Amazon is constantly changing the seller dashboard, adding new features, and changing the layout of how everything looks. This is nothing new—it has happened every year since I started selling on the platform. Some of the changes are purely visual, while others are more significant and can directly affect your business on Amazon.
One particular change was introduced to us earlier this year. It is called: Voice of the Customer. Yes, with a capital C, because the Customer has always been the number one priority for Amazon. Heck, that’s how they built their entire business: by carefully listening to customer feedback and doing whatever it takes to keep them satisfied.
Voice of the Customer is a new dashboard panel that is available under the main Performance menu. The feature is currently in BETA mode, so it’s not (yet) tied to the main Account Health metric, but I predict it’s just a matter of time before Amazon fully integrates this into their system.
Once that happens, we’ll have to do an even better job of delivering high-quality products AND describing them properly on our listing pages, as those are the two main “problems” that this new metric will reveal.
Let’s take a closer look at how it all works and what you need to do to stay compliant.
Voice of the Customer –
You can’t hide
The Voice of the Customer page gives us crucial data to better understand Customer Experience (CX). Apart from the publicly visible product reviews and seller feedback, this metric will include more “hidden” data that only Amazon had access to in the past.
This new metric basically counts incidents of Negative Customer Experience (NCX) for each product you sell in the last 30-day period. These incidents will include:
- Customer service contacts
- Product reviews
Amazon doesn’t reveal all the details here, and I don’t yet have enough data to verify this, but it seems that, currently, the main reason for getting an NCX is a customer who returns a product and indicates that product quality/misleading description was the reason for it.
As you can see from the screenshot, I currently have 18 listings that are in EXCELLENT standing, 4 listings in GOOD standing and 1 listing in FAIR standing.
Remember, this data is taken for the last 30 days, on a rolling basis, so these numbers will change all the time.
Further down the page, Amazon lists all the products I have for sale, with a CX Health metric next to each listing:
What’s more, you can click on the “See details” button to get even more information (if any is available):
For example, for this listing, it says I had one reported issue from a customer who stated there was an “inaccurate website description”. The same listing has another NCX. As you can see, it has TWO in total, but Amazon doesn’t reveal the reason behind that second NCX.
Still, since that item has sold 593 units over the last 30 days, my overall CX Health still stands at GOOD.
As far as I’m aware, right now, no matter what your CX Health rating is, there is no restriction on selling.
But as I said earlier, it’s only a matter of time before Amazon sets a minimum score. So, if you’re already seeing problems here, like Poor or Very Poor ratings, you should definitely investigate the causes and FIX them. More on that in a minute.
What’s also interesting is that Amazon says that they will compare your CX Health to other similar listings, which is only fair as some categories will have a much higher returns rate and higher customer dissatisfaction rate than others. I sell a super-simple product, so I don’t get many returns at all. My reviews are also generally very good, so I’m not too scared of this new metric.
On the other hand, if you sell, for example, clothing or some complicated, technical device with a high returns rate, you will most likely have to work even harder to improve your listing, get rid of false/misleading advertising/text and generally improve the customer experience, which is exactly what Amazon wants you to do.
How can Voice of the Customer IMPROVE your Amazon
I know that many people reading this will feel frustrated with Amazon for introducing yet another restriction/seller metric that makes life more difficult, but I don’t look at it that way. I look at this as a helpful tool that will allow sellers to better understand how Amazon evaluates our products and listings. Having access to this information should help improve our businesses. Here’s why.
This new metric doesn’t introduce anything NEW on the customer side of things. It’s not a new type of review or anything like that. Customers have been leaving reviews, feedback and sending returns for years. And up until now, only Amazon had all that data on us! They knew exactly which listings had a higher returns rate than average, which listings had misleading descriptions, and so on. And they were using this data in the ranking algorithm—there’s no doubt about that.
With this new tool, Amazon is simply sharing this data with us, so in my mind, it creates more transparency and should help sellers fix issues that were hidden in the past!
For example, sometimes sellers upload product images that are too good to be true. They use 3D renders that look unrealistic or highly Photoshopped images, etc. You might never even realise that this problem exists if people don’t mention it in their reviews, but now, with this new tool, if there is a problem, it will show up as the reason for customer returns (inaccurate website description) and you will be able to fix it.
Or, let’s say you sell a fragile item. In the “reason for a return” list, there’s an option for “The item is damaged, but the box or envelope is undamaged”:
If you get a lot of these, it means that you need to pack your item more securely to protect it in transit. Amazon won’t take the blame on this if the outside packaging is not damaged. It’s your responsibility to send securely packaged items to Amazon’s warehouse.
The same applies to defective items. If lots of customers return your items and select “defective” as the reason, something is wrong with your quality control procedure and/or supplier. Take a look at my Product Defects post to learn more about how to minimise product defects when importing goods from China.
Obviously, you do have to take the data with a pinch of salt here. For example, if, out of 1000 orders, one person says that your description is inaccurate, it’s probably not a big issue. By changing your images or description (taking out “marketing parts”), you may actually harm your conversion rate.
But if the percentage is high, then it’s likely that Amazon is already punishing your rankings for this reason, so it would be a good idea to fix the problem straight away.
All in all, I don’t think anyone should be too worried about the introduction of the Voice of the Customer metric. Remember, your listings will be compared to your competitors, so it’s your job to sell a high-quality product, describe it in a transparent way, and deliver a perfect customer experience.
What are your thoughts? How will this new feature affect your Amazon FBA business? Leave a comment below the post, and I will personally reply to you within 24 hours, Monday to Friday.
Also, if you’re bored this summer and haven’t started selling on Amazon yet, take a look at my Amazon Sharks program. It’s a step-by-step video course that will show you how to build a successful Amazon FBA business from scratch. I have a FREE 7-day trial available, so there’s no risk if you want to try it out.
We’re quickly approaching August, which is the last “slow” month of the summer. Then it’s September and Q4 is just around the corner. I’m so excited to see how it will pan out this year with the coronavirus, etc., but my prediction is that it will be HUGE! All the sales records for eCommerce will be broken, that’s for sure.