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4 Benchmarks You Should Stick to When It Comes to Customer Service

By Tami Ben-David April 22, 2014
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About the Author

A British ex-pat, Tami been writing and content-strategizing for Israeli tech start-ups for the last 5 years. When she's not writing nerdy content, you can find Tami on open water charity swims or traveling to far-flung countries.

When?! Don’t you hate it when things are late?You arrive to a doctor’s appointment on time, only to be kept waiting for 45 minutes.

You arrange to meet a friend for lunch, and as you get to the restaurant, she sends you a text saying she’ll be there in half an hour.

Someone owes you money and takes forever giving it to you.

Being the receiver of lateness is frustrating, isn’t it? Especially when you know the delay could have been avoided. As an Amazon seller, being on time is crucial.

If you don’t stick to the timings you promised your customers, it can damage the relationship as well as impact your chances of winning the Buy Box.

If you’re going to be on time for just 4 things in life, make it these 4:

1. When do I need to ship an item by?

Obviously you should ship an item as quickly as possible. This is especially true for time-critical products, such as birthday cards and perishable goods.

However, take note that the quicker you send it, the better your chances of winning the Buy Box.

Amazon arrange shipping times into several brackets. Timings within each bracket have the same impact on the Buy Box as each other. The brackets are as follows:

      • 0-2 days
      • 3-7 days
      • 8-13 days
      • 14 or more days

While of course a customer will always appreciate you trying to improve your shipping time, remember that it is far more worthwhile for you to jump a bracket, rather than staying within the same one.

For example, if your average shipping time for a specific product is 5 days, improving it to 3 will be nice for the customer, but won’t make so much of a difference to you. Improving it to 2 days, however, will make you jump a bracket and will positively enhance your chances of winning the Buy Box.

2. When do I need to confirm a shipment by?

Customers want to know what?s going on with their order and, as such, like to see its status online.

Therefore it is important that you confirm the shipment by the expected ship date. If the confirmation is more than 3 days overdue, it will be classified as a late order.

Late orders cause unhappy customers and an increased likelihood of them contacting you with their complaints. It also affects your Perfect Order Percentage Score as well as your Delivery History Score, both of which impact the Buy Box.

3. When do I need to contact a seller who has left negative feedback?

Only an unhappy customer will leave negative feedback.

You certainly don’t want unhappy customers and you definitely don’t want negative feedback.

Negative feedback can be detrimental to your reputation as a seller and can severely lower your chances of winning the Buy Box. Therefore it’s one of the things you need to be monitoring constantly, and resolving immediately.

Investigate each case of negative feedback as soon as you see it, and work with the customer to improve his experience with you. You may want to issue a refund, ship a replacement item or even send a complimentary gift certificate.

Amazon suggest that you monitor your feedback every week, seeking to maintain 95% positive ratings and a score of 4.5 (out of 5) or higher.

4. When do I need to reply to a customer by?

A customer will usually only message you if there is an issue with the order or something they want to double check. They expect you to reply promptly and if you don’t, it can be very frustrating for them.

Amazon look at your response times in two ways, both of which significantly impact the Buy Box. Firstly, they check the average response time for the last 7, 30 and 90 days, and then they compare these times to competing sellers’ times. The last 7 days count the most.

How long you took to reply is also significant. Trying to respond to a customer within 12 hours is the best, and between 12 and 24 hours is considered okay.

However, if over 10% of messages were replied to after 24 hours, or not replied to at all, your chances of winning the Buy Box severely decrease.

Responding to every single customer message is vital, even if it just means checking ?Mark as no response needed? to acknowledge that you saw the message but no actual response is necessary.
Be on time and everyone gains.

Your customers are happy.

You’re happy.

And that Buy Box is even more within your reach!









This is the fourth of a five part-series on The Customer Service Guide for FBM Sellers.

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