The Dreaded Negative Amazon Review and How to Manage It

You are going about your business when you open Seller Central and suddenly feel your stomach sink. Anything less than 5 stars feels negative, but what happens when someone is so dissatisfied that they decide to shout it from the peak of a one-star review?

Yikes.

Rather than rush headlong into the problem, remember to first pause and take a deep breath. Take advantage of the review and use it to maximize your product or service. Responding too quickly to customer feedback on Amazon could do more harm than good. In other words, take your hands off the keyboard and slowly back away from the screen. 

There is a solution that optimizes everyone's experience here, so don’t get ahead of yourself.

ghostbusters in full uniform say ya we could do more damage that way

The 6-Step, Silver-Lining Approach:

1. Take a step back.

Amazon listing management is a delicate challenge. 

Negative customer feedback feels very personal and may make you want to bite your nails even if you dropped that habit years ago (we’ve all been there). Right now, your mind is racing with questions and worries, so avoid responding in the heat of the moment and give yourself time to reply with a level head. Also, take a look at the Amazon reviews policy to avoid violating any restrictions while following up. 

person sitting at computer scanning landing page with a calming cup of tea in hand

2. Assess the source and be professional.

Put your thinking cap on and ask: was this critical review intended for my product? Is this a competitor review? Is the customer truly this unhappy? 

Before getting too overwhelmed, remember that no matter the source, you can resolve this in a positive way. 

Keep in mind that there is a person on the other side of the screen who may have had very high expectations or a plain ol’ bad day. You just never know.  

Be productive, not destructive. 

3. Take advantage of customer feedback. 

Time to construct a plan and transform these lemons into refreshing lemonade. Assess how you can improve your product or service and take the opportunity to show everyone visiting your site how you conduct yourself and plan to move forward. Even if there is or was a problem, future consumers will appreciate seeing a positive response to the issue at hand. Establishing a track record boosts trust and demonstrates how they might be treated in the case of a poor experience.

4. Address the review directly with sincerity and professionalism.

NOW you’re ready to open your computer and begin writing your response. You’ve got this.

two people bumping fists celebrating a good Amazon listing review

Contacting your customer by writing a comment under their review acts like a virtual fist bump and delivers multiple advantages:

  • Allows other customers to see how you respond
  • Demonstrates the integrity Amazon customers value
  • Creates an opportunity to offer a sincere apology
  • Provides a chance to ask questions and let them tell you how to improve

5. Tailor your response to each case. 

Generic responses to customer feedback on Amazon are an immediate red flag for consumers. Doling out templated responses can end up doing more harm than good, but showing there is a person creating genuine and specific responses behind the screen is important and builds trust between business and buyer. 

6. In the end, always right the wrong and foster connection.

Reviews may be the only time you can actually interact with customers, so make the most of this golden opportunity. 

  • Provide an email or phone number so the unhappy customer can reach out. 
  • All FBA purchases are backed by Amazon. Refer to Amazon’s return policy for sellers. 
  • Always accept the return and offer a refund with seller-backed returns. 

Assure your unhappy customer that you have taken their feedback into consideration and appreciate the time they took to respond. Do not ask them to remove a review or offer an incentive for a new review. 

*Refer to Amazon guidelines for FBA purchases and seller-fulfilled returns

BONUS TIP:

Remember that customers may not always know exactly what they want when making purchases online. Make sure your listing copy and images give customers all the information they need to purchase with confidence. 

Feedback Examples and Analysis: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

We grabbed random customer feedback examples from Amazon and crafted a few telling responses. Let’s take a closer look: 

Critical Review #1: Facial Moisturizer

example of negative amazon review

Oh boy. This is a doozy. And a major bummer because they are mad at Amazon and this review is affecting you. 

There are a number of ways you could react:

  • UGLY: Sheer and Utter Panic
      1. “We have no control over the manufacturing process. This isn’t our fault and would appreciate you changing this review as it is a reflection of Amazon, not our product.”
      2. Take responsibility and own up to mistakes that have been made. Becoming defensive is highly unprofessional and a sure way to lose this customer as well as future sales. 
      3. Asking that Amazon reviews be removed or altered is against the Amazon reviews policy.
  • BAD: Too Casual
      1. “Sometimes products change when they are made. Sorry for your bad experience.”
      2. There is an apology, but it isn’t sincere or specific. 
      3. Responding too casually can come across as uncaring and inattentive. Let them know you’ve heard their concern and plan to take action. 
  • GOOD: Cucumber-Status Cool
      1. “We apologize and are so sorry to hear that you received a possible bad batch. We plan on looking into the source of this issue. We understand returns can be time-consuming and we would love to send you a fresh bottle of moisturizer. Please contact us at this email or this phone number so we can amend this situation.”
      2. This apology is sincere and specific.
      3. A “virtual fist bump” is offered in the form of a new bottle and hopefully ends with a satisfied customer who feels seen and heard.

    Critical Review #2: A Fresh Take on a Rotten Review

    example of a bad amazon review

    This review may only have one star, but it has a lot of great points. 

    Make reviews an opportunity to be productive, not destructive. If customer reviews claim your product is not advertised correctly or they feel misled, respond by thanking them for that crucial feedback and let them know you will be working to improve your images, description, etc. 

    You just received a free consultation. Choose to see it that way and make the most of it. Respond with a professional apology and list out the steps you’re taking to right the perception of your product.

    A 5-Star Response in the Wild:

    example of a great seller response to negative amazon review

    This is a response to a customer question that knocks it out of the park.

    The seller responded to a question that could lead to negative thoughts about the product. 

    What they did right:

    • Gave specific instructions to fix their problem.
    • Provided a solution (not an excuse) for the problem.
    • Let the customer know that if it still isn't working to email and let them know.
    • Told them they would right the wrong in some capacity. 

    A Few Fast Tips to Avoid Negative Reviews

    person in a white shirt smiling looking at a phone sitting in front of computer

    Amazon reviews can’t be removed. Here is how to avoid them:

    • Be honest about your product and its limits. In other words, no claims about ending world hunger, got it?
    • Support your product with clear images that truly represent your product.
    • Describe your product accurately in your feature bullets, product description, and A+ Content.
    • Note current reviews and identify any patterns. If there is a consistent issue, work to resolve it.
    • Know your niche, know your audience, and tailor content to them.

    If people know exactly what they’re signing up for, it’s harder for them to get frustrated. 

    Let Us Help You Turn Things Around

    Selling on Amazon for beginners and pros alike can be tough. If critical reviews are getting you down, let us help you find the sun behind the clouds and reveal a silver lining. Take advantage of our free listing and customer feedback analysis. Relay the reviews you’ve received on Amazon, and we will scan your listing for unclear images, vague descriptions, and unintentional misinformation. Are there some weak areas that could use a boost? Beat reviews to the punch and avoid them altogether with an Emmazon boost.


    Sarah Medley

    Sarah is a copywriter, yoga instructor, and fitness nerd. An avid matcha drinker, you can find her settling in with a warm cup of tea to write every morning. She loves her friends, food, and ultimate frisbee more than most things, and in no particular order.

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