Ambiguous Feedback is Not OK

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Glenn is one of Tamebay’s regular commenters and has been contributing to the site for many years. Today he revisits the topic of feedback and does it work as it should do?

Negative FeatAmazon and eBay both present similar arguments that negative and neutral feedback should be viewed as a method of improving performance and that sellers should learn from such feedback.

I don’t agree with this argument, but it’s their ball, their game and their rules.

When I receive the occasional negative I always try and get it removed either by contacting the customer or customer support if I consider appropriate. I have made mistakes and some negative comments have been justified, but often they are not and I try and put matters right with a replacement, refund or apology.

If the feedback comments are specific as to why the customer has left a negative or neutral I can address that issue. Lost, late, damaged in transit, excessive postage are all identifiable grievances and potentially resolvable.

Negative or neutral rating accompanied by comments such as OK, Fine, Alright, or a single “.” doesn’t give a seller anything to work with.

Having recently received a score of 3 (neutral) on Amazon my feedback score has dropped. The score of 3 was accompanied by the comment “OK”.

So what does OK mean?

OK is not a negative comment, but nether is it a positive. OK falls between the two and provides no useful information to the seller or potential customers.

If an Amazon customer stated “the product was OK” that could be removed on the grounds that it was a product review, but a simple OK doesn’t give a seller anything to work with.

Lazy comments such a “Ditto” or a single dot have no value whatsoever and no seller can improve the so called “seller experience” if they have no idea why the customer left a negative or neutral.

Feedback will always be a bone of contention for sellers, but if buyers were required to make a meaningful comment at the time of leaving feedback sellers would have some means of challenging the feedback or if appropriate addressing the issue.

In essence if the feedback is not a meaningful sentence it falls to meet the necessary criteria used by eBay and Amazon as justification for the feedback system and should be removed.

14 Responses

  1. Totally agree but don’t expect it to happen any time soon.

    The trouble is what do they replace it with, the new ratings box on Amazon is rubbish for me, I have 100% feedback but a low 84 rating on that because I have had to cancel 5 orders over the last 12 months. This is mainly due to me selling a lot of vhs tapes and when checking them before they were sent they were not suitable quality, which happens, but what should I do send them all without checking them and pray I don’t get negative feedback for them.
    I’m only a tiny seller so I don’t get enough orders and feedback to help raise it, the only way I can see is to send everything recorded delivery which is a waste of money, (for some reason myhermes tracking doesn’t seem to count as tracked with the new system) so I can only hope they do not switch over to the new rating system anytime soon.

  2. This is always the problem when morons are given the megaphone of free speech on the Internet.

    There is no comeback or restitution against a buyer who is disgruntled for whatever reason, and as we all know eBay’s DSRs are a joke as they don’t tell you anything about what the buyer perceives you’ve done wrong.

    The only thing we can do to a bad buyer is to not give him the positive feedback he doesn’t deserve.

  3. Disagree. The customer should be able to say whatever he wants as feedback, just because his comment does not describe the issue doesn’t make his feedback invalid either by eBay/Amazon rules or by common sense.

    I’ve bought things in shops or online before where it’s just been ‘meh’ both for experience and product. That’s how I feel, so that’s my feedback. if I feel indifferent about the purchase then ‘ok’ or no comment should be fine. The stars or neg/neutral will tell you enough.

  4. I find less and less buyers leave feedback at all anymore. Only the old timers bother.

    Because I no longer use eBay, sales are paid for immediately. I leave ‘thank you for your purchase’ feedback for the buyer as I process the sale. Nine times out of ten that is the end of it.

  5. The terminology used on a lot of feedback systems is bad. Receiving an item as described, undamaged, within the time frame expected should be the normal service, not “excellent”.

    Having an option of “satisfactory” as the expected option (possibly with an option above that for exceptional service) would be a good idea.

    For any less than positive feedback there should be a procedure to cancel the feedback if an appropriate comment has not been entered.


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