How to handle negative reviews on Google, Amazon, eBay

How to handle negative reviews on Amazon, eBay, Google and social media

With so many channels and platforms where difficult customers have the chance to vent their fury, trying to manage all of them can be like trying to juggle with jelly. But with a step-by-step plan in place, handling negative reviews is just a question of deploying the right response, at the right time.

How to deal with negative feedback in Google reviews

There’s no doubt Google is a vital platform for any eCommerce business. How you manage your reviews really impacts how well you perform in Search. One analysis estimates that the quality of your native reviews is the number two competitive difference maker when it comes to search rankings, second only to the quality of your inbound links. Review signals make up 15% of Google’s ranking algorithm so managing your Google reviews is clearly important if you want to get to the top of Search and stay there.

Negative reviews needn’t damage your chances. Provided you reply to negative feedback quickly and personally, both Google’s algorithm and difficult customers will see your company in a good light. It is worth bearing in mind that Google judges reviews not just on the type or volume, but also on the quality. That includes quality of response, so avoid generic apologies and vague allusions to repair dates. Apologize, address the problem specifically using relevant order information but, of course, protect customer data. Keep sensitive information to a private exchange.

How to deal with negative feedback in Google reviews
Google reviews are very important for your company’s search visibility, so be sure to deal with negative reviews carefully!

Handling difficult customers on Amazon

In some ways, Amazon is a search engine like Google, only one dedicated purely to selling products. Amazon’s algorithm doesn’t just rank sellers’ goods by keyword, but also by relevance. And in relevance, it includes how well a seller treats their customers. This means customer reviews can have a big impact on that all-important Amazon Buy Box listing. So, it goes without saying that to be successful selling on Amazon, you want to make sure your company’s reputation is as positive as possible.

That being said, having to deal with difficult customers who leave negative feedback is a fact of life on Amazon, as it is on many other marketplaces. Those difficult customers need careful management as they have the power to influence how well your products sell on the site. That’s why it’s important to understand how to respond to a negative review on Amazon.

How to respond to a negative review on Amazon

The first step is to fix the problem, if that’s possible. Get in touch with the customer directly via the ‘Manage Orders’ function. Make sure you’re armed with all their amazon order details so you reduce any inconvenient back and forth that might upset a difficult customer even more. If the issue is resolved and the buyer removes the feedback, it’s a win all round.

However, if they don’t take down the feedback even though you’ve solved their problem, you can post a response so future customers can see you’ve done your best. New customers may judge you by how well you deal with a difficult customer, so remember to show your best self when you respond to negative feedback. Even negative reviews can encourage people to buy if they’re dealt with well.

Handling difficult customers on eBay

Your feedback rating on eBay is one of the most important factors behind moving your listing towards the coveted ‘Best Match’ position in search results. eBay makes no bones about how you go about doing that – “`Sellers who follow best listing and selling practices will see their items appear higher in the search results”. It goes without saying that great customer service is a big part of that.

But even the most diligent seller will have to deal with difficult customers on eBay at some point. You might attract negative feedback on eBay for any number of reasons. eBay negative feedback examples include a customer upset at not getting what they ordered, or an order arriving late.

Replying to neutral or negative feedback on eBay is straightforward. Go to the Feedback link and choose ‘Reply to Feedback Received’, clicking ‘Reply’ on the transaction in question.

If you become aware of negative feedback on eBay, a quick response can go a long way to calming a difficult customer. Make sure you are aware of as many of the facts as possible before you dive in, so being able to access your customer’s complete order history is a boon.

Even if there is ultimately no solution that will fully solve the customer’s original complaint, acknowledging their disappointment is often enough. However, sometimes difficult customers don’t behave fairly. If you believe a customer has either violated eBay’s feedback policy or is being unreasonable, you might want to consider looking into how to get negative feedback removed from eBay.

