How to Deal with and Remove Negative Reviews on Amazon
Publication: Thursday, February 28, 2019.
DataHawk is a web-based Amazon Analytics Tool that combines a Keyword Ranking Tracker, a Product and Buy Box Tracker, a Market and Keyword Analysis tool, a Product Research engine, and a Sales Reporting tool. This is a blog post where we share some insights on the topic of joining the Amazon Brand Registry program. Our software comes with a free plan and advanced paid plans for sellers, vendors, and agencies of all sizes.
Selling on Amazon will, sooner or later, put you in a position to have to deal with negative reviews and comments. These can significantly affect your product ratings, especially if you don’t have enough positive reviews to balance these things out. Ultimately, you will end up paying the price – stalled sales. At this point, you must be wondering if there is a way to deal with negative reviews.
After all, you’ve put in a lot of your time and cash to make your listings and start your Amazon business. Don’t worry, as there are plenty of ways to deal with them. We created the ultimate guide on how to deal with negative reviews on Amazon. Scroll down and learn how to manage them and bring your sales back on track again.
Amazon Has Its Own Rules
It’s completely understandable that you want to deal with negative reviews as soon as possible, but it is also very important to learn the rules of the game. In fact, Amazon has three distinctive rules that sellers have to abide by when dealing with negative reviews.
You Can’t Incentivize nor Intimidate Reviewers
Amazon has a very strict policy against biased reviews. Everything started back in 2016 when the trend of compensating reviewers with free products or discounts emerged. Since then, Amazon took action to stop it from happening again by changing its terms.
Thus, incentivized reviews became banned. You are also forbidden to ask a customer to change the bad review by offering extra goodies or discounts.
The same applies to intimidating customers. If you spot a bad review, you are not allowed to take any action that will be perceived by the customers as a threat to change their review. If you do any of these two, you will be at great risk of getting your Seller Account suspended or permanently banned.
Don’t Spam Your Customers
Amazon is very serious when it comes to providing the best online shopping experience to its customers. If you try and take a chunk of this experience you will get penalized by them. Yes, it is completely OK to ask your customers to leave a review once or contact the ones that have left a negative review to reconsider it.
What’s forbidden? You are not allowed to spam customers, or, if reported, your account can be closed down.
Use Effective Communication
We are aware of all the negative feelings you can go through when you see someone criticizing your products or services openly. But you have to remember that this is all business. There is no need to respond negatively to your customers.
Instead, focus on making the conversation efficient. See what are the pain points that they’ve experienced and try to calm them down. We will come to how to do this in great detail in one of the following sections.
How To Easily Spot Fake Reviews
For those who are less experienced in spotting fake reviews on Amazon, there is a pattern that you can easily follow. The fake reviews are the easiest to deal with, just check the “Ask Amazon to Delete the Negative Review” section.
These are the most common fake/inappropriate reviews:
- Reviews that contain any kind of spiteful remarks.
- Reviews that contain only one word.
- Reviews with email addresses, links to other products or pages, and phone numbers.
- Several reviews written by the same customer for the same product are also considered fake.
- Reviews used to promote presentations, seminars, and so on.
- Reviews that contain any third-party material.
- Reviews that are written by third-party sellers, manufacturers, or publishers of the competitive products.
- Comments on the reviews .
- Reviews that contain tasteless remarks.
- Reviews that contain an advertisement.
- Reviews that contain any type of information (price, availability, etc.) on alternative products.
- Reviews that contain vague information and don’t address the details about the product.
You can also extend you hunt for the fake reviews by checking the reviewer “Helpful votes”, “Reviewer ranking”, and “See all my reviews”. If the reviewer has posted just a few reviews, all of which are negative and inappropriate, chances are that they have a hidden agenda.
There is one more trick that you can pull out of your sleeve. Before you start working on negative review amendment, you have to check whether the reviewer actually got the product. You can check this by taking a quick look just under the review title. If there is a “Verified Purchase” tag, it means that the reviewer got the product.
Now, let’s see what are the most efficient ways to deal with negative reviews on Amazon.
Ask Amazon to Delete the Negative Review
This might hit you as a surprise, but Amazon has a built-in system that allows them to remove negative reviews. Of course, not all negative reviews can be deleted.
Only the ones that violate the guidelines for Amazon.com Community participation can be removed by Amazon. Getting rid of a negative review in this fashion is an efficient way of removing the negative impact it has on your ranking.
The problem is that you won’t have the chance to run into a negative review that violates the guidelines quite often. And if you report a negative review just because it is negative and unfair, Amazon can easily decide not to delete it. The process of reporting these reviews is very easy and it doesn’t take a long time.
How to Ask Amazon to Delete an Inappropriate Review
Amazon has made it very simple to report reviews. All it requires is a minute of your time and a few clicks. First, you have to visit the product detail page for the product in question. Find the review that you render inappropriate and click on “Report Abuse”.
This will bring up a form in a pop-up window. Here you have to explain why you think that the review has to be deleted.
There is another way to do this. You can directly contact the Community Help department. All you have to do is write them an email on [email protected], include the name of the reviews, date stamp on the review, ASIN of the product in questions, and link to the review.
Don’t forget to include the reason why you consider the review to be inappropriate by clearly indicating how the customer violates the guidelines.
Ask Customer to Revisit or Remove the Negative Review
Any customer that leaves a review on Amazon platform can come back edit or delete it at any point. This puts you in a position to influence customers and make them leave a better review for your product. The only way to do this is to try and find the contact information of the customer and engage with them in direct communication.
