As you check your Amazon product pages to make sure everything is shipshape, you scroll down to the reviews section of your best selling product.
First, you smile knowingly as you see the glowing reviews that users have marked most helpful. You know how important product reviews are to your e-commerce brand’s reputation. Just to be sure, you check on the newest reviews as well.
Staring you in the face is a big fat negative review. You can practically hear the customer shouting the all caps title “DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT”. This review isn’t easily ignored either. The content isn’t a tepid “I didn’t like it too much”. Rather, it’s 5 paragraph take-down of your product.
The complaints seem somewhat legitimate too. The problem is something you can fix. Maybe a manufacturer’s defect or an easy-to-address misunderstanding. But the customer doesn’t know that. All they know is that they’re mad. Mad at you.
Finally, you notice that 10 of 10 people have already marked the review helpful. Off it goes to the first page of reviews.
It might be easy to tear one’s hair out in frustration, curse the reviewer, or simply scoff with indifference and ignore it. However, for sellers who value their brand image, there’s a clear course of action.
With three steps, you can turn a 1 star review into a positive review. Not only will you have a happy customer, but you will help build a reputation as a brand with great customer service.
1. Respond Quickly
Acting quickly is critical when addressing customer complaints. If that angry customer review was left a month ago, you’re toast. By this point, the customer has moved on and slipped through your fingers. That review will be an immortal monument to your inattentiveness.
A study by Dimensional Research and sponsored by Zendesk indicates that quick resolution to a problem is the #1 factor in making a customer service interaction “good”. Likewise, slow response is one of the top reasons that made customer service bad.
If you respond quickly, the customer will notice. No matter how angry they might be with your product, a response from the seller can only be a positive in their eyes. You’ve got their attention, which is always the hardest step.
Responding to negative reviews quickly requires both awareness of product reviews as they come in and the ability to reach out to them in private. Fortunately, Efficient Era has just to thing to help with quick responses!
2. Be Courteous
Now you’ve got the customer’s attention with your quick response. Onto the next step.
Want to guess what the #2 factor in making a customer interaction “good” from that Zendesk study?
“The person who helped me was nice.”
It may be a cliché, but “Service with a Smile” is the industry standard for a reason: it works. The customer is already mad at you. Terse replies will only make them angrier. On the other hand, kindness can be disarming, especially since it can be unexpected. This is especially true in e-commerce, where sellers are often difficult to reach or impolite.
Courtesy does not stop at using soft words instead of hurling insults. True courtesy involves empathizing with the customer and their complaints. In particular, make sure you:
- Apologize: Take responsibility for how your customer feels about your product! As easy as it might be to get frustrated or blame the buyer’s ignorance, starting off with “I’m sorry” goes a long way.
- Acknowledge: The customer wants their concerns to be acknowledged. The whole point of writing the negative review was so that others would acknowledge their bad experience with your company. Acknowledging their concerns directly is critical in building a positive relationship with the customer.
- Solve: No matter what, provide solutions to your customer.
3. Be a Problem Solver
In order for the bad review to turn into a good review, you need to solve the customer’s problem. Tempting as it may be from a speed standpoint, this doesn’t always mean offering a refund or return as soon as possible.
Speed in initial contact with the customer is critical. That being said, don’t get too hung up on speed once the conversation has started. While you should make initial contact as quickly as you can, take the time to carefully solve their problem. Make them feel like you care, not like you’re trying to sloppily throw together a solution as quickly as you can.
A customer who leaves a bad review has lost faith in your company. In order to restore faith, you need to show meticulous attention to detail. Read the review carefully and ensure you understand their problem. Then, engage the reviewer and ask for more details where necessary.
The ideal solution should leave the customer feeling understood. One electronics retailer we work with has users send back defective units (after sending a new unit) with a pledge to examine the problem carefully and ensure it doesn’t occur in future manufacturing runs. Does this help the customer directly? Perhaps not. Yet it communicates to the customer a deep concern for service on the part of the seller.
Finally, if all else fails, be generous in refunds and exchanges. Nobody wants to be perceived as an Ebenezer Scrooge, especially when your reputation is at stake. You can afford to bite the bullet and send the exchange unit. You can’t afford having a negative review plastered across your best-selling product page.
Don’t think that your role as a seller ends once you’ve shipped your product. In some ways, your job has just begun.
Likewise, don’t despair when you receive a negative review. They’re a part of every Amazon seller’s life, and now you’re equipped with the tools to handle them. If all goes well, the reviewer might even edit it, turning a once-negative review into a glowing commendation of your customer service.
One last note: you may think we’ve forgotten to ask for the customer to change their review! We think that your service should speak for itself, and customers will handle their end. Disagree? Feel free to let us know in the comments!
Let us know about any other thoughts, criticisms, or topic requests. We love to hear from our readers and Amazon sellers. Leave your comments below!