Amazon ask sellers to respond within 12 hours

Amazon are asking sellers to join them “in providing delightful customer service this holiday season” by responding to all buyer messages within 12 hours, instead of the normal 24 hours.

Amazon say that “As customers complete their holiday gift shopping on, sellers should similarly respond quickly to customers’ order questions and provide swift resolution to issues they encounter. Our research shows that customers who receive responses to their questions within 12 hours are generally more satisfied than those who receive responses between 12 – 24 hours. This can mean fewer claims and less negative feedback“.

They also said that Amazon themselves makes every effort to respond to customer questions within hours if not minutes.

Whilst Amazon haven’t mandated the increase in customer service and said that your metrics will be marked down if you’re tardy in responding, they do have a point. If you shut your office and get a customer enquiry in the evening, it’s likely that they may well have purchased elsewhere (or took a gamble and purchased from you anyway), if they don’t hear from you until after 9am the next day when you’re back at work.

Having been a full time seller myself, I know how busy it is this time of year though. Do you think it’s reasonable to respond within 12 hours (including weekends), or is this one bit of advice from Amazon that you’ll be ignoring?

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That is absolute BS. We ordered off of Amazon an item on the Thursday before Black Friday and we are still waiting for the said item. We sent emails and they did not respond at all. So last Friday we called up and asked what was going on as the item said that it was still going to be delivered on Black Friday. It's not fair that Amazon are putting a KPI on us when they don't do this themselves....

Lisa • 7th December 2015 •

12 hours is a rubbish response time. Much effort, much prosperity.

Whirly • 7th December 2015 •

I'll always try and respond within an hour, I've also learned to do what Amazon do. They respond to an email thanking the buyer for the email and tell them you'll respond later. It is a bit hypocritical though. On the front Amazon seller page is a notice that any FBA enquiries "may experience long hold times". A relatively important message I sent Amazon early Saturday morning want answered until Monday afternoon.

Ross • 7th December 2015 •

Quite amusing. I paid for something via "Next Day Delivery" not long ago - it arrived x days later, after 3 unanswered messages. Amazon are not able to manage 12 hour responses despite multiple frightened staff attached to cattle prods.

Mark • 7th December 2015 •

I think yes it is to much to ask, we are not robots!! Most of us are working 14-15 hours a day at the minute! We don't all have bottomless pockets of cash like Amazon have. Plus most of Amazons messages are not answered by people in the uk!!! My biggest issue of all is having to answer messages on Christmas Day, FFS can we not have one day off????

Stuart • 7th December 2015 •

If you want a day off get a proper job.

Whirly • 7th December 2015 • by the sword....die by the sword. Enjoy your profits on amazon....enjoy xmas day answering emails

Derek duval • 7th December 2015 •

I never look at the computer on Xmas Day, but when I finally do, I'm amazed we have 70 odd orders and about 20 questions on the 25th Dec. You can imagine some of the questions...please get a life for at least one day of the year.

Geoff Mack • 8th December 2015 •

Amazon....what a joke. We work for 0 profits and work our staff to the max...we expect you to do the thx ill stick with ebay

Derek duval • 7th December 2015 •

As EBay barely employ anyone in the UK they can afford to be good to their staff. Amazon employ thousands of people many in poor economic areas. They're also getting their tax affairs in better order, unlike Ebay. I know neither companies are perfect by any means. I've also answered many messages on Ebay on holidays. Response time is more about increasing sales and customer satisfaction than making sellers jump through hoops. Although sometimes I wonder if this isn't an added bonus to some higher ups!

Ross • 8th December 2015 •

I like my weekends off for golf, football & pubs, not answering Amazon questions. However this is when your metrics can take a dive. So I do a quick logon & click on the "no answer required" option to protect the metrics and come back and answer them later. Not the sort of service Amazon are looking for, but I'm only paid 40 hours a week, so that's the way it will be.

Geoff Mack • 8th December 2015 •

It's perfectly valid to have an out of office email response. You can use it for Sundays or Christmas Day or whatever. That way your response times go up not down. It's something Amazon do on occasion.

Ross • 8th December 2015 •

Perhaps Amazon should reduce their ridiculous fees to cover extra staff and time this would take up. Would also be nice if they kept to this too on the customer and support side ... all sellers know that contacting their support is like walking through treacle !

Pete • 8th December 2015 •

This would be fine if Amazon practised what they preached. I had to contact them about an order that had a failed to arrive yesterday with Amazon Logistics, despite waiting in for it and then the tracking changed at 6.30 to say that they couldn't deliver it because I wasn't in which wasn't true. I contacted them and got the following automated email; Hello, We're contacting to let you know we’ve received your e-mail and will respond as soon as possible. Every year, we strive to offer you the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals Weeks. These two weeks have now become the busiest shopping period of the year. Please be assured that we've been working very hard to provide a reply as quickly as possible. Please accept our apologies for the delay, we'll respond with an update within 24 to 48 hours. Regards, Customer Service Department Talk about double standards! I eventually got a reply this morning that said the item I had ordered is currently listed as "Temporarily out of stock". When an item is listed as "Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we will deliver when available" this indicates that the item ordered is a little more difficult to source from our suppliers, so we can’t predict how long it’ll take arrive. After you place your order, we'll do everything we can to get the item for you. Unfortunately we can't provide a specific date as to when we expect this item to be in stock but rest assured we’re trying our best to obtain more stock to fulfil your order. As soon as we have more information, we'll e-mail you with an update. If you find that it takes too long for your order to be fulfilled, , you may cancel it at any time before it enters the dispatch process and you won't be charged. I hope this helps. We look forward to seeing you again soon. How can an item that is out for delivery be delayed because it is out of stock? Someone clearly doesn't know what they are talking about. Perhaps Amazon should consider suspending themselves or providing poor customer service and selling items that they don't have....

Gemma • 8th December 2015 •

I don't see the problem with this, surely we should all be trying to deliver the best customer experience possible? Very often if someone has an enquiry, especially one of a sales nature, it is absolutely worth getting back to them when their enquiry is hot, the longer you leave it the more likely they will find an alternative product, or even worse, another seller replies to their question sooner and you lose the sale anyway. It's not even a practise what you preach question, it's just a question of wanting to offer the best service possible, Amazon shouldn't even need to suggest that it is worth replying to customers in the shortest timescale possible.

Dan • 8th December 2015 •

I think it's great in principle, and certainly don't have a problem with it - our own average response time is 10 minutes at the moment. The issue I have is that sellers don't need to be told this - we all know the benefits of good customer service and have our own views of how we would like to be treated if we were the customer. I am frustrated because Amazon should be spending time getting their own house in order rather than stating the obvious to sellers just want to deliver their orders on time, and provide the best possible service whilst still being alive by Christmas! Sellers who don't already do this are prevented from trading on Amazon anyway - particularly at this time of year, so it really is a pointless exercise.

Gemma • 8th December 2015 •