Handling difficult customers on eBay
Dealing with negative reviews properly on eBay can have a big effect on your sales numbers

How to get negative feedback removed from eBay

You can’t simply get negative feedback removed from eBay because you don’t agree with a difficult customer’s opinion. But a considered response can show other potential customers that you treat all customers well. However, you do have a right to have negative feedback removed if it violates eBay’s feedback policy, for example if it is unfair or untrue, and also if it was posted by mistake.

To get negative feedback off eBay, you first need to know what kind of negative feedback it was. Buyers leave negative feedback by mistake more often than you’d think. It’s clear that it’s a mistake if the comment they post doesn’t match the rating, or if details from their complaint don’t match your order records.

To get negative feedback left by mistake removed, use the Request Feedback Revision page, eBay’s negative feedback removal tool. A buyer can only revise their feedback within 30 days of purchase – another reason why you need to make sure you respond to negative feedback quickly.

If the buyer doesn’t respond, you can explain what has happened directly to eBay via ‘Report Feedback’ and eBay may step in. You can also use feedback revision if a customer has left genuinely negative feedback but you solved the problem to their satisfaction. For example eBay can remove negative feedback after a refund. But, you can only do this five times a year, so save it for the most potentially damaging ratings.

Dealing with customer complaints using an email template

As your volume of sales grows, it becomes difficult to respond personally in detail and immediately to every customer complaint. Yet speed is still of the essence. One way to handle difficult customers immediately and with attention to detail is to create a customer complaint email template that can be populated with information from your customer service system. Customizable message templates – such as those available in xSellco’s eDesk – have snippets that speed up your response by automating key details such as customer name, order details and more.

One of the best ways to structure a customer service email response is to follow Disney’s H.E.A.R.D. method. For the happiest place on earth, it still gets about 135m complaints every year. H.E.A.R.D. stands for:

Hear: Acknowledge what went wrong
Empathize: Show you understand how disappointing it is
Apologize: Saying sorry isn’t weak and can make a big difference
Resolve: Come armed with a solution where possible
Diagnose: Show you understand how it went wrong and why it won’t happen again

A typical example of an email response to an angry customer:

Subject: Sorry your {product didn’t arrive/was broken}

Dear {Customer Name}

We saw that {your order didn’t arrive/wasn’t as described}. We can appreciate that it’s really frustrating that {it wasn’t what you expected/has delayed your experience} and we’re very sorry this happened.

{what we can do to make it better} if that would help you? We looked into our {delivery process/website catalogue} and have discovered that {the courier has an out of date satnav/our database hadn’t been updated} and have fixed the issue.

We do hope this doesn’t put you off shopping with us again and if there’s anything else we can do to help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


{Customer service agent}

This is just one sample email reply to a customer complaint but you can anticipate all kinds of different scenarios and create templates to go so your responses can be fast, personal and effective.

How to handle complaints on social media

Social media, and Twitter in particular, have become the go-to platform for angry customers, even before they leave feedback on your site or in marketplaces. Companies that respond well on social media can often turn difficult customers into ardent supporters. Companies that don’t can often expect a pile-on from other angry customers.

An angry customer on Twitter expects an answer almost immediately, with 42% of consumers who complain on social media expecting a response within the hour. You need to be able to spot the issue, find a solution and respond quickly.

Handling social media complaints doesn’t mean the entire process has to play out in public. As soon as you identify an issue, invite your angry customer to join you in Direct Messages where you can have a private exchange. You may want to take them from there into a call if the issue is particularly complicated but the important thing is that the discussion isn’t playing out in public, giving everyone a juicy thread to read and judge.

If you have been able to resolve their problem and your challenging customer is now a happy one, it is worth popping back onto the public thread to post a reply saying something like “I hope we’ve managed to resolve your problem satisfactorily. Is there anything else we can do for you?”. This invites them to reply with some positive feedback about how well you dealt with their problem and followers can see how well you treat even the most difficult customer service situations.

How to handle complaints on social media
Angry customers often take to social media to voice their frustration. Handling this delicate situation correctly is crucially important,

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