We’ve already talked about responding to negative seller feedback in our seller feedback guide, as well as how to approach negative product reviews. At the end of the day, however, it seems like you always have to take the hit from a negative review. You can leave a gracious response, but that review will stay a thorn in your side and bring down your average.
Negative feedback rate is arguably the most important metric of seller feedback. The magic number is 5%—if less than 5% of your feedback is negative or neutral, you’re doing well; any more than that, and things begin to turn sour.
If you’re over this 5% threshold, Amazon recommends that you “review your business practices and adjust to the demands of your customers.” What they don’t mention, however, are the repercussions for remaining above five percent. Our guide already mentioned that Amazon takes your feedback rating into consideration when calculating your search rankings, but a high negative feedback rate can also put you at risk for account suspensions.
If a customer encounters a problem with their order at any point and asks Amazon to step in, your seller rating will come under scrutiny. If it’s too low, Amazon may suspend your account while they investigate the issue—a catastrophic blow. A higher seller rating will protect you from these suspensions—yet another reason to strive for it.
Evidently, a buildup of negative seller feedback can seriously damage your Amazon business. However, we offer most of our feedback-based advice on the assumption that the negative reviews will stick around—that’s how Amazon usually intends feedback to work. This can get frustrating if the feedback is completely unfair—things like “I didn’t like the color” or “this book was so boring I feel asleep,” which have nothing to do with your performance as a seller.
Fortunately, seller feedback is one area where you have more leverage than you might think.
Amazon is very clear that seller feedback should only relate to fulfilled-by-merchant (FBM) shipping and any seller communications. Therefore, if you feel that seller feedback is unfair, it probably is—and Amazon will remove it.
More specifically, here are the conditions under which Amazon will remove seller feedback.
- The feedback contains any profanity, obscenities, or seller-specific personally identifiable information.
- The feedback consists entirely of a product review.
Note: If the feedback contains some seller feedback as well as a product review, it will not be removed.
- The feedback singularly addresses fulfillment or shipping for a product that was fulfilled by Amazon (FBA).
Note: Technically, these reviews will not be completely removed, but Amazon will strike a line through the rating and add the sentence: “This item was fulfilled by Amazon, and we take responsibility for this fulfillment experience.”
This third point is something that Amazon doesn’t mention in its guidelines for leaving seller feedback, and this can be a source of unfair feedback if you use FBA. Worry not—Amazon will take the fall if their fulfillment is the problem.
In order to request feedback removal, go to your Seller Central page and navigate to Help > Contact Seller Support > Orders > Customer Feedback Problems. Briefly explain why you think the feedback should be removed, put in the order number, send it off, and you’re done. No guarantees—it is Amazon support, after all—but Amazon seems to be fairly good at fulfilling these requests.
Of course, you shouldn’t forget your basic approach towards negative feedback. If the customer had a legitimate problem that you believe you can fix, reach out to them first. Even if their concern doesn’t relate to your performance as a seller, if you can fix it and develop a positive relationship, you may be able to ask them to remove the feedback. Remember—pressuring buyers to remove feedback is against Amazon’s Terms of Service, but asking nicely is always fine.
In a world where feedback and ratings are king, you need every bit of leverage you can get over negative feedback. You should always reach out to the customer first if you think it will be productive, but Amazon’s feedback removal is an effective defense mechanism against completely unfair seller feedback.
Have any questions, additions, or comments? As always, post them below!