The Release of Courtesy Refund Feature For Amazon FBA Sellers
On 12 October 2021, Amazon released a new communication feature that allows brand owners (brand registered sellers) to contact customers who have leaved negative product reviews.
In order to contact reviewers, sellers go to ‘Customer Reviews’ under the ‘Brands’ tab.
On this ‘Customer Reviews’ page, you can see all of the product reviews in a chronological order.
For reviews of 4 to 5 stars, there is no option to contact reviewers, it says “Great job!” and “Reply no needed“, as you can see in the screenshot below:
For reviews of 3 stars or lower, you’ll have two options to contact the customer, Courtesy refund and Customer Support, as in the screenshot below:
Both options give you a non-editable message template in the first message.
Courtesy Refund Message Template
With the Courtesy Refund, as you can see below, you’ll offer the customer a Replacement or a Full Refund.
In this template, the sentence that instantly got my attention is the last sentence that says: “We hope that you give us another chance.”
To me, “another chance” can mean anything. It’s highly likely that the customer will perceive it as a suggestion to re-consider the brand in their future shopping.
I think rarely customers will think about coming back to their order history and changing the reviews from negative to positive.
Customer Support Message Template
With the Customer Support contact option, in the message template, it mentions the date and the content of the review to remind the customer about their review, and offers to resolve the customer’s issue or concern about the product.
And particularly, at the end of the message, it tells the customer that “please note – sellers are not allowed to ask for a customer’s personal information including email or phone number: and you are not expected to change your review due to this outreach or any potential resolution.”
Below are my takeaways after trying both contact options.
Non-editable message template at the initial contact point
First of all, you’re given a non-editable message template at the initial contact point. So nothing you can do there. However, if the customer replies, you can draft your own message in the response to the customer.
With the Courtesy Refund solution, you’ll offer the customer either a replacement or a full refund.
If the customer has returned the product and got a full refund before, this courtesy refund is another refund that will be at your cost. Basically, you’ll refund the customer twice.
Furthermore, even after you refund the customer, you’re not allowed to request the customer to alter their review because this is against Amazon’s Seller-Buyer communication policy.
I found the second option, “Customer Support” messaging, gives sellers a chance to communicate more with customers.
Basically, you offer to address their concern, issue about the product without offering a full refund or a replacement in the first place.
If customers reply and share their thoughts, it’s a good chance for you to show appreciation and willingness to resolve the issue, and you can still offer a full refund or a replacement after all.
However, as I’ve mentioned, you’re not allowed in any form to ask the customer to change their review. In the message template, it says clearly that the customer is not expected to change their review due to the outreach or any potential resolution.
Will this feature actually help sellers improve their product ratings?
This is a feature that in theory, is good. However, it’s likely to benefit Amazon more in a way that it shows that Amazon cares about customers. Customers only know that they buy the product on Amazon and this is the offer by Amazon. They won’t know that this is at the Seller’s cost and they probably don’t need to know.
From the seller’s perspective, what matters the most is the possibility that the customer will give a second thought and alter the review. However, it’s almost impossible for sellers to express this in the messaging with customers.
And the chance that customers take the initiative to go back to their reviews and change them from negative to positive, is little to none.
So that’s my takeaway about the Amazon’s new courtesy refund feature.
What do you think about this? Have you got success with this new communication feature? Leave a comment below. I’m happy to hear your thoughts.