An inconspicuous headline related to Amazon has caused many cross-border sellers to pay serious attention, as well as dominating the news headlines of major e-commerce platforms. “Policy Update: Effective December 3, Amazon prohibits sellers from using languages or emails that incentivize positive reviews or feedback!” Even stated, “Amazon has restricted seller communication with customers, making it impossible to explicitly ask for a positive review via emails…”
It is unrealistic and unreasonable for Amazon, an online e-commerce site that manages countless sellers and buyers worldwide, to entirely prohibit e-commerce sellers from contacting its buyers. This policy update has narrowed the window of communication between sellers and consumers, with a view to building a better specification for communication guidelines.
Amazon’s New Policy will go into Effect Stating 3 December 2019
Amazon aims at limiting communication between sellers and buyers, allowing only customer service inquiry and permitted seller messages but with multiple restrictions, including links, marketing or promotional messaging, product review or seller feedback requests, and email address requests, etc. Any violations will be immediately blocked by artificial intelligence robots, and in serious cases, lead to store-closing punishment. Sellers should not encourage or offer any compensation for positive customer reviews. Even if the seller would like to place a mini thank you card along with the product, the content of it should be picked wisely and cautiously. Otherwise, the related Amazon account will be at risk of being shut down when unexpectedly run into dissatisfied customers who love to complain.
The original clarification to communication guidelines has stated, “Effective 3 December 2019, a seller may contact its buyer only to complete an order or to respond to a customer service inquiry.”
In other words, e-commerce sellers must strictly abide by the regulations set by Amazon under its service ecosystem. Apart from a small window of communication between sellers and consumers, permitted seller messages, small cards, and consumer mobile numbers are all regulated by Amazon.
Among the remaining ways to communicate between sellers and buyers, there is still an uncovered mean to encourage 5-star customer reviews and reduce negative feedbacks: customer service representatives via toll-free numbers. The appropriate CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and customer service teams using toll-free numbers can transform every service opportunity to an opportunity to obtain positive customer reviews and improve feedback ratings.
Examples of customer service opportunities:
- Consumers call to inquire about how to use the product,
- Consumers call for inquiries about missing product pieces,
- Consumers call to complain about the wrong color or style of the product,
- Consumers call to complain about the product is not ideal,
- Consumers call to return the product, and so on.
Communicating with a customer service representative team after dialing toll-free numbers can deliver real-time solutions with a touch of affective emotions and warmth, presenting a smoother and more subtle customer service process that enhances overall customer satisfaction. Responding via emails will inevitably slip through some necessary information, or conveying messages incorrectly under complicated circumstances. In general, the email contents often lack a sense of softness and friendliness especially when the customer service representatives do not have the same mother tongue as the customers. For urgent matters, the customer service representatives can immediately answer the phone and appease the consumers, minimizing the possibility to receive negative reviews. Genuine overseas customer service scenarios encountered by Callnovo include: customers worried about the overheated battery of a hoverboard might lead to an explosion; customers had shocked and injured their dog with an electronic training tool. In the above cases, if the seller respond to the emails on the next working day in China, consumers might have already filed a complaint to the American Consumer Association or even have dialed 911, not to mention negative reviews on Amazon.
2. Revisiting Customers on Phone
Revisiting customers on the phone can turn negative customer experiences into positive ones, as customer service representatives can carry out pleasant communication directly based on the previous inquiry of the order. Imagine that consumers were delighted to try out the product again, after receiving assistance from the customer service representative regarding the awful experience of using the product. Two days later, they then received a call from the same customer service representative to ask for the degree of satisfaction, favorably providing an opportunity to encourage the customers to submit a positive review on Amazon. Most of the customers are likely to do it after agreeing on the phone. According to the statistics of Callnovo, 65% of American consumers wrote a positive review, and some even added product images, within 2-3 days after receiving the revisiting call from the customer service representative.
3. Accumulating Customer Data via CRM
Accumulating customer data using structured and refined CRM, in particular the problematic feedbacks received, is beneficial for long-term quality and function improvement.
4. Matching Customer Data with Negative Reviews on Amazon via CRM
CRM can automatically read and match negative reviews on Amazon to relevant customer data. Customer service representatives can then actively approach the customers, solve the problems, and improve customer reviews.
5. Automatic Speech Recognition via CRM
CRM: Speech-to-text capability, keyword query, artificial intelligence tags, efficient monitoring, and analysis of customer service data, including voice conversation content.
6. Communicating with Customers via photos and videos with Only One-click via CRM
CRM allows customer service representatives to communicate with customers via photos and videos with only one-click, simultaneously accessing their online orders. This could improve the overall feedback rate, and prevent customers from giving up to continue writing positive feedback simply because they cannot upload files.
7. CRM Synchronizes Data From All Platforms
CRM can improve management efficiency and accuracy by synchronizing data from all platforms, including Amazon, Shopify, and Facebook, etc.
Summing up, under Amazon’s communication guideline policy update effective on 3 December 2019, all e-commerce sellers should cope with shifting events by sticking to a fundamental principle that is to provide high-quality products with outstanding services. In terms of customer service, it is suggested to fully utilize professional customer service technology and resources, and to serve consumers earnestly and sincerely, so as to strengthen sellers’ brand name and develop long-term competitiveness.