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What to Do About Negative Amazon Reviews

Across the internet, reviews and social proof are a huge part of convincing a potential customer to go ahead and make a sale.

This is the case on Amazon as much as anywhere else, and in some cases more. We already brought you an in depth guide on how to encourage positive Amazon reviews and boost your review count.

However, managing and mitigating negative reviews can seem like a huge task of it's own, and if you're not sure what to do about them, too many negative reviews can tank a listing and cause all sorts of problems.

Luckily, there are a lot of options available to minimize this risk, so let's take a look:

First Things First

It should be obvious, but could be overlooked. The most important step of this whole process is having a great quality product. If your product is top quality, does what it's meant to, is a great price, and doesn't break easily - you'll be in the best possible position to build up a range of positive reviews, and avoid negative ones.

This must be prioritized first, because if you have a lower quality product that doesn't please the customer, you are always going to be fighting an uphill battle trying to avoid negative reviews, and you are likely to still get some even when following every other tip on this page.

Unfortunately, customers are generally more likely to leave a review if unhappy than happy. For most customers, "a good product that does what it's meant to" is just what's expected and not noteworthy.

With that said, a lot of people can be quite disingenuous with their feedback, and some may have been expecting your product to be something else due to their own mistake or misunderstanding - all of this means that even if your product is close to perfection, some negative reviews are going to show up from time to time.

So how do you respond?

Let's jump right in:

1) Ensure the Review is Real

Unfortunately, it has now become very common on Amazon for competing brands to purchase products from their competitors just to leave a false, fabricated, and often highly damaging review. There has even been cases of competitors purposely sending in bad quality counterfeit products to tank the reviews on a competitor's listing.

You don't want to waste a lot of time fixing or acting upon a review that has no basis in reality, so consider this point first - and report it to Amazon immediately if it seems suspicious or implausible.

2) Contact the Buyer Professionally

Once you know a bad review is genuine, it's time to reach out. If you go to "Brands" then "Customer Reviews", every review that is rated less than 5 stars will have an option saying "Contact buyer".

This is your chance to show the customer that you prioritize your customer service and are willing to go above and beyond for them. If you succeed in addressing their issue, you may find they are impressed enough to remove their review, or even switch it for a positive one.

Amazon provides a template for this email - and while it's pretty vague and not suitable for most specific situations - it can still be useful, especially if the negative review was very vague and you're not sure what the customers issue is.

When writing your own response, however, remember that a negative review is not a personal insult. This remains true if the review is completely false and unfair. It even remains true if the reviewer has used insulting language in an attempt to attack you.

In any case, your aim is not to insult them back and "win" an argument, and should be focused only on politely mentioning facts. What did they pay for? Did they receive it? If yes, make this clear. If not, explain why and ensure they do, or get a refund.

This doesn't need to be detailed - for example if a customer ordered the wrong size, a simple screenshot of the order will illustrate this. Explaining this in a careful and polite manner and avoiding making feel silly will reward you here. 

Of course, it isn't just about the buyer that left the review. Other customers who see that negative review will be less likely to purchase your product. However, customers are more likely to buy from a brand they see as customer-centric, so your proactive response displaying in the review section may go some way to mitigate this by giving the viewer confidence you will fix any issues that arise.

3) Provide an Explanation

We already discussed what to do if the review is false or the complaint is incorrect.

However, sometimes this will not be the case and the review will be 100% accurate.

Maybe the fault is the manufacturers and one of the units was damaged or unfit for use. Maybe the fault is Amazon's and the unit was damaged in the warehouse. Maybe it's your fault and you have overlooked some design aspect which made the product fail in this case.

Regardless of where the fault lies - apologize profusely, provide an explanation on exactly what happened and why, and offer a refund or a replacement to be sent out that day. 

In most cases this will solve the issue for the buyer - and hopefully they will remove the bad review as a result. But if they don't, you could always contact them again a few days later to confirm everything has been fixed, and to ask them if they are willing to remove it now.

4) Be Aware of Reoccurring Points

If you just get the occasional negative review here and there, the above tips combined with a strategy for boosting positive reviews will be enough to minimize their impact on your listing.

However, it's important to be aware of patterns - if you regularly get negative reviews, and many of them mention the same points or features, then this may be a serious problem with your product.

In this case it will be worth going back to the drawing board and redesigning the product in a way that solves the issue. While this may be costly and time consuming, it will increase the life of the product on Amazon and dramatically reduce the amount of negative reviews in the future.

Of course, this works the other way too - if you keep receiving positive reviews that are particularly impressed with one particular facet of the product - add this feature to the listing, title and images, and make sure every potential buyer knows about it!