The 1-star review by a customer can feel a punch in the gut. Asides from feeling like your efforts were not recognized by the customer, a one-star review also negatively affects your average rating. Whether you have 5 reviews or 500 reviews, a one-star rating will tank your star average.
On platforms like Amazon where a customer review can influence a new customer’s decision, one bad review might do a lot of damage, if you let it.
So how do you go about handling bad reviews on Amazon so they don’t affect your sales?
- Have the bad review removed by reporting to Amazon
- Respond to the reviewer
Have the bad reviews removed
In line with Amazon’s review policy, there are certain conditions under which you could appeal for a negative review to be removed:
- The review was posted by another Amazon seller, or their family members and employees, who happens to be your competitor
- The customer made the review in exchange for some compensation given by a marketplace competitor.
- The review is about your performance as a seller and not about the product. While a review is about a product’s quality or performance, feedback is about the seller and purchase experience so if a bad review you received is feedback, you can appeal to have it removed
- Reviews that contain inappropriate content, are libelous, defamatory, threatening, contain obscenities or personal information about the seller or anyone else. Reviews like these violate Amazon’s community guidelines and can be reported by clicking on the report abuse link next to the review.
You could appeal a negative review and it would be rejected or maybe the review you received does not qualify to be taken down per Amazon’s policy, so what next?
Respond to the customer’s review
While responding to a customer’s bad review may not necessarily result in the review being taken down, it does help your reputation by making you appear more trustworthy and responsible. This study by Harvard Business Review states that replying to customers can result in better ratings.
You may think that the customer is being a tad unreasonable or their review is plain ridiculous but you need to put on your game face and respond. Here are a few tips for responding to negative customer reviews
- Be apologetic - whether you think the customer is wrong or not is irrelevant. If you’re not sure exactly what you should apologize for, try making it about the bad experience they had
- Give an explanation, if there’s one. If you have some sort of explanation that could pacify the customer, you could give that in the response. But remember to be mindful of your tone. Don’t make it long-winded and try not to sound defensive because the goal is to take responsibility. You might also want to get another pair of eyes before you respond to a customer because you may think you’ve done a great job of keeping your emotions in check and others may think differently.
- Offer other methods of contacting you. Once you’ve apologized and given an explanation, you should end with asking the customer to reach out to you (via buyer-seller messenger as recommended by Amazon) if they want to discuss further.
- It’s important to remember that Amazon frowns on sellers asking customers to edit or delete their reviews no matter the circumstances. Your seller account could be suspended if you do that. If you’re dealing with an understanding customer, there’s a chance that after responding to their review, they will be open to remove their negative review.
How to prevent bad reviews on Amazon
Now that you’ve dealt with the dreaded one-star review, how do you prevent it from happening again?
There’s good news and bad news.
The good news is that you can prevent one-star reviews to a large extent by selling high-quality products and providing stellar customer service. The bad news is that you may do everything possible and there will still be a customer out there who is displeased with your service. Don’t let that discourage you, follow the tips given here for dealing with negative reviews, and then move on to doing what you do best.