Last Update: November 2022
Did you know it costs five times more to get a customer than it does to keep one? Yet we often spend so much time and effort on marketing campaigns to attract new customers, we forget to take better care of the customers we already have. If you’re worried about costs and margins heading into the busy holiday shopping season, quality customer service on Amazon should be priority number one.
The following tips from our webinar with SellerSmile will show you what customer service mistakes commonly made selling on Amazon, what you can do to course correct, how you can maximize your brand reputation, and how you can offer ongoing customer support for years to come.
9 Bad Amazon Customer Service Practices You Might be Doing (and What to Do Instead)
In the e-book, 100+ Tips for Mastering Amazon Marketing, we discuss the buyer’s journey through the sales funnel from awareness to consideration to decision to purchase. Once a customer has made a purchase, their journey with your brand ends, right? Wrong! The sale is only the beginning of a new journey to them becoming a repeat, loyal customer.
As we discussed in the blog post, How to Use E-Commerce Returns to Drive Growth, you can use customer feedback to strengthen your sales funnel strategies. A customer contacting customer service on Amazon is a valuable opportunity to collect feedback and improve brand reputation. Yet customer service on Amazon only works if you know how to do it properly. Here are 9 of the most common customer customer service mistakes and how to fix them.
#1 – Slow Seller Response Time
The first common mistake we see sellers make is not responding to customers within the first 24 hours, positively or otherwise. Fast responses create trust by letting your customers know you are there for them and that you care. Immediate responses often also lead to more positive reviews/feedback. Waiting too long to respond has quite the opposite effect.
Recommendation: Check customer feedback twice per day and be sure to offer 24-hour support, including over the weekend.
#2 – Not Setting Accurate Expectations
The next big mistake is not setting the right expectations. This includes sparse or inaccurate product descriptions, misrepresentation of sizes or colors, poor return policies, and even unrealistic shipping dates, to name a few. Shoppers whose expectations do not match reality become understandably upset, so it’s critical to provide as much accurate information in each listing as possible, including accurate shipping times and return policies.
Recommendation: Be clear, provide lifestyle imagery to convey size, include specs in infographics, and if you have them, use videos. Videos help showcase your product in action. It’s also a great way to establish peace of mind with your buyers because it gives visual instructions.
#3 – Using Generic or Impersonal Language
When a customer is upset, don’t compound the issue by using obviously templated or detached language in your customer service communications. A customer came to you with an issue: this is your opportunity to save the relationship. Do it right, and you may win a repeat, loyal customer.
Recommendation: Know your customer’s name and be respectful in your email communications. Be aware that Amazon templates are not a one-size fits all. Be sure to check spelling, double check the name, and that you’re using the correct call to action.
#4 – Directing Shoppers to Off-Amazon Pages
Avoid directing people off Amazon, as this violates Amazon’s buyer-seller communication policies. If you direct shoppers off Amazon, you may lose communication privileges within Amazon.
Recommendation: If you do need to redirect customers to other content, you can invite them to reach out directly. Only do this if it’s necessary for a positive customer experience.
#5 – Not Managing Amazon Seller Reviews
Many sellers pay attention to product reviews, but too many don’t give the same attention to seller reviews. Actively monitoring and responding to seller reviews is just as important as managing product reviews because your seller rating directly impacts how likely you are to win the buy box.
Recommendation: Check seller feedback at least once per week and respond to any review that requires it. Sellers can petition Amazon to remove a seller review if it contains obscene language, personally identifiable information, is actually a product review, or is related to the delivery or customer service experience for an order that was fulfilled by Amazon.
#6 – Not Acting upon Customer Feedback
As we’ve already discussed, reviews are free data. Use them! Customer feedback gives valuable insight into what products get right, and perhaps more importantly, what they get wrong. Actioning this information should be a key ingredient in your product iteration and sales strategy. When you act upon customer feedback, it also makes your customers feel heard.
Recommendation: Meticulously read product reviews, seller reviews, the Questions & Answers section, buyer-seller messaging, and the Voice of the Customer dashboard to get product improvement suggestions. Read this blog post to learn strategies to get more Amazon reviews.
#7 – Not Using Amazon Tools for Customer Engagement
Amazon offers a wide variety of tools to help you succeed, and they’re free! Not using them is a huge mistake, yet many sellers are unaware of these programs or underutilize them. You can also use the Seller Forum to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and information affecting sellers.
Recommendation: Take full advantage of the Manage Your Customer Engagement tool, Buyer-Seller Messaging, the Request a Review program, and the Contact Customer tool for critical reviews (1-3 stars).
#8 – Not Having a Standardized Plan for Refunds
Returns are inevitable. When shoppers return a product, they’ll want a refund. This is another area where we often see room for improvement. Some sellers handle refunds on a case-by-case basis rather than having a standard and codified process. This can result in delays, confusion, and inconsistent customer experiences.
There may be times when a mistake is made and a product is lost, damaged, or late. It’s the seller’s responsibility to make the customer whole, but you don’t need to shoulder that burden alone.
Recommendations: If you make it hard for a customer to return your item, they are less likely to buy it again and may even leave negative feedback. Match Amazon’s generosity. Set a price threshold where you will not require returns in order to process a refund. When setting this price, consider how much margin would remain after paying restocking fees, and whether it’s worth a blow to your seller rating (% of returns is a factor for seller rating). If you do require a return before issuing a refund, prepaid returns offer the best customer experience.
Regarding reimbursements, we recommend communicating with your partners (3PLs, FedEx, USPS, UPS, etc.) and creating a process to file or submit claims when a customer case meets certain criteria. For example, asking for pictures of damage or defects. You should also organize your claims and update their statuses to show success rate and money won back.
#9 – Ignoring Customer Experience from Outside Channels
Even if you only sell on Amazon, you need to assume that your products will end up elsewhere, such as eBay. Have a plan to handle customers from every e-commerce marketplace, even if you’re not selling there.
Recommendation: Prepare your website and customer service team to handle both Amazon and non-Amazon inquiries. In general, we recommend directing customers to contact the seller from whom they purchased to resolve any issues.
Always Remember the Golden Rule
So, there you have it. Nine quick tips for how to provide quality customer service on Amazon. Using these tips will help you create a better, more lasting relationship with your customer, build trust, engage conversations, and so much more. That all said, here’s one final bonus tip: treat people how you would want to be treated, with care and respect, and we’re sure their experience will be just as good as yours.
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