopefully generating more positive feedback, because you are reaching out to customers, asking if they’ve had a problem and then asking them to contact you for help and then also requesting that feedback.
But what do you do if you do get negative or neutral feedback? How do you avoid getting that negative and neutral feedback? I mean, I know it’s bound to happen at some point, because we’re all humans. Mistakes happen. Customers can get cranky, all sorts of different reasons why you might be getting negative or neutral. But how can you avoid it? In general, you’re trying to avoid it. How do you do that?
[00:10:48] STEPHEN: There’s two ways and two opportunities for you to avoid that negative feedback. The first is proactively. I mean, first just creating a great customer experience when you are grading your item correctly and making sure that new items are actually new, not just not used. Having items that are in the right kind of condition, following Amazon’s guidelines throughout that is a good way to make sure that you get some good feedback and avoid that negative feedback
But then also, if you happen to get negative feedback because you’re right, sometimes things go wrong and you can have an opportunity to go above and beyond to make things right. You always want to do what you can to make sure the customer is satisfied with their buying experience. But go above and beyond, and you can be able to fix a lot of these negative feedbacks that come your way.
[00:11:33] REBECCA: Elaborate on that, like go above and beyond. What does that even mean in this context?
[00:11:38] STEPHEN: Well, sometimes, the bad experience that a customer has, it’s your fault. So communicating and owning up to that problem is a big deal, and it goes a long way, and so you can communicate with the customer that you want to do whatever you can to make things right, whether it’s offering a refund for the item, whether it’s going above and beyond and offering a refund and you allow the customer to keep that item.
The average seller, they just accept the negative feedback and maybe move on with their life. The above average seller, they’ll offer the customer a refund as long as they return it. But going above and beyond and saying, “You know what? I just want to make things as easy on you as possible. Just keep the item. I’ll issue a refund for you. You don’t need to send the item back that you had the problem with,” and make it as easy on them as possible, then that’s going above and beyond and trying to give the best customer service possible, making the customer the priority no matter the cost, really, of even the item.
Sometimes, you’re just so focused on making sure you make money that like, “Well, I want to get the item back, so I can resell it to somebody else.” Your customer metrics are more important than that little sale right there. Even if it’s a high-cost item, I would try to go above and beyond most of the times to make the customer as happy as possible.
One of the reasons why we do that is because after the customer becomes happy, you can suggest that the customer update their feedback. You can’t say, “I want you to change it to a positive feedback.” You can’t say, “Hey! I did all this for you, so could you give me a positive feedback?”
But if you can tell that the customer is satisfied, then you can say, “If you have a moment, I would appreciate you reconsidering your feedback score, and here’s how you can do that.” That will help you eliminate that negative, and it might even turn into a positive.
[00:13:19] REBECCA: Okay. That’s a really good way to work through making sure that the customer is happy, making sure that they’ve had a good experience, because if you’ve been selling on Amazon for any amount of time, you probably know that Amazon has customer experience as their number one priority. They want to make sure customers are having a great experience and that includes with their third-party sellers.
But sometimes, you still just have that negative or neutral feedback that you really – There’s nothing else that you can do to make that customer happy, and that feedback is just there on your account, like staring at you in the face every time you look at your seller metrics. It’s just – We’ve had some of those in the past where it’s like, “Ah! What are we going to do? It’s just there, and there’s nothing we can do about it?” Is that true? Is there nothing we can do about it?
[00:14:07] STEPHEN: Well, there is a few other things that you could be doing, but the most important one is if the feedback that the customer leaves you is in violation of Amazon’s feedback guidelines, then you can ask Amazon to remove that. If you’re curious what the feedback guidelines, if you go to fulltimefba.com/feedbackremoval, you will see what the reasons are when Amazon will strike through that feedback or will remove it completely. That’s another option that you have in this process.
But the big thing is to always be proactive; messaging the buyer to make sure the order went well. If you get negative feedback, then you need to focus on trying to make the buyer as happy as possible, and that’s why we recommend using Feedback Genius with the opportunity to email the customer the day after it arrives or whenever you decide. You can have it email the customer the moment it arrives and asking them if there’s a problem, “Hey! Reach out to me. I want to fix it.” That’s going to reduce your negative feedback, because you’re trying to fix the problem before they had a chance to even go leave that feedback.
Let them know that they have an opportunity to write the transaction and that it would mean a lot to you for them to honestly write that transaction and letting them know where they can go to leave that feedback. This actually leads me to another feature of Feedback Genius that I really enjoy is that Feedback Genius, if you get a negative or neutral feedback, will text you.
Earlier in our episode, we talked about us sitting down for lunch, and I got a text that I got a negative feedback score. Well, it wasn’t just a friend texting me. It wasn’t a VA texting me.
[00:15:39] REBECCA: It definitely was not Amazon texting you.
[00:15:41] STEPHEN: Yes. It definitely –
[00:15:43] REBECCA: Amazon does not let you know really easily when you get these feedback scores.
[00:15:48] STEPHEN: But Feedback Genius does, and it’s pretty soon. I mean, I would say that most of the time when I get a negative feedback score, within 10 to 15 minutes, Feedback Genius is emailing me and texting me to be able to see that I got that feedback score.
When I was at lunch with my wife and ordering my Mexican food, I saw that I had a feedback score, and it was a one, and the customer said, “This item was shipped in a padded envelope instead of a box, and it got crushed during shipment.” Well, that was not feedback that was for me. That was not my fault. I sell my products via FBA and I have Amazon fulfill those orders for me, so they chose the padded envelope instead of the box.
