The Logic of Courtesy Refunds Escapes Amazon Sellers

Sellers are always trying to figure out the benefit of using an Amazon feature first introduced in October after the company announced it again this week. This feature allows brands to issue courtesy refunds to shoppers who leave critical reviews of their products.

Amazon said brands can “boost brand loyalty and customer engagement” by issuing courtesy refunds or providing direct assistance in cases where shoppers leave reviews with three stars or less.

But sellers fear it will reward bad behavior and spread the word – “Just wait for this news to reach YouTubers or Facebook groups teaching people how to get free products on Amazon,” wrote one seller.

“Brands now have the ability to give refunds, but can’t ask for reviews to be changed, which means negative reviews stay and the money is returned. What’s the point exactly,” asked seller. “Now we reward negative reviews? »

Another flaw, according to some sellers: Amazon does not allow brands to personalize their messages. “I sent one of these messages to a customer and she basically told me I was an idiot because I didn’t respond to her concern that she left in the review,” said writes a seller who has used the feature. “Amazon’s message says we’d like to ‘address any issues or concerns you have. Please reply to this email. “Customers feel like they’ve already done that in the review. It would be better if we could say something different.”

It’s frustrating to get a bad review when it’s “user error”. (Sellers, insert your horror stories of buyers leaving reviews here for not understanding how the product works.)

Some sellers weren’t so harsh in their rating of the feature, but they asked Amazon to go further: “It’s a good feature to improve customer service, while protecting customers from abusive sellers,” wrote a seller. “But please report feedback on reviews. This allows customers to engage with the community and resolve questions. There is a low risk of seller abuse. This allows sellers to respond to reviews confusing and misleading.”

This echoed a response from October when a seller wrote, “It would be much more helpful if they gave us back the ability to post public responses to bad reviews, so we can clear up any misunderstandings about the product.”

Another seller who responded to this week’s ad wrote, “Sometimes it helps to reach out to customers to offer assistance if they have a problem. How about a proactive approach instead? If a customer has an issue with a product that could potentially be addressed but has to leave a negative review to get support for that product, that seems to go against a good customer experience.”

Some sellers have also noted that many buyers have opted out of receiving communications. If you’ve used the feature, let us know what you think. You can find Tuesday’s announcement at Amazon Seller Central.

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