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Amazon Policy Warning For Buyer-Seller Contact Response Times

This is the one I know you’ve been waiting for… Looks like Amazon are about to start enforcing the Buyer-Seller Response times to buyers as a measured metric on your Amazon dashboards.

If you missed the Amazon Price Parity article a few days, you can find it here, as Amazon appear to be focusing on 3rd party sellers this quarter.

Amazon Policy Warning Email

Below is the email being sent out from Amazon, you might have one of these too this morning:

Dear Seller,

Buyers tell us that receiving timely responses from sellers to their enquiries is an important contributor to their overall satisfaction with an order. Our research has shown that sellers who respond to 90% or more of their messages within 24 hours have nearly 24% less negative feedback than sellers who take longer to respond.

To help make your Amazon Marketplace transactions successful, we recommend that you respond to buyer enquiries within 24 hours. You can access buyer enquiries by clicking the “Messages” link in the upper-right corner of your seller account home page. Copies of messages are also sent to the e-mail address associated with your account.

You can monitor your average response times on the Customer Metrics page of your seller account. Your Buyer-Seller Contact Response Time metrics are located at the bottom of the page.

For more information on how response time metrics are calculated, search on “Contact Response Time Metrics” in our online seller Help.

The following are some best practices for achieving a great response time metric:

– Regularly monitor your response time metrics.
– Check your seller account for messages every day, including at the weekend.
– Mark messages you have read but not responded to as “unread” in your e-mail client.
– Use a Contact Response Management (CRM) system to track enquiries.
– Let buyers know if a question or issue will require additional time to research.
– If you receive the same questions on a regular basis, consider creating a document with prepared answers.

Regards,

Amazon Services Europe

Account Screenshot

I’ve included a screenshot from an account that has had this policy warning. You’ll notice that the account is in really good standing except for the communications rate, which appears to be an ongoing issue.

Note: No apologies for the blurred areas. You don’t need to know these values & Amazon employees read this site (hola!).

Amazon Policy Warning Buyer Communication Time

What is an Issue Is…

While I’m not going to argue with the statement that sellers who respond quickly to emails are more likely to have less negative feedback, that makes sense and the business in question could work on decreasing the response times, as it will have a wider benefit other than not having policy warnings from Amazon.

What is an issue is:

  1. Weekends are included in this rating
  2. Even if a customer says “Thanks”, the message needs to be marked as “not needing a response”

These two issues are real problems for businesses that are closed on the weekends and even just one day, they could easily score a closed response for a buyer just saying “thanks” if they were there, but if they’re not and have some form of life-work balance, it’s being missed.

An obvious idea is to set up an auto responder to reply to Amazon questions quickly, but I’m sure it won’t take Amazon long to start blocking such responses or to add that as a violation too.

I’ve had a couple of these forwarded to me this morning (it appears to be a mass mailer from Amazon)  and have checked a couple of Amazon Seller Central accounts, they ALL have yellow values for response times and found another one that was showing red as well. I’ll work with the businesses that have sent this to see what underlying processes can be altered to tackle this on a long term basis.

In the comments area I have added a note around the policy page for “Customer Response Time metrics”, you can view the page here https://sellercentral.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/200549770/ref=im_200549770_cont_200549770 and an interesting quote is:

Will response-time metrics be used in seller performance evaluations?
Response-time metrics are not normally reviewed during seller performance evaluations, but we may review these metrics if a Seller Account shows extremely poor performance in other areas. Note, however, that customers who do not receive timely responses are more likely to leave negative feedback or to file claims, which will affect your performance metrics directly. It is therefore important to review these response-time metrics regularly.

I do wonder if this is going to change in the next few weeks…

Check Your Amazon Account Now

You can check your Amazon Seller Central account here:
https://sellercentral.amazon.co.uk/gp/customer-experience/summary.html/ref=ag_custmetric_dnav_home

What do You Make of This Warning?

  • Have you had a policy violation as well this morning?
  • How do you you cope responses at weekends, when there is no-one in the office?
  • Is your account Red or Yellow for the Buyer-Seller Contact Response Time?

Let me know in the comments box below.

I Am Failing At… Email!

Email, Email, Email, Email, Email, Email, Email, Email!!!

Time to rewrite the book on email usage for me and this completely down to me failing badly at answering email in a sensible amount of time. Ironically you probably have the reverse of this  problem and are addicted to answering email in nano-seconds.

