Why Amazon’s feedback service is flawed – and what you should do

By Sharon Fussell, May 5, 2016

I know feedback is a frequent topic of discussion in my eletters, but that’s because it really is a subject many of you and I feel passionate about.

Amazon put a lot of store on their feedback forum, but to be honest it really is a flawed concept. It can be extremely frustrating at times to read comments and see ratings that are just not fit for purpose… just like – I would say – Amazon’s feedback forum process!

The idea of an online feedback forum is basically to separate the good sellers from bad sellers. Your online reputation comes down to your feedback ratings.

Amazon will monitor your ratings and comments received from customers and – should they fall below a certain standard – Amazon will use this as a stick to beat you with.

This is fine if all feedback received is fair – or even appropriate – on all occasions. Unfortunately, the reality is that that isn’t often the case.

Many buyers do not appear to have a clue in regards what is supposed to represent feedback. They are meant to rate their experience in regards to product and services provided by a third party seller on Amazon.

Many buyers don’t know the difference between writing a  review  on a product they have purchased or leaving personal feedback for a third party seller.

I have lost count on how often I read reviews in regards to a product before purchasing, only to find a review posted by a buyer stating something along the lines of:

“Arrived well packed and in good time.”

This comment is feedback that should be set against a third party seller from whom they purchased the product.

I then notice feedback where a buyer had posted a comment and rated their buying experience with a negative rating:

“This book was badly written and I just did not like it.”

Obviously, that is a subjective review that should not be posted on the seller’s feedback page.

Personally, I always request feedback removal from Amazon for anything left that constitutes a review – especially when a low feedback rating has been left.

I don’t have an issue if a buyer receives what they consider to be a bad experience if they leave feedback reflecting this experience. That’s what the forum is for, after all.

However, I do think Amazon shouldn’t allow buyers to leave negative feedback unless they try to contact sellers, so they have the opportunity to rectify an issue.

The main reason buyers leave unfavourable feedback is when sellers don’t respond to their issue, ignoring all correspondence. But it is equally frustrating when buyers do not respond to any emails sent to them from the seller.

Amazon record all messages in and out so it’s not possible to pretend buyers haven’t tried to contact you. In contrast, buyers can be shown sellers have responded to them.

On a personal level, I can demonstrate how Amazon’s feedback forum might be considered flawed after a buyer left adverse feedback on my account.

The buyer had contacted me to inform that her book had not arrived.

I responded by asking her to confirm her address before sending out a replacement.

She did not respond to my request.

She then left adverse feedback stating I had not contacted her, this was despite me sending a number of emails to her.

Still no reply. So I sent another email, explaining that although delivery is out of my control, I apologised for the non-delivery and issued a full refund.

I asked if she would remove the feedback as I could demonstrate that I had contacted her, also she had received a full refund and (what’s more) had blamed me for something out of my control.

Again, no response to any email correspondence.

So, I sent a snail mail letter through the post. I explained I had indeed contacted her on numerous occasions and politely pointed out it was she that failed to respond to my emails, not the other way around!

To demonstrate this I pasted and copied all my responses into the letter.

I asked if she would give permission for Amazon to remove her feedback. This is what she wrote

“Dear Sirs,

Considering the expectation which has been placed over your accountability the refund it was at least the latest thing to do.

Anyway please forward this message to Amazon to kindly ask them to delete my feedback and I hope this event is going to be a lesson for your shop to improve how you manage your sells and ensure you meet your customer expectation and satisfaction.”

I have to admit I am a bit of a loss in regards to her reply. I am not sure what more I could have done to make her happy. I pride myself with my customer service, being quick to respond and do all I can to ensure all issues are dealt with to the customer’s full satisfaction.

No matter how well you do, there will always be someone who is not happy!

So it’s important to remember that if you do things right, most customers are happy and that is the most important thing.


What do you think?

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