Amazon is offering free or discounted rates to sellers who use Customer Service by Amazon (CSBA) through a new rewards program. Amazon launched CSBA in the summer and officially announced it last month at the Amazon Accelerate conference. Note that while the program is optional, it appears Amazon automatically enrolls new sellers into the CSBA program by default.
Amazon already handles customer service for seller orders it fulfills through its FBA fulfillment service. With CSBA, sellers can also choose to have Amazon handle customer service for orders they fulfill themselves (seller fulfilled). Amazon describes CSBA as a “paid service where Amazon takes care of customer service on your behalf for your self-fulfillment orders. We will direct customer inquiries for these orders to Amazon Customer Service so that you do not need to handle them yourself.”
On November 16, Amazon announced the CSBA reward program. However, sellers must meet strict criteria. Amazon explained as follows:
With CSBA rewards, we are now offering CSBA service for free or at discounted rates to sellers who meet the following requirements:
- Ensure customers know where their packages are by offering valid tracking information and maintain a Valid Tracking Rate (VTR) of 95% or higher
- Streamline the customer returns process through Amazon Prepaid Return Label (APRL) program and maintain APRL rate of 95% or higher
If you are eligible and maintain Contact Per Unit (CPU) of less than or equal to 5%, you will receive free CSBA service each month. In case you have CPU higher than 5%, you will still benefit through fee rates discount ranging from 15% to 50% depending on your CPU tier.
Many of the sellers who commented on the announcement thread seemed skeptical of Amazon customer service reps’ ability to handle their customers’ problems. One seller wrote, “The thing that Amazon seems to not yet understand is that good customer service relies on the representatives’ knowledge of the actual product. Pressing a refund or return button is not a solution to when a customer runs into a situational issues like assembly, use cases, or general product inquiry.”
A seller new to the marketplace said Amazon had automatically signed them up to a free trial and would have to opt out of the program if they didn’t want to remain in the paid program. Another replied that on the Amazon landing page, it states “Newly registered sellers on Amazon.com are enrolled in CSBA by default. You can opt-out of the program at any time.”
Another seller said they feared the program would eventually become mandatory. Feel free to weigh in on the comments below.