Customer reviews are extremely influential when it comes to a customer’s decision to purchase your product, after all it can either eliminate any doubt they may have and convince them to buy, or can put them off completing the sale and at worse, tarnish your brand’s reputation.
While as an online seller it is in your best interest to get positive reviews, regardless of whether you’re selling on Amazon, eBay or any other marketplace, unfortunately negative reviews do happen, even to the best of us.
There is, however, an ongoing debate as to whether sellers should or should not respond to negative feedback, with some arguing that failing to respond may be construed that the seller doesn’t care about their customers, while responding can make the feedback stand out even more.
For many marketplaces, including the likes of eBay and Amazon, negative reviews are a significant cause for concern for merchants, for the simple reason that bad feedback on these sites can influence your overall performance as a seller.
So, how are sellers supposed to handle negative feedback on eBay and Amazon?
In our opinion, ignoring a negative review on eBay or Amazon speaks volumes, and will have worse implications than the risk of generating more attention from responding.
Instead, what you should be questioning is how to respond to the different types of negative reviews. Specifically, there will be negative feedback that you accept and agree with and feedback that you think is unjustified or just plain wrong.
How to handle justified negative reviews
Unfortunately, mistakes can be made, for instance a product could be damaged or the customer may have been sent the wrong size or colour of an item, or worse the wrong item altogether.
In this instance, it will need to be resolved quickly and appropriately.
You should be professional at all times, apologising for the inconvenience and negotiating a reasonable settlement, whether that be an exchange for the product or a full refund.
If negative reviews reveal a consistent trend, such as an incorrect order being received, then you may want to review your internal processes. You business might benefit from an investment into a robust and reliable inventory management system to remove the risk of human error.
How to respond to negative feedback that isn’t justified
At some point in your selling career, it is likely that you will receive negative feedback that you don’t agree with. How to best respond to these points of criticism when they aren’t justified, however, isn’t always the easiest of tasks.
An example of an unjustified review could be a complaint about the product itself, or its’ colour, material or size, despite the details being accurately conveyed in the images and product description.
If this happens, and especially if the review is overly harsh, we would recommend that you leave it 24 hours to calm down. This will enable you to assess the situation with a clear mind and ensure that you’re not responding with something that will make the situation even worse, and have negative implications on your reputation.
While you may feel that you are completely justified in your response, other potential customers may not be aware of all of the details and it will therefore be detrimental to your customer service.
By responding in a calm and professional manner, and explaining that you had provided accurate details about the item within the product listing, you may be able to get the original review removed or edited.
In addition, regardless of the situation, you should never be rude or dismissive. If you find the customer is being abusive or threatening, you should contact the marketplace for help with the problem, as these reviews may be removed or the user may get banned from the site.
There are some situations where sellers on eBay and Amazon can request either feedback removal from eBay or feedback revisions from customers.
How to remove negative feedback on eBay
eBay will only remove negative feedback in situations where they believe it breaches their policies.
This could be anything from a comment that includes profane, vulgar, obscene or racist language, a review that references a separate transaction or a comment that uses political, religious or social commentary, rather than a genuine comment about the purchase.
Below is a full table of their guidelines.
Additionally, if the buyer leaves negative feedback, but failed to respond to a reminder about an unpaid item, then it can be removed by eBay.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that as an eBay seller you can request feedback revisions from buyers. Specifically, you can submit five revisions for every 1,000 feedback comments you receive in the past 12 consecutive months.
This number increases if you are a high volume seller with more than 1,000 yearly reviews.
How to remove negative feedback on Amazon
Negative reviews can have a detrimental effect on your chances of winning the Amazon Buy Box, and if you feel that the feedback you have received is unjustified, there are ways you can go about getting it removed.
It goes against Amazon’s feedback policy for a customer to leave seller feedback that is related to a specific product review or price. These types of reviews must be left as a product review, not a seller review. In this instance, you should open up a ticket with Amazon Seller Support and as them to remove it as it breaches their policy. It’s important that in this communication you are clear and concise, as long drawn-out messages are less likely to be taken seriously.