As I have discussed a few times on the website I run an eCommerce business that predominantly sells on Amazon. One concern that I always have is that sales are strongly linked to product reviews, and one or two negative reviews can really affect things. This is particularly true when you have a new product with hardly any reviews.
I have a product that had only 1 review, which was a 5 star review so I was happy with this. However, I checked the status of this listing and saw a dreaded 1 star review. The review was brief, only stating that the product was poor quality and that it had ripped in both places.
The comment itself confused me slightly because is was a 2-pack and there were no defined areas, so saying it ripped in both places was a little confusing. I assumed they meant both products in the pack had ripped somehow.
You cannot get reviews removed if they are genuine reviews about the product. You can contact the buyer and ask them some questions but you can not come out and ask them to remove their review or try and get them to modify it in some way (especially not with a bribe or something…).
So, what were my options.
How I got the 1 star review removed from Amazon.
I went the good customer service route. I always think that all companies should offer outstanding customer service and when they do not I am always left a bit flabbergasted. So what I did straight away was reply to their comment/review. I apologised and re-affirmed that I would never sell poor quality products, and that I even use the product myself, which I really do. I then mentioned that I would direct message them.
I then went and gave this customer a full refund and then sent them a direct message (via Amazons messaging system) to apologise again and tell them that I’d given them a full refund. I also asked for more details about how the product ‘ripped’ and what action they did when it failed. I mentioned that this would help determine whether it was an isolated problem or something I needed to look at in more detail.
The next thing I did was send the customer a new product (I did not tell them I was doing this) and I wrote a hand written letter explaining how concerned I was that they did not get the product they expected and that the quality was not what they deserved. I stated again how I would never sell anything of poor quality and as CEO of the company I was personally responsible for this.
I said I wanted to give them a complementary product and hopefully they will see the quality is good and that their past issues was an isolated case. Finally I mention how Amazon was fantastic because of the honest customer reviews, just like the one they left. However I went on to mention again that hopefully they would see that the product quality was good and that they could enjoy using the new one I sent them.
I heard nothing back. The negative review stayed on Amazon, I got no reply to my direct message, and I got no email or phone call to the details I included on the hand written letter.
However, today (29th July 2016) I noticed the 1 star review was gone. It is around 4 weeks since that review was posted, so I expect the customer wanted to really test the new product. They obviously found it satisfactory and decided to remove their 1 star review.
This is a fantastic result. The product only has 3 reviews but they are now 2 x 5 star and a 4 star. All positive. After I got no replies from this customer I just accepted that they would not remove their review, but at the same time I was pleased that I had given them a service that I would expect a good company to give. So the fact that the 1 star negative review was removed was fantastic and shows what being polite and courteous and giving great customer service can do.
I also got a 2 star negative review removed.
One of my best selling products that has 99.9% positive reviews and in total has close to 250 reviews suddenly got hit with a 2 star review. When I checked it out I noticed the headline and comments were not about the product but instead about the fact that I emailed them.
Here’s a little background to this…
What I do after someone buys one of my products is send them an (auto) email a couple of days after the purchase to ask if it arrived OK. It is short and sweet and basically says just this.
“Hi, I am Neil Curtis the founder of [company name]. I wanted to personally contact you to say thank you so much for your order.
I am just checking everything arrived safely and undamaged. Just reply to this email if there are any issues.
Please visit the Instructions page on the website (just Google company name).
When on the website there is an “Instructions” link at the top. It is important you read the instructions & safety information. Some products must be attached and used correctly to avoid damage.
Thank you again,
Then 2 weeks later I send a follow up email that reads:
“Hi again, I just wanted to make sure your order is OK.
If something is not right please reply to this email and let me know. Your satisfaction is my number 1 priority.
If everything is good it would help us out if you could leave a really quick review (other buyers love to read reviews too).
[Link to leave a review]
I understand that you are busy or you may have purchased this for someone else, so no worries if you cannot leave a review.
After 4 weeks I send this final email:
“Hi, Neil from [company name] again. I promise this is the last time I email about your order.
Amazon is an amazing marketplace because buyers can read other buyers comments about the products and companies who sell them, like [company name] 🙂
It would be so useful if you could do this final thing for us (apologies if you have already done it).
[Click here to leave a comment about [company name] as a seller]
[Click here to leave a product review if you liked it]
A final big thank you,
OK, 3 emails may seem a little intrusive, but remember this is over a 4 week period, so 3 emails over 4 weeks is not too many in my opinion. Also, the 1st email was just asking if the order arrived OK and to remind the customer to read the usage and safety instructions. The other 2 emails were to get a product review and seller feedback because these are essential for sellers on Amazon.
However, 3 emails over 4 weeks may be a lot to some people, especially those not used to getting a lot of emails. Plus Amazon sends out its own emails that may annoy people (I cannot control these unfortunately).
Anyway, I obviously wound someone up with my emails because they took the trouble to leave a 2 star product review complaining about my emails. It never mentioned the product and therefore was not a product review so what I did was contact Amazon Seller Support and asked them to remove this product review on the grounds of the fact that it was not a review of the product.
Amazon Seller Support got back to me pretty quickly and agreed, they then removed this negative 2 star review.
A negative review can be a nightmare for Amazon sellers, and can even ruin how well a product sells. There are more grey (and in my view black) hat ways around this, such as giving a hugely discounted product away to a review group and these people will leave positive reviews and bump the negative review off the screen and out of sight.
I know that in theory people do not have to leave a positive review, but they do when they get what is basically a free product and when they are part of review groups and do this all the time. There is no point in trying to pretend this is not the case.
I stay away from these kind of things and try and rely on good products, great service, and play by the rules Amazon sets. It was worked well for me and as I have shown here you can be rewarded for this.
If you have any stories of selling on Amazon please share them in the comments and/or send me an email.