Very quickly, I opened up a case in Seller Central and asked for that feedback to be removed. By the time we were done eating and paying the bill, that feedback had been removed, because it was not my fault. I could’ve done that on my own when I realized that you a day or two later when I checked my feedback score. But I was –
[00:16:47] REBECCA: If even then.
[00:16:48] STEPHEN: Right. If even then, because how often do you actually go back and check your feedback scores? But I was able to immediately get that taken care of. The entire time when you’re not responding to negative feedback that could be removed, well, that’s just dinging and lowering your customer service metrics, which will give you less time in the buy box, which means less profits. Time is of the essence. Having Feedback Genius text me this and me taking care of it so quickly was just a big game changer and really helped us continue to gain the buy box and get more sales.
[00:17:19] REBECCA: Yup. That’s great because anything that you can take off of your mental list of things or even a physical list, maybe you have a to-do list of things that you want to check on every day. Check on your sales. Check on emails from customers. Check on your feedback score. If you can take that off of your list that you don’t have to be doing that all the time, that you will get a notification if there’s something that you need to take care of, that is just one more way that you can forget mental energy to be focusing on other more important things.
[00:17:50] STEPHEN: Yup. I’ve got a bunch of links for you that we’ll put in the show notes. If you go to fulltimefba.com/20, we’ll put all these links in. I’ll include links to Amazon’s feedback removal guidelines. Any type of feedback updates that Amazon comes out with, I’ll include links to that and links to Feedback Genius and Seller Labs. If I do happen to have a coupon code at the time, I’ll be sure to put that coupon code in the show notes too. fultimefba.com/20 for all the links of everything we’ve talked about today.
[00:18:18] REBECCA: Along those lines, we’ll have a link that will take you to whatever the latest guidelines are, because over time Amazon does change their guidelines for pretty much everything related to Amazon selling. But the guidelines for communicating with customers have changed over the years. You’ve been selling for almost 10 years. Things are very different now compared to what they were before.
In the past, you could email customers multiple times. Now, one of the latest changes that’s happened in recent months is that Amazon’s only allowing you to send one mail to your customer. What are some other changes? Update us on what the latest changes are so that people know for sure these are things you need to pay attention to that Amazon really cares about.
[00:19:02] STEPHEN: Right. I think I’ll just take here the first change a little bit further that Amazon sellers are only allowed to initiate one email. Once a customer responds, you can send the message and reply back to the customer, but you can’t just continually send an email over and over again until the customer responds. You’re allowed one email when it comes to initiating that conversation. But once the customer contacts you back, then you can have that conversation. That’s one thing to make sure that you use that one email really wisely.
Another thing that’s changed is that you cannot ask your customer for a positive review. You can only ask for feedback, in general. You can’t imply anything. You can’t say, “Hey! If you had a positive experience, then come leave us a review.” No, you can’t say that. In the past, you possibly could be able to get away with that. But Amazon’s made it very clear in their terms of services that you cannot try to imply anything or lead the customer toward one way or not.
Then finally, a big change is that you cannot include links in your email anymore, including a link back to Amazon where it says how to leave feedback.
[00:20:04] REBECCA: Like click here to leave feedback.
[00:20:05] STEPHEN: Right.
[00:20:05] REBECCA: You can’t have a hyperlink where the – Here is the hyperlink or whatever.
[00:20:09] STEPHEN: That’s correct. You have to basically walk your customer through the process. To leave feedback, go to Amazon.com and click on orders and then click on this and then click on that. That is allowed, but any hyperlinks are not allowed anymore.
[00:20:23] REBECCA: To anything.
[00:20:24] STEPHEN: To anything in their customer communication emails.
[00:20:27] REBECCA: Okay. All right. Those are the latest changes that we know about. If you check out the show notes and we’ll have it listed there. fulltimefba.com/communicationguidelines will take you to the latest. Even if it gets updated from the time this episode goes live, that link will always point you to whatever the latest guidelines are. What we’re saying today is what the rules are today. But you always want to go back to the source. Go back to the Seller Central documents that tell you what the guidelines are, and that’s what you’ll find at that link.
[00:21:04] STEPHEN: All right. Well, this was a really great episode. In our next episode, we’re going to be talking about the top eight things you need to know about Amazon Sales Rank. I think that Sales Rank on Amazon as a seller, it’s one of the most confusing things, and we’re going to bring some clarity to you next week’s episode.
[00:21:21] REBECCA: All right. We really appreciate you listening. We are so glad that each of you is here and that you are part of the community at Full-time FBA. One of the things that really is important us is making sure that we know how we’re doing as a podcast. We’ve been talking about feedback your Amazon seller feedback, and we also really care about our feedback on this podcast.
If you could please rate or review this podcast wherever you are listening, whatever app or service you’re using to listen. If you could go in and give us some feedback, leave us a score, tell us what you think and if you’re liking the – I’ll just go ahead and say. I will request positive feedback for our podcast.
[00:22:05] STEPHEN: I think it’s allowed.
[00:22:06] REBECCA: Hey! I mean, we’ll take whatever we can get. We also want to know if you have any suggestions. But we love to get positive feedback. If you leave feedback, it does help more people to be able to find us and to get help with their Amazon FBA business through this podcast, Please do us a favor and leave us a score.
[00:22:23] STEPHEN: That’s it for today. Thanks again for hanging out with us, and we look forward to seeing you in the next episode of the Full-time FBA Show
[END OF EPISODE]
[00:22:32] ANNOUNCER: That’s all for this episode of the Full-time FBA Show, so head over to fulltimefba.com/podcast where you will 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. Now, take action on what you’ve learned today, so you can find success at turning part-time hours into a full-time income with Amazon FBA.