Hidden Reviews on Amazon
Amazon – as experienced sellers know, it’s sometimes hard to see the method to their madness. Curveballs are hidden around every corner.
Recently, Simon was looking at a handful of negative reviews and noticed something peculiar about the comments… or lack thereof. The comment counters on negative reviews disappeared!
Amazon has always shown how many comments have been left under a standalone review. As an Amazon expert, as well as Amazon shopper, he’s always found reviews useful. The process of reading a negative review, seeing what others thoughts were, and seeing whether customers were discrediting the negative review, is part of every Amazon consumer’s purchase journey.
Why Reviews Matter
Simon recounts the time he purchased a backpack that had a negative review saying the stitching was “terrible” and the straps “ripped easily”. Upon further investigation, and after scouring the comment section, he quickly found this was not the experience of the majority of customers. Each comment mentioned how great the stitching was and how durable the straps were. Ultimately, Simon trusted the reviewers and purchased the product. This was in 2013 and he still has the same backpack today!
Amazon recently decided to hide the number of comments on reviews. As you can imagine, this makes it very difficult for sellers to show their visibility to new potential customers. Now, when an Amazon shopper sees a negative (or positive) review, it looks like no comments have been made in response to the review. Consumers can no longer take a quick glance to see “trending” or “hot” comments. Instead, the customer has to click on each individual comment, then it will show comments made on reviews – if any!
Additionally, it’s frustrating for brands who will now be portrayed as “unresponsive” to consumers who only see a complaint, with no comment from the brand.
The EH Way & the Review Process
“Let me explain,” Simon said, “When I receive a negative review on Amazon there is a strict procedure I follow without fail. I read through the review and see if I can spot the REAL source of the issue – was it a delivery issue? Was it a defective product, do I need to contact the manufacturers? Has this issue been brought up before? Is it seller feedback left as a product review? Or is someone just simply venting?”
Simon identifies the issue and personally responds to each and every customer. Although he’s aware most customers won’t check back on their complaint, he responds for the customer who wants to know their voice was heard.
The main reason for reviewing a product is to let potential customers know what their experience – good or bad – was with the seller. Purchasing a product from a seller who genuinely cares about its consumers adds value to the purchase experience. This is why Simon takes the time to vet out these negative customer reviews.
“It doesn’t take all day,” he laughed, “We get minimal negative reviews as it is.” As Customer Service Manager, Simon runs a tight ship and personally responds, or has one of his teammates respond to every negative review, within two hours of posting. Additionally, they try to get in touch with the customer by reaching out to them directly through Amazon messaging.
“We really want to work this out with our customer. If it is something we can rectify, which it normally is, we want to do everything in our power to turn this customer from unhappy to a loyal customer.
What Sellers Can Do
Unfortunately, it seems, very little. There is no setting we can update, no alternative option. The only action sellers can take is to be proactive. As a seller, Simon needs to be able to intervene before the customer goes to the review section.
Sending an email to the customer directly after purchase to open up channels of communication is one of Simon’s tasks. Letting the customer know they have an easy way to contact me without having to go to the review section is crucial. Customers want to be heard!
Additionally, if Simon’s initial email went unresponded to, he will send another email 7 – 10 days after purchase. Again, making sure the customer knows how to contact him with any questions, comments, or concerns is the goal… as well as getting that five-star review!
This minimizes negative reviews, boosts the brand’s interaction with customers, and, in turn, increases positive reviews. It’s a win-win! As someone with a positive outlook, Amazon presented Simon with a “problem” he was able to counter! While Amazon continues to update its rules and methods, vigilant sellers will find a way to adapt and succeed.