Practical Ecommerce

Every Amazon A-Z claim is a failure in customer service

Every Amazon A-Z claim is a failure in customer service. I could have avoided every one of the claims filed against my company, no matter how unfair it was.

An Amazon A-Z claim can cost your company thousands of dollars. Too many claims could cost you your business. Regardless of fault or blame, regardless of right or wrong, an Amazon seller is better off having zero claims.

It all comes down to a customer’s perception. I cannot state this enough. The customer’s perception is the only thing that matters. This is the true meaning of an old saying: “The customer is always right.”

Check the listing

It starts with the listing on Amazon. You need good pictures, a good title, and a clear description that includes dimensions. This minimizes the instances whereby customers order a product, and then decide (after it arrives) that it’s not what they wanted.

When Amazon changes the title, picture, or description, make sure the change is better. Otherwise, insist that Amazon reverse the change.

For every Amazon order, carefully check what you are sending versus what the listing says about the product. Don’t assume that the catalogue entry has not been changed. Don’t assume that the catalogue entry properly matches what you are sending out. An extra 30-second check could prevent an A-Z claim if you find a discrepancy. You do not want to unwittingly send out something that differs from what the customer expects.

How to remedy

If the catalogue entry is significantly different from the product, contact the customer immediately, before you send the product. Describe the difference and obtain her agreement to continue before you dispatch.

If the difference is insignificant, or the customer does not reply promptly, enclose a letter with the shipment pointing out the difference and explaining why it occurred. Also, enclose a return label so that the customer can return the goods easily. This letter, properly worded, could cover 90 percent of such cases. It tells the customer that you have checked the order, cared about getting it right, and hopefully struck the right balance of delaying the shipment to consult with him.

When a customer emails with a problem, how you respond is vital. Reply immediately and, where possible, fix the problem. All too often generic replies acknowledge the problem, apologize, and offer meaningless platitudes or a future discount. But they fail to actually correct the problem. Every reply should be reviewed by a peer to confirm that it answered the customer’s question and there is a mechanism in place to ensure promised corrections are done. It is especially important to review the message history. Nothing annoys a customer more if you appear to be starting the conversation afresh every time.

My experience as a consumer

For example, I have recently had a spate of order problems — as a consumer — with Amazon. I ordered items using Amazon Prime and selected next day delivery. When an order did not arrive and I received a text saying “delivery attempt failed, you were out” whilst I was sitting there waiting for it. I naturally complained. I then received a bland “sorry, but it will be delivered tomorrow” email. A standard “sorry” email is the last thing I wanted to see. I would have preferred an explanation of what went wrong, an assurance that it will be delivered (and how), and then actually receiving the goods.

I definitely understand that the additional work of comparing each sale with the product listing costs money. But so does losing the Buy Box, or being suspended. If you send hundreds of orders every day, you likely have a pick list with, presumably, multiple orders per product. In that case, check the Amazon listing only once per product — not once per order.

A merchant cannot please every customer. Some customers will complain regardless of the product or the merchant. Some will be dishonest. The trick is to ignore the merits of the issues. Identify those high-maintenance customers early on and refund them in full as soon as possible, before they raise an A-Z claim.

So take a good look at your processes for selling on Amazon. Think about it from a consumer’s perspective. Get it right the first time, every time.

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  1. Jeremy November 28, 2017 Reply

    Hi Richard
    Thank you for a good article!
    I have like 5000 products on Amazon. Because of errors in listings (which is basically not my fault), customers return products pretty often. Do you or anybody else know the fast way to check the listings for errors? May be some soft or any other options?
    Thanks in advance !

    • Gin November 29, 2017 Reply

      Not sure if such soft exists.
      I’m afraid you have to check each listing by yourself. If you don’t have a time for it, the only option will be to hire someone, who can do it for you. There are plenty of outsourcing agencies on the web who can manage account for you.

      Check the Union Progress, i use their services, they are pretty good, or just google something like “amazon account management”, I’m sure there are tons of such companies on the web

    • richard stubbings December 7, 2017 Reply

      Also you need to stop that “not my fault” attitude. The customer does not care why the listing does not match your product and will expect to get what they think they have ordered.

  2. Erin December 1, 2017 Reply

    As a seller we have had issues recently with fraud as A-z Claims. The “customer” purchases the product, it’s delivered, we receive an email through Amazon from the “customer” saying “Where’s my stuff?”, we reply to the customer with info but never get a reply from them, and the “customer” files an A-z Claim that Amazon always sides with the “customer” even when the info in the “customer” account has changed since the order was placed, usually the Ship To address differs.

    • richard stubbings December 7, 2017 Reply

      If you get missing delivery claims, do you send parcels tracked? Do you have delivery confirmation? Do you take a screen print of the customer delivery address and information for each order? Do you have a record of the shipping weight and parcel dimensions?

      What I am in effect asking is do you have evidence that you shipped what they ordered to the address they provided and have delivery confirmation? If not then don’t wait for the A-Z, just refund straight away.