During my many years at Amazon.com working merchant risk investigations, I would see regular messages from sellers about their dealings with Seller Support. I read the words “My Seller Support case was closed without having my question answered” more times than I could have imagined. Some sellers who had their access to the marketplace restricted due to violations of Amazon policies or poor performance suggested that they would have a better shot at success if Amazon’s teams supported them more. Other sellers would cite support case numbers to explain what went wrong, hoping that all internal teams shared information about their account. My team had the option to take the case information into account (on a case by case basis, naturally) when applicable. Ultimately, we had our own evaluations of performance metrics to do and established guidelines upon which we based our actions. Whether or not a seller received a second (or third) chance rarely involved much of what a seller had discussed with Seller Support teams.
Now that I am working with Amazon sellers from the independent consultant perspective, I see things differently. True, I still have some contacts on Seller Support teams to whom I reach out for assistance. I also contact Seller Support through Seller Central just as any seller would. In the course of those efforts, I have seen some crucial bits of information lost in the shuffle of messages back and forth. I have had some Seller Support members fail to read prior case annotations and ask me repeatedly to provide the same details. Other times cases have been prematurely closed after I had been promised a future contact with more helpful information. I have even heard Seller Support reps read to me straight from Help menu pages that I already had in front of me, despite their awareness that I knew these word for word and needed more support.
Amazon is also steering sellers to Twitter these days, presumably to handle the many questions and problems that could come up.
We’ll see how the Amazon Seller Forums and social media will cope with the many requests for assistance in the months ahead. In the meantime, I have included five Seller Support tips based on my consulting experiences.
1) Keep it simple and reiterate what you need to know or ask, whenever possible. If you can drive the main point home to Seller Support more than one time, they likely will enter better case annotations. Subsequent calls or contacts will pair you with a different support rep on a different continent, so clarity is the key here. This is all the more necessary if you have multiple cases opened around the same or similar topics.
2) Don’t mention unrelated questions or mix information between cases. You will be decreasing the chances that Seller Support will help you resolve either of them if the details become confusing to the rep annotating your case. They may merge follow up contacts into an existing case if they determine them to be related, and that may not help you at all.
3) Understand that depending on your issue, Seller Support may not have a ready-made, “one size fits all” answer. You may expect them to get back to you with someone who does but it could take more time than you had imagined. Even simple-sounding questions can quickly become more involved depending on the services, tools or teams attached to each. Expect there to be some time lag between the moment you ask and the moment you receive an answer.
4) Keep in mind, Seller Support reps may not have access to account annotations made by other teams, such as an action taken by Merchant Risk or Product Quality teams. For example, if you have lost the ability to list one ASIN due to a buyer item quality complaint, then you may only hear WHAT happened to your listing, and not much about WHY. The Seller Support rep you’re talking to might not have any additional detail. They’ll hopefully do their part to reach out to the team that took the action but Seller Support may not have the steps you need to take in order to resolve the problem.
5) Don’t lose your composure, however tempting it may be while communicating with Seller Support. One occasion, my Seller Support rep disappeared from an online chat only to copy and paste our entire exchange into the case annotations. When that happens, you haven’t resolved anything and you might have a little more explaining to do to the next Support rep.