Reactive vs. Proactive
By: Lauren Barbera
Humans, are fallible, and the systems we build are also fallible. It is inevitable that a blip in our operations or policy adherence will happen because we are human.
When this blip happens, it can feel like Amazon engages in a parental-style finger-wag of shame as they ask sellers to provide a Plan of Action (POA). This stings, especially when it feels like the error was caused by something out of our control. Writing these POA’s can also be stressful and time consuming, which can be an added frustration when you feel this time could be better spent running other aspects of your business.
I can hear you thinking “But we fixed the blip as fast as the blip could be fixed! How could I have known there was an imminent blip?!”
Is Amazon asking for us to divine the future before it happens?
The answer is both yes and no.
Amazon fully understands that problems will occasionally arise that impact operations. The recent AWS outage is a great example.
However, if it is any consolation, Amazon forces its own internal teams to provide Plans of Action when they’re responsible for a problem impacting operations. They call them “Post-Mortem COE” (Correction of Errors). They hold their own feet to the fire as much as they do so with sellers.
The long and short of it is
Amazon knows, down to an approximate dollar amount, how much service and policy failures cost them in terms of current and future buyer behavior. Buyers don’t know you’ve fixed the blip, and they don’t care. All they are concerned with is that the widget they ordered did not arrive, was late, different than expected, in a lesser condition than expected, or they suspect the widget is inauthentic.
Amazon has been able to quantify all of those experiences in terms of dollars spent after the ‘Widget blip event’.
So, Amazon has decided they do not want buyers to HAVE ‘widget blip events’. Amazon wants the buyer to receive the widget they ordered on time, exactly matching the product detail page, and in the condition advertised.
THIS is why Plans of Action are required. Amazon KNOWS people are fallible. They want to know what, to the best of your abilities, you can do to give yourself the most robust safety nets possible to avoid future WBE altogether. Can people avoid car accidents that are entirely all together not their fault? Unlikely. However, if that accident was the cause of your not being able to get packages out the door on time, Amazon wants to know that you have a backup plan for when things happen that are genuinely outside of your control. Simply crying, “but the widgets were shipped eventually!” doesn’t tell Amazon what you will do to prevent future late orders in the event of emergency.
Resolving the root of the widget blip that caused Amazon’s enforcement is only step 1. To be fully proactive, Amazon also wants to know that you have already done the work to prevent a poor buyer experience caused by future blips even before they ask for a Plan of Action.
An ounce of blip prevention (so as not to repeat the same events in the future) is worth a pound of POA avoidance going forward.
Do you need help providing an Plan of Action? Contact us at Riverbend, we are happy to help! (877)289-1017
Lauren helps clients find real-world, scalable solutions to their problems and translates them through the Amazon lens. Lauren worked for Amazon for nearly 12 years, first in Seller Performance Operations, then on the business teams managing Seller Performance programs. She tirelessly worked to address authenticity, fraud, money laundering, and condition, all while providing front-line support to Amazon executives via high-level escalations. If you ask, Lauren WILL sing karaoke duets with you.