What are the possible results of such an action? If you write a compelling message, your customer can reconsider the negative review and turn it into a positive one. But, it is more realistic to expect to influence the customer to delete the negative review.
If you are unlucky, the customer may ignore your message and the review will remain untouched. You have at least tried to do something right?
The problem lies in finding the contact information. There are many of those who shop on Amazon by using a pseudonym. This makes it really hard to identify the true identity of such a customer. In case you don't succeed, you have one more option. You can try to directly contact them by leaving a public reply on the review they’ve given. All this will require you to devote some time and effort.
The procedure is simple yet time and energy consuming. The best case scenario is when a customer uses a real name when leaving the review. But what if a customer uses a pseudonym? In this case, you will have to dive into the orders you have received around the date the review was given. This can become very difficult if you’ve had a lot of orders during those days.
What to do when you manage to identify the customer? You have two options – either contact them via email or by phone. You should apologize to the customer for the inconvenience and give your best to resolve the issues at hand. If you succeed, the customer will most likely edit or delete the negative comment.
These are the most common scenarios in which the odds of getting a negative review changed are high:
- You have managed to resolve issues for your customer.
- The customer made an honest mistake by leaving a positive review but giving the product a 1-star rating.
- You have managed to explain to the customer that the review is not based on the facts.
The most important thing here is not to offer anything to your customer that will violate the Amazon’s guidelines, because such an action may have severe consequences for your future as a seller on this platform.
Comment on a Negative Review
Commenting on a negative review is another way to deal with negative reviews on Amazon. Many potential customers will go through the reviews, especially the negative ones to get as much information they can about the product that interests them.
This is why it is very important to learn how to comment on a negative review, which information to share, the tone to use, identify the valid points of criticism, tailor your response, and so on.
The primary goal of commenting on a negative review is to address the issues the customer is reporting. You have to do everything in your power to show the customers that you care and that they can trust you in the long term. Look at it as a sort of crisis management.
Use this opportunity to help other customers deciding whether or not to purchase your product see the review from your perspective rather than the one of a dissatisfied customer.
Since it is advised to personalize the reply for each negative review, this course of action may take a little time. To leave a comment you have to log in to your account and click on the “Comment” link directly below the review.
When to use this option? If Amazon refuses to delete the negative review and you fail to identify the person behind the review, leaving a comment on a negative review is the only option you have. The real question is how to leverage the negative review and use it to maintain the product’s image.
There are three general rules to follow when writing a comment on a negative review:
- Be appreciative
- Be polite
- Be factual
Negative Review As a Result of Customer’s Error
One of the most important things you should know before you start writing comments are the details about your product listings. Quite often, you will get a negative review criticizing something that is already there in your product details. For instance, a customer may complain about the quality of the material, while the material quality was clearly put into the product description.
In this case, you should always point out the facts in the product description and neutrally explain that the criticism is not based on the facts. Feel free to point out exactly where the matter is explained in the product description and ask the customer to review or remove the review.
Negative Review as a Result of a Seller’s Error
When the negative review is based on real facts – something that you’ve neglected or failed to inform the customer about – you should tailor the comment in this fashion:
- Make sure to apologize for whatever the problem is.
- Give a detailed explanation on what you are planning to do to resolve that problem and prevent it from happening in the future.
- Appreciate the customer’s effort to take time and write the review.
Make it Easier for Customers to Leave a Review
There are too many products with thousands of reviews for Amazon to track each one of them individually. This is why their ranking algorithm takes the average rating into account. This is good news for you, especially if you are dealing with negative reviews that can’t be changed by any of the above-mentioned tactics.
This is why your tactic should be to overcome the negative reviews with positive ones. For instance, if you have 10 reviews, 9 of which are 5-star and only a single 1-star review, your average product rating will be 4.6.
So, how to amass positive reviews? Let us remind you that you are forbidden to use any incentives to get your customers to leave positive reviews on your products. The only option you have is to be open about it and ask your customers to leave a review.
The most convenient way to do so is to include small marketing inserts in your product packaging. These inserts should contain the URL to the product review page. You can use any of the URL shorteners available online to do this (the Google URL shortener is quite popular).
You can also extend the scope of your review strategy. This is quite easy if you have an email list of your existing customers. You should write an email to them and ask them politely to leave a review on the Amazon.
Regularly Monitor your Product Reviews
Since product reviews are highly valued by both Amazon A9 search algorithm and online customers, you have to adopt an ongoing strategy and keep up with the product reviews. We suggest you use appropriate tools to streamline product review monitoring to be able to respond in time and minimize the damage.
DataHawk comes with easy to use features that will allow you to get valuable insights into your product listings and reviews.
The “Number of Reviews” tracker and “Rating” tracker are particularly useful in this scenario. After creating a project in DataHawk and adding products you want to track to it, you will be able to see all the relevant data.
With one glimpse of the “Project Overview” screen, you will be able to spot any changes in the number of reviews and ranking for all the products that you are tracking.
You can also access the “Product Metric” for each of the products you are tracking. You can do so by simply clicking on the product that interests you.
The “Number of Reviews” and “Average Rating” graphs are particularly interesting, as they can help you spot trends in time and react accordingly.
At DataHawk, we also have a notification/alerting system on negative reviews, and deeper analysis on them to allow you to stay on top of your review game.
Hopefully, now you have a few more ideas on how to build and maintain an ongoing review management strategy for your Amazon listings. If you implement the tips on dealing with negative reviews, you will be able to improve your average rating and send a consistent message to your current and potential customers.
Tools such as DataHawk are there to help streamline this process for you and allow you to stay on top of the reviews in real time.