Customer Support on Amazon – How to Level It Up?

In today's issue of our newsletter, we will focus on an extremely important, yet often underestimated, aspect of selling on Amazon - customer support. We will recall the scope of the seller's responsibilities, depending on the chosen logistics model, and we will also analyse key indicators in detail. The article also includes 10 valuable tips that will help you optimize customer support on Amazon. Interested? Keep reading!
Customer Support on Amazon – How to Level It Up?

1. Introduction: Customer Support on Amazon

Providing excellent customer support is one of the key factors in a marketplace seller’s success. Timely and effective communication with consumers can help build trust. They will also prevent negative reviews and build long-term relationships with your target group. The first, extremely important step is to become familiar with the platform’s regulations in terms of customer support standards (there’s more to that, but today we will focus on this aspect).

Marketplaces usually pay special attention to four issues:

1. Response time to an inquiry – usually, it is precisely specified in the regulations. On Amazon, it is a maximum of 24 hours from the moment the consumer submits the inquiry. At the same time, the American e-commerce giant encourages responses as soon as possible, offering better positioning of the seller’s products in return. For comparison – on Kaufland, you are supposed to respond to the buyer’s message within 48 hours.

2. Number of messages in a thread – although it is usually not precisely defined in the regulations, Amazon warns against sending too many messages to the buyer. Otherwise it may temporarily limit the seller’s ability to send messages to this specific customer. In turn, Cdiscount and Kaufland calculate a secret indicator of the number of entries per thread, exceeding which may even result in a blocking of the sale.

3. Handling returns – on Amazon, there are time limits for accepting the return of goods, as well as the refunds. It’s a very extensive thread that we have comprehensively presented in the article available at this link.

4. Delivery time and quality – another important aspect is the timely delivery of the product in perfect condition. Exceeding 1% ODR (a comprehensive discussion of this indicator can be found in the third point of the article) in sales on Amazon causes the risk of blocking, while on eBay a result in the range of 1–2% only causes the Seller to move from the average category to the “below average” one.

When selling on Amazon, your account is regularly classified based on statistics. Therefore, ensuring that your activities comply with current rules is crucial to success on the platform.
According to the expert commentary by Damian Wiszowaty, CEO of Gonito, recently published in the guide Direction: cross-border e-commerce:

“Product value and customer experience during the purchasing process are the basic factors that begin the long-term process of building consumer loyalty to the brand. While in your own online store you can establish customer support rules independently (taking into account the limits of local law, of course), on marketplaces, the rules of conduct in customer experience must regard the limits set by the regulations of a given platform.

Regardless of the marketplace type, preparations for starting sales should primarily include verification of the minimum customer support standards, as well as the maximum benefits offered for exceeding the standards. Thanks to that, when starting sales on a given platform, you know what service standard will be the most efficient choice in relation to the costs generated by customer support. As the popular saying goes, it takes months to find customers and seconds to lose one. In marketplace sales, the appropriate selection and preparation of the team, both in terms of professional knowledge, availability and foreign languages, allows you to offer service that will build true customer loyalty.”

2. Logistics model and responsibilities related to customer support

Depending on the chosen logistics model, the seller bears different responsibilities regarding customer support. In accordance with the classic FBA vs. FBM discourse:

1. The FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon) model. It allows entrepreneurs to transfer the large part of responsibilities related to customer support – including handling returns – to the Amazon team. By placing your goods in the platform’s distribution centre, you also gain customer support. Thanks to that,you reduce your own expenditure on communication with consumers.

2. The FBM (Fulfilment by Merchant) model. It obliges sellers to send packages from their own warehouses, thus leaving the obligation to communicate with buyers and handle returns on the entrepreneurs’ side. When selling on foreign markets, every effort should be made to adapt customer support to local cultural requirements while maintaining particular attention to linguistic correctness. Therefore, it is worth considering hiring people who speak specific languages at the level close to the native, reducing the risk of negative reviews. Additionally, as an entrepreneur, you should find out whether your logistics meets Amazon’s strict requirements. If not, you risk having your account blocked and being unable to sell.

3. Key Metrics:

Below, you’ll find a summary of the most important metrics related to customer support on Amazon:
ODR (Order Defect Rate) – defective order rate:
  • it’s the most important metric of customer support level on Amazon,
  • it should be kept below 1%,
  • it is calculated based on the last 60 days.
What are the consequences of exceeding ODR?
  • loss of buy box for products from defective orders,
  • account suspension (in the worst cases, even deletion),
  • withholding of payments towards refunds to customers.

How is ODR calculated?

The sum of A to Z Guarantee Claims, negative feedback and credit card chargeback claims, divided by the total number of orders in the last 60 days, indicates the current value of the Order Defect Rate.


2 x (A to Z Guarantee) + 1 x (Negative Feedback) / 100 orders = 3% ODR

Please Note:

If you receive A to Z and negative feedback for the same order, they will be counted as one factor, not two, as they only apply to the same order.

What is the A to Z Guarantee?

It is a consumer protection tool that covers on-time delivery and proper condition of purchased items. The customer can file a claim within 90 days of receiving the order.

1. Examples of valid reasons for a refund under the A to Z Guarantee::
  • the item did not reach the buyer within 3 days of the last estimated delivery date,
  • the item did not arrive, but the tracking ID indicates that it was delivered,
  • no refund despite the Customer sending the item back,
  • the item received by the Customer was damaged, defective or significantly different from the description,
  • the Customer did not pick up the order.
2. Automatic acceptance of claims under the A to Z occurs when:
  • the order did not have a tracking ID option,
  • the Customer did not receive a return address/label within 48 hours, despite contacting the seller regarding the delivery or reporting the desire to return the ordered product,
  • the shipment or delivery of the order was not completed within the expected time.

