Impact of the Amazon Return Dissatisfaction Rate

Amazon sellers are experiencing difficultly with a new performance metric within the Amazon Seller dashboard called the “Amazon Return Dissatisfaction Rate”.

The latest metric, introduced earlier this week measures customer satisfaction on how customer returns are processed. The rating is based on the percentage of valid return requests that were not answered within 48 hours, were incorrectly rejected, or received negative customer feedback.

Sellers can expect to see one of three ratings for their new performance metric including:

    • Good – A green check-mark in this column means that the seller’s performance is meeting Amazon’s target for this metric.

 

    • Fair – A yellow exclamation point in this column means that the seller’s performance does not currently meet Amazon’s target for this metric. In this event, sellers should take steps to improve their on-time delivery to help avoid negative feedback and claims.

 

    • Poor – A red “X” in this column means a seller’s performance currently falls significantly below Amazon’s target for this metric. They should take immediate steps to improve their on-time delivery to help avoid negative feedback and claims.

 

The Return Dissatisfaction Rate consists of three individual components:

    • Negative Return Feedback Rate
    • Late Response Rate
    • Invalid Rejection Rate

 

Negative Return Feedback Rate

Negative Return Feedback Rate is the percentage of valid return requests that have negative buyer feedback. For every return request, Amazon asks buyers if their return was resolved. If they indicate that the return was not resolved, the return request is considered to have a negative feedback.

Late Response Rate

Amazon sellers must respond to return requests from buyers within 48 hours. If within 48 hours of receiving the request they do not authorize the return, provide a refund, or close the request, Amazon will consider this a response late.

Invalid Rejection Rate

The Invalid Rejection Rate is the percentage of in-policy return requests that are incorrectly rejected. If a return is in-policy, the buyer should receive a full refund, have their request authorized, or have their issue resolved so that they no longer desire the return.

If one of these criteria is not met, Amazon considers the return to be incorrectly rejected. If the seller resolves the buyer’s issue without a return, they can use the appropriate close codes (listed below) to indicate this.

Pro-Tip: Sellers should mark the order refunded if they have already issued a refund.

Close codes to resolve without a return

If the buyer requests a return but the sellers is able to resolve their issue without processing a return, they must choose one of these appropriate close codes:

        • Cancelled at buyer request
        • Replacement without return
        • Solved a technical issue
        •  

If the sellers chooses to refund the buyer and doesn’t require a return, the seller can choose one of these appropriate close codes:

        • Refund without return
        • Previously refunded

 

3 Ways Sellers Can Reduce Negative Feedback:

According to Amazon there are several steps sellers can take to reduce their changes of receiving negative feedback:

1) Choose to automatically authorize returns – Amazon sellers can automatically authorize all requested returns within a set number of days or just those requests that are in-line with Amazon’s return policy. This may reduce their chance of receiving negative feedback.

2) Check for return requests daily – Failing to respond to a return request drives the highest rate of negative responses. Ignored requests are more likely to get a negative response than approved requests.

3) Respond quickly – Taking a long time to respond is a key contributor to negative responses. Taking more than two days to respond makes it more likely that a buyer will leave a negative response compared with a reply on the same day.

Expert Insight On The Amazon Return Dissatisfaction Rate

“This is interesting and definitely something new. It’s in line with how Amazon obsesses about the customer even if it makes life more challenging for merchants,” Pat Petriello Senior Marketplace Strategist at CPC Strategy said. pat-petriello

“It looks like the return dissatisfaction rate is based on requests which were not answered in 48 hours. Even if it takes a seller longer than that to get the return label from their vendors, they can still honor the request within 48 hours and then pass along the return label once they have it.”

“If a customer really wants a return or a refund on Amazon, there’s almost no way to stop them from getting it, so I would see no benefit for a sellers to wait beyond the 48 hour window Amazon has established.”

The main concern among sellers is accruing negative feedback even if they technically follow all of Amazon’s return policy procedures correctly.

For example, what if a customer request a return (past the 30 day return policy window)? While a seller can close out the return request due to “return date expired” when an Amazon rep contacts the customer directly asking if the return request was resolved technically couldn’t they click “no” and that would be counted as “negative return feedback”? It can be assumed most customers will not be happy with the seller – even if the seller states the window for an acceptable return has expired. 

“Whether or not to return/refund after 30 days simply comes down to cost/benefit for a seller. If they don’t choose to honor returns beyond that time, they increase the likelihood of incurring negative feedback, and this will always be the case. If they expand their window beyond 30 days, there will be a cost in incremental returns but also less negative feedback. This falls under the general theme of differentiating strategies on Amazon due to customer expectations,” Petriello said.

For example, on an e-commerce website, a 30 day return window might seem more than reasonable, but shoppers on Amazon are very particular and they expect to get everything they want including the lowest price, fastest shipping, best customer service.

“Amazon incentive is to push their merchants in that direction to continue to raise the bar for the standard service level, and it might just make sense for a seller to offer a longer return window on Amazon.com than they do on other channels as a reactionary measure to the differentiated customer expectations there. At the end of the day, they are probably going to have to offer the refund/return anyway, it makes sense to build goodwill and avoid negative feedback in the process.”

For more on Amazon’s Return Dissatisfaction Rate, email tara@cpcstrategy.com

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About the AuthorTara graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Journalism / Business. Her passion for creative publishing and quality reporting landed her work opportunities at several companies in Massachusetts, New York and California. She is a leading voice behind CPC Strategy’s Blog. See all posts by this author here.