How to keep your customers happy

By Sharon Fussell, July 13, 2011

On the whole buyers on the Amazon site are great and you’ll find it fairly easy to keep your customers happy.

Thank goodness.

Most pay upfront on the trust and understanding that they will receive the item they have paid for within a few days of making the order and of course in the condition as described. In the vast majority of cases, transactions go smoothly and unless buyers leave feedback to the contrary or if you are lucky, a repeat order, you never hear from them again and so make the presumption they are happy.

However, from time to time (Amazon claim 1% of buyers have unrealistic expectations regarding their order) you may find that some buyers present a challenge, sometimes very challenging…

How to keep your Amazon customers happy

I have to say that if you provide a good customer service, in most cases you will have little to worry about. But sometimes, no matter what service or what quality of goods you provide, you will receive complaints.

Sometimes complaints are totally beyond your control-e.g some buyers will review a book and leave bad feedback like -“worst book I have ever read-3 out of 5” (Amazon should remove feedback made in these cases if the buyer does not reply to your emails).

I’m sure that in most cases complaints are made in good faith. For example, if a buyer claims an item has not arrived in the post, then unless you can prove it otherwise you have to believe them and recompense accordingly.

This week we received a product enquiry email from a customer in Italy stating his book had torn pages inside, he said he was holding off leaving feedback to give us a chance to ‘sort the situation’. Now we know the book was a new and unread copy-although only listed as ‘like new’, and was checked before sending.

So it was very unlikely the book had torn pages. We were faced with the situation where we could accuse him of lying or just refund him and live with it. The tone of the email suggested he was ‘trying it on’ but again we have to apply to the philosophy that ‘the customer is always right’. Amazon tell us we have to provide a no quibble guarantee and customers can always put in an A-Z against us if we try to fob them off. Amazon will usually just give them a refund and the customers dos not have to return the item either.

In the above example I apologised if we had missed any defect and that if it had been detected that in no way would we have sent it. We asked that he return the item or if he preferred we would refund £3 (half the order price) if he was willing to keep the book as a reading copy. He opted for the refund, which indicated he may well of been trying it on-as I know if I had received a book described as new with ‘ripped page’ I would most certainly have demanded my money back.

You do read some horrendous stories on the discussion board; customers are sent brand new, still wrapped Cd’s/DVD’s and complain they are scratched and unplayable. When they are returned the seller knows the item has been switched-but cannot do anything, unless they get into a war with the customer and risk an A-Z against them, they have to pay up-very annoying indeed!

Last week we had bad feedback for an item not received. The feedback forum is not meant for these purposes but buyers will insist on using it. We pointed out to the buyer that as they did not contact us to inform us about the books non arrival we had no way of knowing this. We asked that she remove the comment and offered her a refund or a replacement book. She opted for the latter and removed the feedback comment perhaps realising that she was out of order by not informing us of her issue and given a chance to redeem ourselves.

In all cases where we receive feedback under 4 out of 5 it is chased up and asked for comment to be removed. To see how easy it is to do just go to:

I truly believe that in my experience buyers are usually happy to remove comments once their issue has been dealt with to their satisfaction. In cases where buyers mark you wrongly, as we found in another recent example, “3-5 ‘nice book”. Obviously the buyer had little realisation how the feedback system worked. He also removed the comment once I had explained the situation.

Sometimes you wonder just what it is that the customer does want, we had a comment last week “Nice item, good value, arrived very quickly, could not ask for more – 4-5!!”

Basically if you are in the wrong then offer refunds or replacements, if (in your opinion) the buyer is in the wrong explain the situation and ask if they would be very kind and remove feedback comments, they usually will.

Watch Those Weights!

Remember when in the processing of listing to weigh books that appear heavy and refrain from opting to send overseas. Also make sure your profits will not be affected by UK sales too. Have an up to date copy of the postage rates leaflet and a digital weighing scale and this should assist you.


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