Amazon will now allow certain sellers reach out to buyers who’ve left less-than-stellar reviews, but according to many of the sellers discussing the new feature, it’s far too restrictive.
The biggest limitation: only brand owners can use it. Another significant limitation: brand owners are unable to use the new Contact Customer feature to send custom messages – they must choose between two generic messages.
Amazon posted the following announcement on Monday:
“We’re excited to launch a new communication tool that gives you, as a brand owner, the ability to contact your customers after they leave a 1, 2, or 3-star product review. This tool lets you choose how to engage with your customers, either by offering a full refund or requesting additional information on their orders to help resolve their issues.
“Great brand owners provide exceptional customer service, especially in situations where the customer is unhappy or disappointed. We’re excited to launch a new communication tool that gives you the ability to contact customers after they leave a 1, 2, or 3-star product review. Now, you can choose what level of support you want to offer your customers by either offering a full refund or requesting additional information on their orders to help resolve their issues.
“As a brand owner, you can access this new tool by going to Seller Central and clicking Customer Reviews under the Brands tab. You can view all reviews that have been left on any of your products, and filter by star rating or brand. The new Contact Customer feature is enabled for qualifying critical product reviews.
“Note that sellers aren’t allowed to ask for a customer’s personal information, including email or phone number, and customers aren’t expected to change their reviews due to this outreach or any potential resolution.”
One brand owner called the feature awesome, giving them the opportunity to at least try to reach out to help a customer who may have received a defective unit – and not an overall product flaw. “This finally allows me to at least try to reach out in some way to try to help that customer, in most cases I’d be more than happy to send a replacement if it means my customer gets a better experience, finally I have that chance, this is awesome!”
But for those hoping to be able to engage with their customers, there was disappointment. A seller explained, “You have a choice between 2 canned scripted responses. No customization allowed with the communication.”
Another seller wrote, “So despite the best of customer service efforts… The bad review remains AND you have the luxury of refunding the customer.”
For a seller who said the only way they would consider using the tool was if they could write a customized message about the substance of the review, “as it stands, this feels like Amazon trying to have its cake and eat it too,” and added, “It would be much more helpful if they gave us back the ability to post public responses to bad reviews, so that we can clear up any misunderstandings about the product.”
Let us know what if you have ideas for how Amazon could help sellers make things right for disappointed buyers.