In the past few days, we have noticed that Amazon now acts much stricter regarding its guidelines for commenting on reviews and answering product questions. This leads to many answers being deleted by Amazon, even those posted by brands.
Background: on Amazon, any user can write a product review or question. Within the community, anyone can comment on such a review and answer such questions (well, if you have an Amazon account and have made a purchase of at least EUR 50.00 within the past 12 months). Besides individual users, these comments and replies can also be made by vendors and sellers. Amazon promotes this as it wants to give users a superb customer experience – and whenever a brand replies to a review or question, this answer tends to be correct and thus helps the user by making his/her purchase decision.
Amazon guidelines: the Amazon guidelines regarding reviews and questions very clearly describe what you can and what you should not do when writing a review or question and also how to respond to these. You can find more information here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/forum/content/seller-guidelines.html and https://www.amazon.com/gp/forum/content/qa-guidelines.html
What did we notice? Amazon checks and deletes those replies more often lately, also those responses from customer services teams from vendors and sellers. Whenever a text violates the Amazon guidelines it is prone to be deleted. Examples include text that mention:
- Email addresses
- Phone numbers
- URLs (also URLs to customer support websites)
- And also link shortener such as bit.ly
On the one hand, it is understandable that Amazon wants to ensure that product questions are being addressed and answered on the platform itself. Amazon has always tried to foster this community vehicle on its platform. Consequently, Amazon does not want vendors or sellers to simply direct users to external websites (including customer support) to find a solution to the customer problem. Seemingly, many companies have violated the Amazon guidelines in this respect. That is why Amazon now seems to act much stricter in enforcing its guidelines.
On the other hand, the drawbacks of Amazon’s behavior are obvious: especially brands with professional customer service teams addressing these reviews and questions on Amazon very often use external links and phone number within the replies as they want to allow the customer to get in touch in various ways. This also includes links to user manuals etc. The motivation is to offer superior customer service to the user. When Amazon deletes these responses now, one can argue that Amazon does not act in favor of the customer.
Our recommendation: in order to avoid your text being deleted by Amazon you should strictly adhere to the Amazon guidelines. To enable your customers to directly contact your customer service teams, you have the following option: vendors can highlight alternative contact details within their Amazon profile and redirect to that page within the response text.
Furthermore, it is important to ensure that the response addresses the individual customer question / complaint. It is very likely that Amazon will also delete a response if it is only a standard copy/paste text.
Example for mentioning a customer service contact point within a response:
“Thank you very much for your review and letting us know about your experience using our product. We would like to [… your text addressing the problem…]. For any further questions, you can visit our Amazon profile to find our customer service contact details.”