Last week, for the first time ever, Amazon sellers were finally given an option to respond directly to customers who leave critical reviews (a rating of 1-3 stars). Amazon has historically been against sellers contacting customers who write negative reviews. Their stance being that if this were an option, sellers could manipulate reviews by incentivizing customers with free products or refunds. This stance has resulted in a lot of frustration for sellers who are simply looking to improve the impression that customers have of their business and make things right before being slammed by a negative review. Reviews, after all, can make or break you on Amazon.
This option isn't available to all sellers, however. You must be enrolled in Amazon's Brand Registry program to be eligible. The ability to contact customers comes along with Amazon's 'Manage Your Customer Engagement' tool which was introduced to all sellers enrolled in the Brand Registry program as of February 2021. That tool allows sellers to send marketing emails to customers who currently "follow" them on Amazon.
How it works
You can find your reviews by going to your Brands Menu in Seller Central and selecting "Customer Reviews". You should see a "Contact Buyer" button next to the review. If you see "View Brand Catalog Manager" instead, that means Amazon does not think you are the seller for that order. If you believe this is incorrect, you'll need to open a ticket with Amazon to rectify it.
Once you click "Contact Buyer", you'll be presented with two message options: Courtesy refund or Customer review. Here is what the message templates look like that are sent to customers:
Courtesy Refund - Offer a full courtesy refund or replacement item.
Customer Review - Check with your buyer to clarify any product issues based on their review.
Sellers should know that not just any message can be sent to a dissatisfied buyer. Amazon has provided these two templated messages and the content cannot be altered. Customer privacy is still in play as all communications are done through Amazon's messaging system, so customers' email addresses remain hidden from sellers.
However, Amazon is also no longer withholding the Order ID connected to bad reviews. Previously, the only way to uncover the Order ID was by using back-door hacks to circumvent the system. At least now sellers know which order the review is connected to.
Making things right for both customers and sellers
It seems like Amazon has finally recognized that sellers should have the opportunity to make things right. After all, other kinds of businesses, or businesses operating on websites outside of Amazon, have employed refunds and exchanges as a way to resolve issues and complaints since nearly the inception of modern commerce. Are you excited to see this feature finally implemented on Amazon? Have you used it yet? Did it result in a revised review? Let us know! Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call: (303) 536-5505.