Failure is OK, but not recognising it and then not doing anything about is insanity.

Quick Background

One of my tasks for last week was to reach out to those I felt were “fab” and tell them so. Trust me I got some odd replies, however one was Chris Ducker from virtualbusinesslifestyle.com.

I’m not going to include what I wrote and only part of his reply, put it this way I’d have not replied to it and credit to the chap, he did.

This was his reply:

Hi Matthew

[content here]

Thanks again, and stay tuned – lots of great stuff coming up!!! :-)

C

————————————————————-
Q: Why is this email 3 sentences or less?
A: Click here to find out!
————————————————————-

Chris C. Ducker
Virtual CEO
@chriscducker

The main contents of the reply is irrelevant to this article, what is, is in the link here:
http://www.virtualbusinesslifestyle.com/my-three-sentence-rule/

Quote:

The Solution
Although receiving and replying to email is an important part of my business, I feel it should not BE my business. So, I now treat all email from this blog like SMS text messages from friends. Since it’s too hard to count and limit myself to a number of letters, I simply count sentences instead.

The maximum of three sentences.

What I am Now Doing?

Anything has to be better than what I am doing & where I’m at now with email (which is a backlog & a mess).

I have been failing badly and this may actually work! So if you get three sentences in a reply, you now know why and who’s responsible.

Image source

Your Invitation to ‘Connect’ with Matt

I do not run a ‘product’ based company. Doing so would cloud the line between consultant and competitor. As such I am able to uniquely leverage 10 years of experience over two software providers. that of many past & present clients, to adapt, mould processes and drive results to suit your unique business requirements.

There are a number of online channels out there that are all aimed at keeping people in touch, I’d like to virtually ‘connect’ with you and there are a couple of ways you can do so.

Note: I would have included a video with this to make it more personal, however its out on loan currently.

LinkedIn

I’m a big LinkedIn fan, its like the adults version of Facebook.

You can connect me here http://uk.linkedin.com/in/matthewogborne

Twitter

I have a few Twitter accounts, the main one I use is @MatthewOgborne and the original one is @LastDropofInk and I monitor them both most days. Also you’ll see specific messages on each account too.

YouTube

As you may have noticed, there is a distinct move on my part towards using video content more and mopre here. Its a very personal medium and you’ll literally be seeing a lot more of me!

You can subscribe to my YouTube channel here http://www.youtube.com/user/matthewogborne

Google+

I must admit, I’ve not paid Google+ much attention yet, mainly because I am focused on other sites. However the messages you’ll find here from me are both personal & business related.

Facebook

I’m also on Facebook or rather this site is.

You can find the LastDropofInk Facebook page here, I need to update it after the design change here and will be doing so later this week.

RSS & Email

Did you know that you can have the latest posts delivered straight to your inbox using Feedburner, a free Google App? No, well you do now!

Go to http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheLastDropOfInk and hit “Subscribe with Google”.

Also I have an ongoing mailing list, you can subscribe at the top of this page on the right. I keep communications to a minimum and tend to use it to grab feedback before a large article or event, like the Webinar I held last week.

You can of course just interact by leaving a comment on an article here that you’ve liked, if only yo say “hi”.

That’s it, I look forward to ‘connecting’ with you!

Matt

People don’t want Email they Want ME-Mail – Seth Godin

Seth Godin a complete genius in my eyes. I’m current reading his book called ‘Tribes, We need you to lead us‘ and it is, he is, amazing, correction, the correct word is ‘remarkable’.

I’m going to keep this article short, but don’t think you’re going to be lucky today, I’m leaving you with three videos from Ted.com, grab yourself a cuppa and watch these. They’ll be the most well spent 20 minutes of your entire week. Well, besides calling me on (0)7527 680 153 to help grow your business.

There are too many brilliant quotes to list them all here, but look out for this quote:

People don’t want Email, they want ME-MAIL. Me Me Me Me Me Me Me Me Me-Mail

Think about it, I want, as you want, to read email that is about you. Me Mail. Oh and the purple cow. Oh and the Lava lamp. What am I talking about? Watch the videos.

Seth Godin on the tribes we lead

Seth Godin: This is broken

Seth Godin at Gel 2006 from Gel Conference on Vimeo.

Seth Godin on standing out

Would you go?

Well would you, would you go and see a massive lava lamp? Pretty remarkable eh?