There is no worse feeling than seeing a negative review pop up on your listing after all the hard work (and money) you put into the product. As an Amazon seller, one of the first things you ask in that situation is, “How do I contact the customer who left this review?” After all, offering great customer service is the closest thing you can do to removing negative Amazon reviews.
Amazon has very strict communication guidelines that explain what is and is not permitted when it comes to buyer-seller messaging — especially when it comes to reviews.
There was a time when Amazon considered it a violation to contact the customer to ask what was wrong with their order, or even offer a refund after receiving a negative review.
Not anymore: Amazon has just released a new Brand Registry feature that now allows sellers to do just that, with its Customer Reviews Tool update. As of this writing, the update is only available to sellers within the U.S.
What is the Customer Reviews tool update?
Brand owners may have been surprised when they saw the update to the Customer Reviews tool within the Brand Dashboard, giving them the ability to finally reach out to customers in response to a critical review — this update is huge!
It reads, “The Customer Reviews tool has been updated! You can now send direct messages to customers who left critical reviews (star rating 1-3).”
If you click on the “Learn more” link, you will be brought to the announcement page.
We listened to your feedback!
We’ve been tracking feedback from brands related to the Customer Reviews experience. We heard that you love having a way to see all your reviews in one place and that it is nice to be able to filter by star rating and time period. You also shared your frustrations over not being able to directly engage with your customers who left critical reviews.
We’re now offering a brand-only benefit that allows you to reach out to buyers who purchased your branded product directly from you, who left critical (1-3 star reviews) via templated emails that allow you to communicate with buyers via buyer-seller messaging.
We believe this will build brand trust and help establish stronger relationships between you and your customers.
You read that right! You can now directly contact a customer who has left a negative review on your branded product.
Is it possible to remove negative reviews on Amazon?
For sellers, the short answer is no — but there is a workaround. As a business owner, you should do everything you can to remediate any negative customer experiences, especially when it comes to public reviews of your product.
Negative reviews can deter others from purchasing your products and bring down your conversion rate on Amazon.
Instead of ignoring a negative review your product received, you now have a chance to contact the customer who left the review — and a chance at having them remove it, or even change it to a positive one. By being proactive and providing good customer service, you have the opportunity to turn a dissatisfied buyer into a happy customer.
While reviews are not the only thing you should focus on, they certainly influence purchase behavior. In fact, 75% of U.S. consumers said they look for the best-reviewed and highest-rated products when shopping online.
While it is not guaranteed that customers will remove or change their review, that is the ultimate goal. If Amazon now allows you to contact customers to address their issues with your product, why not try it? You have nothing to lose.
Let’s go over some possible outcomes when contacting customers:
They change their negative review into a positive one.
This is your best-case scenario. Of course, one of your main focuses as a seller is to increase the number of positive reviews on your listings. If you provide a solution for the unhappy customer — such as a refund or item replacement— and they change their review to a positive one, that’s a win-win.
They remove the negative review.
If your goal is to simply remove a negative review on Amazon, this is your best option. While this is not as good as the customer changing it to a positive review, it is still a win. The fewer bad reviews on your Amazon listing, the better. You want to try to keep your overall star rating as high as possible.
You make the customer more upset by contacting them.
I’m not saying this is a likely scenario, but it is possible. Let’s face it, not everyone loves getting emails from companies, especially from ones that just caused a negative experience. In this case, simply ignore their message and move on.
They ignore it.
This is likely as many Amazon customers have opted out of receiving emails. In this case, you’ve done everything you could to make their experience better.
How to use the Customer Reviews tool
As mentioned above, this feature is only available to sellers whose brands are enrolled in Brand Registry—another great reason why you should enroll your brand in the program.
To view your products’ reviews In Seller Central, go to Brands > Customer Reviews.
Here, you will be able to see all of the reviews that customers left for your branded products. Any products you sell that are not enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry will not be shown here.
If your product has a critical review with three stars or less, you should see a button to the right that says “Contact Buyer.”
When you click on “Contact Buyer” you will see these two options:
Courtesy refund: You can offer your customer a full refund or replacement item.
Customer review: You can directly contact your customer to ask about their review.
Let’s explore each of these options:
Amazon creates a pre-written message for you, offering the customer a replacement item or a full refund on their order.
At this time, you cannot edit any part of the message that will be sent to the customer.
