Your relationship with your customers if you sell on Amazon is indirect; technically, they ‘belong’ to Amazon, not to you. But that doesn’t mean you can pass the buck. You are responsible for your customers having a great experience.
Providing great service is also an opportunity for you to differentiate yourself from the competition. Imagine you have two diners in your town; one has great food, but the other one, all your friends say they’re greeted with a smile and get given ‘their’ table every time, as well as which, the food is great too. Which would you go to?
Sometimes the difference between great and so-so service is just letting people know that you’re there. If you ship fragile products, simply put a note in the box saying “If your purchase arrives broken let us know and we’ll send a new one right away, at no cost to you.”
This will sometimes cost you a few bucks. But more often, you have a customer who has just unboxed a product they’re happy with, and they get an extra sense of well-being from knowing that if anything had gone wrong, you’d be there for them.
Sometimes the difference comes down to speed. Amazon says you ought to reply to customer queries within 24 hours, but if you put the seller app on your phone, you can get that down to less than an hour. Imagine, someone rings on Christmas Eve with a problem about a purchase for their child, and you sort it out before Santa needs to have the gift under the tree. You’re a hero! (And yes, this has actually happened. The Amazon seller realized the toy wasn’t working because the buyer hadn’t pulled out the plastic insert over the batteries. Problem sorted in five minutes flat.)
And always be willing to go the extra mile when it’s really important. If a package has got lost in the mail and it’s for a wedding anniversary or a child’s birthday present, offer a replacement and free shipping, or whatever else you can to put it right.
When you see negative feedback, pay attention. Your emotions may not want you to confront it, but in fact, bad reviews can be very useful in pinpointing product or service weaknesses, or pain points that you can address.
For instance, if there’s a regular complaint that getting the product set up in the first place was difficult, you ought to think about including instructions on your product listing as well as in a package insert.
Or you might see that buyers have bought your product for the wrong purpose, or thought it was something different from what they were getting. That again comes down to your product listing. Are customers getting the wrong impression? Have they ordered the wrong size because you didn’t include a sizing guide? Great customer service starts with ensuring your customers know what they are buying, and have the appropriate expectations.
Finally, even if a customer is getting slightly annoying, try to empathize. Remember when you had an issue with the wrong color outfit being delivered, or a smartphone that stopped working after three days. A little sympathy goes a long, long way. Owning the problem goes even further. And resolving the problem completely will get you a great review.
Finally, there is one special case when you really can pass the buck to Amazon. If it’s Amazon FBA that was the cause of negative feedback, for instance, if Amazon sent the wrong product or if the product got damaged in the delivery process, you can ask for the review to be removed. Of course, you’re still responsible for that customer’s total experience, so try to build bridges by seeing what you can do to solve the problem.