Regardless of whether Amazon decides A to Z in the customer’s favour or yours, the mere fact of opening a claim counts towards ODR statistics.

Return request:
  • a request for a return that can be submitted by any buyer,
  • the seller must respond to the return request within 48 hours,
  • after 48 hours without any prompting from the seller, the buyer can apply for a refund under the A to Z Guarantee. It will be decided in their favour.

Credit card chargeback rate:

This occurs when any of the following conditions are met:

A chargeback has occurred:
  • This occurs when a cardholder contacts their bank to dispute a charge for an order.
A chargeback claim has been filed::
  • This can be filed by a customer for a variety of reasons, from non-receipt of a product to unauthorized use of a credit card.

Who is responsible for a chargeback?

1. The seller – when it is related to a service, such as non-delivery of a product.

2. Amazon – when the cause is payment fraud, such as credit card theft or attempted payment fraud.

How to prevent chargeback claims?

Use the shipping address provided by Amazon:
  • In case of disputes initiated due to parcels being shipped to an incorrect shipping address, the merchant is responsible.
  • Retain information for at least 6 months from the date of order placement: the date the order was shipped, the shipping method used, and any tracking information available.
  • Use the delivery service with confirmation of receipt for valuable goods.
  • Use a shipping method with a valid Tracking ID.

    Factors that do not affect ODR but are important for the quality of customer support:

    Voice of the customer:
  • a type of feedback about the product or listing,
  • negative feedback can lead to the deactivation of the listing if you do not implement the necessary change related to the product (e.g. different packaging, missing part),
  • these opinions affect Customer Experience Health.

  • Invoice Defect Rate (IDR):
  • measures the quality of the invoicing process provided to Amazon Business Customers (Seller Business Price) who require invoices or receipts for tax and accounting purposes,
  • IDR is the percentage of orders for which an invoice was not sent by midnight on the first business day following the day on which the order was confirmed to be shipped,
  • working days = Monday to Friday (including public holidays),
  • required indicator level – below 5%,
  • may be treated as a basis for blocking the sales account.

  • How to deal with negative reviews?

    Feedback – an opinion about the seller:
  • The buyer has 90 days from the date of purchase to leave feedback,
  • it can be deleted by Amazon or the buyer within 90 days from the date of its posting,
  • after the indicated period, negative feedback can no longer be deleted.

  • When can the Seller report negative feedback to Amazon?
  • The order was processed using the FBA model.
  • Feedback is an opinion about the product.
  • The feedback contains offensive language or personal information, such as the seller’s phone number or email address.

  • Product Review – an opinion about the product:
  • it only concerns the product, not the seller or the course of the transaction,
  • Amazon automatically deletes reviews that do not comply with the regulations,
  • Such reviews are almost never deleted upon request or report (the opinion must blatantly violate Amazon’s guidelines and regulations).

  • What reviews are automatically deleted?
  • The reviews regarding inappropriate content, including hate speech and offensive language,
  • One-word reviews,
  • The reviews promoting illegal conduct,
  • Promotional reviews.

  • Reviews – what actions are prohibited on the seller’s side?

    1. Attempts to influence (or inflate) Customers’ product reviews and opinions.

    2. Paying and offering benefits to Customers (e.g. coupons or free products) in exchange for posting or deleting feedback/product reviews.

    3. Asking Customers to write only positive product reviews.

    4. Encouraging Customers to delete or change their product reviews.

    5. Only seeking reviews from customers who have had positive experiences with the purchase/brand.

    6. Reviewing your own products/reviewing competitors’ products.

    How to deal with negative reviews?

    Public reply – improving the seller’s image:
  • a public response to negative feedback that aims to explain the situation from the seller’s point of view.

  • The most important rules of public reply:
  • do not offer special discounts or promotions in exchange for removing negative feedback,
  • do not provide any private information about yourself or the buyer, including personal data such as contact details or payment information,
  • do not ask the buyer questions, do not start a dialogue – the buyer cannot respond to a public reply.

  • 4. How to take care of consumers on Amazon?

    10 tips to help you optimize customer support on Amazon:

    1. Respond to all customer inquiries in a timely manner, including on weekends and holidays. If the message does not require a response (e.g. “Thank you for the information”), be sure to mark it as “No response required”. (Remember that automatic responses are not considered correct).

    2. Take care of accurate descriptions and high-quality photos of the products offered. It is important that consumers receive goods that do not differ from those presented in the listing.

    3. Always try to send parcels on the designated date, while remembering to add a valid Tracking ID. In addition, you can monitor the progress of orders and keep the buyer informed.

    4. Check whether the goods leaving the warehouse are not defective and check the completeness of the package before sending. If necessary, respond to return requests as soon as possible.

    5. Always keep customers informed about what is happening with their order.

    6. Enable email notifications for seller reviews and product reviews in your Amazon Seller Central account. This way, you’ll be alerted when a customer leaves a review or rates your product.

    7. Make sure that the order you’re shipping is properly packaged (especially if the item is easily damaged).

    8. Don’t offer or accept payments outside of Amazon.

    9. Regularly check and update your inventory levels. If necessary, change the listing status to “Inactive.” Quickly cancel orders if you know you won’t be able to fulfil them.

    10. Always respond to Amazon notifications regarding claims and chargebacks within three days of receiving them.
Implementing the best customer support practices on Amazon is crucial to your success as a seller. By responding quickly and prioritizing customer experience, businesses can protect their brand image, avoid negative reviews, and build long-term relationships with consumers that drive sales on the marketplace.

Want to provide your customers with top-notch service while scaling your sales and promoting your brand to new markets? Contact us and trust our many years of experience in developing #e-commerce #cross-border!

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