Much of the language used in the email crafted by Amazon would have violated its own communication policy before the update — but with this new feature, it isn’t! Though it may cross your mind, I do not recommend contacting the customer outside of the Customer Reviews tool on your Brand Dashboard.
You may also notice something else at the top of the email: The Order ID. Before this update, Amazon would not disclose to sellers which order the customer review came from. Again, be careful with this information. Use it to inform your customer’s experience, but keep in contact with customers within the Customer Reviews tool, not outside of it.
As with the courtesy refund message, you do not have the ability to edit this email. This option lets you reach out and resolve issues customers had with your product, so you can prevent the same situation from happening again.
Maybe there is a quality issue with your product that you need to address, or the customer simply did not like your product. Either way, that information is good for you to know.
Which option should you choose?
The Contact Buyer option you choose should depend on the customer review, and be determined on a case-by-case basis. For example, if a customer was complaining about how the product broke, offering a refund or replacement product by choosing “Courtesy refund” would be your best option.
If the customer was confused about how the item worked, you should choose “Customer review” so you can get a little more information from them and help resolve the issue they had with your product.
After you hit send, the review will be marked that you have contacted the customer. You will be able to view the message you sent within the buyer-seller messaging system.
What are the benefits of the Customer Reviews tool update?
One of every Amazon seller’s goals when they launch a new product is to gain positive reviews and feedback from their customers. Without seeing reviews — especially positive ones — customers who find your listing may not be confident enough to purchase your product. But earning more reviews doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds. With Jungle Scout’s Review Automation tool, automated review requests will be sent out to your customers after they receive the product.
By sending a follow up email to a customer who left a poor review, or offering to give them a full refund, you will hopefully provide them with a much better experience. While it may not influence them to change their review, it will send the message that your brand actually cares about your customers. Without happy customers, you can’t have a successful business!
The worst that can happen is that the customer ignores the email and they don’t change their review. But on the flip side, the customer may be very appreciative of the refund, replacement or your reaching out — and they may be compelled to change their negative review into a positive one. They may even purchase another product from your brand, knowing that there is someone behind it who cares.
If you are brand registered, there is no reason you shouldn’t be at least testing out this new feature. This is another tool that gives you a leg up on the competition that is not enrolled in the Brand Registry.
Try it out for yourself!
Test out this feature today and see how it works for your business. It could potentially bring in more positive reviews and more happy customers.
Have you tested it out yet? Let us know in the comments!
I believe communicating with them is only an option if they gave opted into receiving communications. In my case all customer reviews with lower rating say “Customer has opted out of communication” at the top right and I cannot contact them this way.
Additionally, they use a different name for leaving the review and for placing the order and I have no way of connecting customer with order number. I am not sure if they are legitimate purchases. One of them says great things, but only leaves 3 stars. I think it may be an error, but I cannot correct it.
How do I address these issues?
In this case, there isn’t anything you can do about it. Amazon does not want you reaching out to customers to change or remove a review.
How would they remove their negative review? How should they be directed if they ask?
Buyers can change or remove reviews by going into their orders within their Amazon account.
My Brand Registry Dashboard does not show any “Customer Review Tools.” Can you provide an exact URL?
Try this: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/brand-customer-reviews?ref=brnd_cst_reviews_nav
This feature is only available in the US. It would be helpful if you would have put this at the top of this article to save subscribers outside the US wasting time reading it.
It is mentioned in the very first section of the article.
Once you have the order ID, why can’t you just contact them through Amazon this way? Aren’t their templates their to make it quick and easy for us? However if you can actually communicate to them with your own language it is a much better idea. How does Amazon know how you got the order ID.? I often get it by going through every order until I find their first name unless it is a common one. Amazon is not prohibiting us from contacting them directly as long as we use the appropriate language etc.
Because Amazon’s terms prevent you from doing that now. I suggest you reread the communication guidelines.
If the customer reply’s “Full Refund” is this automatically done by Amazon? Or do I have to do this somewhere for them on Amazon?
If they choose full refund, you should have the option to send the refund. It is not done automatically.
If the customer responds and we send them a replacement item they say thanks but a week goes by and they don’t remove or change review are we now allowed to ask them to change it or is that still against policy?
No, you cannot ask them to change or remove the review. It is still against policy.
The hope is that the customer will do it on their own.