Why Neutral Feedback Is Anything but Harmless

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Chalkboard with eraser and pencils

 

 

 

It’s never a happy occasion when a customer decides to swing neutral feedback at you, then runs off into the nethers of cyberspace like nothing happened. Hard as it may be, you must swallow your pride, track down the culprit, ask for an explanation, and beg them to retract the feedback without sounding demanding or desperate.

Read our guide on why neutral feedback matters and what can be done to tackle it.

Every few months, we like to remind you how important it is to stock up on positive feedback either manually, or using specialized software, and how to nip negative feedback in the bud. But we’ve never touched on the issue of neutral feedback before. We’d like to make up for lost time by offering some insights into the importance of neutral feedback, and by sharing a simple formula to help you visualize your feedback goals.

Feedback Matters

To begin with, the feedback rating is a key metric used by Amazon to measure seller performance. Secondly, the higher the rating, the more confident a prospective customer feels about the possibility of placing an order. Thirdly, it’s like a business card: the first thing customers see on the Offer Listings Page, and a key factor for the algorithms that determine Buy Box eligibility and your visibility.

When you have to take on competitors the likes of Amazon or ‘just launched’ sellers who care more about making a sale than securing a profit, feedback volume and feedback score are the only two levers you can pull to tilt the balance in your favor.

To help you understand how important feedback scores and sales volumes are, we’ve outlined some of the formulas you can apply when setting your feedback goals.

Feedback Formula 4

 

     Image 1. Formulas to visualize order and feedback goals.

Neutral Feedback Affects You

Neutral ratings are what sellers like to call ‘faux negative’. They may look reasonable to the customer, but are harmful. Yet, when 40 million of Amazon’s customers are Prime members – that’s nearly 1 out of every 6 active users, according to DMR – it’s easy to see why everyone expects you to go above and beyond for 5, 4 or even 3 stars. Luckily, neutral feedback does not affect the internal ODR (order defect rate) like negative feedback does.

But neutral ratings pull down your feedback score, as shown above, and ultimately affect sales. Even so, you must meet your performance targets, but still respect the customer’s wish not to take Amazon’s calculations into account when leaving feedback.

Fortunately, unfair negative and neutral feedback are treated the same way by Amazon, so our tips for removing negative feedback stand, and they apply if:

Unfair feedback 2

     Image 2. Unfair Feedback Policy (adapted from Amazon Seller Central, 08.26.15)

But there’s one type of neutral feedback that’s especially damaging: the no comment feedback. Here’s why:

  • it still counts as negative in the feedback score
  • buyer doesn’t share the reason, so you’re in the dark
  • buyer may be unresponsive
  • buyer may refuse to retract it thinking it can’t really hurt the business
  • buyer may argue that the no-comment can’t logically discourage others from buying
  • you don’t have a ‘Resolve’ button, so you have some extra digging to do

No Resolve Button

     Image 3. No Resolve Button for Neutral Feedback ( Amazon Seller Central, 08.26.15)

We hope we’ve shed some light into the importance of maintaining a good feedback score and the means to do it, and that you won’t miss an opportunity to settle any outstanding issues with customers who you feel have undervalued your services.

Melanie

 

 

Melanie takes an active interest in all things Amazon. She keeps an eye on the latest developments, and keeps Amazon sellers up to speed.

 

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