Every company hits some bumps along the way, and it’s impossible to please every customer all the time. Negative feedback is inevitable for any company that interacts with customers regularly, but how you respond to unhappy clients will determine your reputation in the market.
Smart businesses know that keeping up on constructive customer feedback is important. If a negative review is allowed to stand unanswered, it might be one of the first things new customers see when they search the business. That’s why it’s important to take these proactive steps when dealing with negative customer feedback. Here are four tips to handle negative feedback.
Don’t Take It Personally
Every business owner is naturally defensive of their venture, since they’ve poured their heart and soul into it. Every negative comment can feel personal, but responding in a personal way will usually have the opposite effect and can often make a bad situation worse. CEO Jared Weitz urged entrepreneurs to take some time after receiving negative feedback before responding, so they can process the substance of the complaint and figure out how they can resolve it rather than falling back on a kneejerk defense.
You want to receive the feedback rather than respond to it, and giving everyone the time to breathe before continuing the interaction can help to resolve the issue. Not only will you have time to calm down and make sure you’re not responding to it as a personal attack, but the person who gave the feedback will have cooled down as well. That means if there’s a positive resolution to be had, it’ll be easier for the two parties to figure it out with clear heads.
See Things From Your Critic’s Perspective
It’s easy to get into a bunker mentality and assume that your critic is just arguing from bad faith. Being able to distance yourself from the situation and understand where they’re coming from will make it easier to address their concerns and hopefully turn a negative experience into a positive one. Negative feedback can be challenging to hear, but it’s often someone else trying to tell you how to build a better relationship with your customer base.
There are a few key reasons why a customer might give negative feedback, and most of them come back to expectations. If a customer feels like a company is over-promising and under-delivering, they’re more likely to hit back with a negative review. Trying to see things from a critic’s perspective will make it easier to determine where the problem lies – and it may be in promotion rather than in the quality of your product.
Ask Clarifying Questions
It’s not always easy to resolve a conflict with a customer giving negative feedback, because sometimes they’ll just leave a hit-and-run review with no way to respond. But if you get the chance to contact a customer who is dissatisfied with your product or service, you should take it. Not only might you be able to neutralize the impact of a negative review, but in some cases, a customer who comes around and is won over by your response to their negative feedback can become your company’s biggest supporter.
Having a strong phone service that lets you contact dissatisfied customers and get more details is essential for any growing business. That’s why many companies are switching to VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol systems.
What is VoIP phone service? It’s an internet-based phone service that lets you contact people through audio or video calls without having to worry about landlines or being charged per phone call or message for cellular service. It will typically bundle all your phone and messaging services under one umbrella and can be arranged through many internet providers.
Evaluate and Adapt
Your customers are the core of your business, and listening to them is the best way to stay in business. Even if you disagree objectively with a complaint from a customer, they’re letting you know what you need to do to keep their business long-term.
The most successful businesses look at negative feedback as an opportunity to refine their business. Developing and evolving products and services based on customer feedback keeps your offerings fresh and ensures that you’ll be bringing in new customers as well as keeping negative feedback to a minimum.
Make the Situation Positive
Criticism from customers can be a setback or an opportunity. Take the opportunity to refine and potentially turn a displeased customer into someone who will want to come back. The most successful companies know the job isn’t done until you’ve turned that feedback around.