Amazon has made a lot of changes to their buyer-seller messaging recently, with much of the recent changes still being in flux. A quick overview first: Amazon is constantly trying to shut down the barrage of sellers attempting to manipulate product reviews, seller feedback and redirect customers to their own websites through re-marketing. Amazon has stringent policies against it, but so far it’s only made those sellers more strategic to find ways to bypass the system. The result: even legitimate sellers get caught up in the bureaucratic hunt.
Amazon Begins 30 Day Buyer-Seller Message Restrictions
Many brands were surprised to find that they were being restricted upon receiving this notice, when they had not in fact violated any of Amazon’s actual stated policies. Previously Amazon had no issue with sellers sending attachments or links no necessary to complete the order, they could have been warranty information, assembly instructions or helpful tips.
It’s likely that all of this is being done by Amazon bots, and the Seller Performance team has been largely unresponsive to appeals, instead simply allowing sellers to run their 30 day restriction before allowing their email privileges to be reinstated automatically once the period had expired. So, what are sellers supposed to do if they need to contact customers?
Contacting Amazon Customers During Your 30 Day Restricted Period
If a customer contacts you first, you’re able to reply, there’s no issue there and your message won’t be blocked. But what if there are other needs that arise that require customer communication? Amazon provides a solution in the restriction email:
This means that you can use Amazon’s pre-defined templates to contact customers, Amazon is simply restricting sellers from sending their own custom messages, in order to avoid any further abuse.
How Can I Request Product Reviews While My Account Is Restricted?
There’s another workaround with Amazon’s new “Request a Review” button on each order. Currently, it must be done manually (a time consuming task) but allows sellers to request product reviews for the hundreds or thousands of orders processed during the end of Q4, one of the busiest times of the year for many brand owners. On the orders page you’ll find:
Click “Request a Review” and Amazon will send you to this final confirmation page:
If you have received a 30 day restriction I recommend that you temporarily pause any 3rd party feedback campaigns and review emails that are going out – like with FeedbackFive, until the restriction is lifted, to avoid accidentally sending duplicate requests to the same buyer (a violation of the newly implied policy of not requesting a review from a customer multiple times). You can also ask the FeedbackFive Customer Service team to perform an audit of any feedback emails you have going out to ensure that they’re TOS compliant and also avoid anything they see emails and accounts being flagged for.
“We are actively reviewing templates and campaign rules for TOS compliance, and working with Amazon to identify reasons for restrictions. We believe that clarity is coming soon, and in the meantime it’s important to be hyper vigilant in your messages to buyers. Your requests for reviews need to neutral. Let us know if you want us to review your template language. We are here to help!” – Liz Fickenscher, eComEngine
Can I Still Send Emails Asking For Product Reviews Or Seller Feedback?
One of the biggest updates in buyer-seller messaging states that, “You can contact a buyer only to complete an order or to respond to a customer service question.” That begs the question, is it still in line with policy to email customers asking for a product review?
Thanks to Ed Rosenberg for providing this helpful email from Amazon Executive Seller Relations that provided some temporary clarification on the matter of asking for reviews:
How Can I Find Out What Amazon’s Current Policies Are On Communication?
Glad you asked. Sellers can now Download our free Amazon Communication & Feedback FAQ’s with highlights from all of Amazons current policies with links to many of the most important policy pages across Amazon (including buyer seller messaging, product reviews, seller feedback, email attachments and more). Just click the graphic below and enter your name and email address below to receive this free PDF download.