Turn Negative Customer Feedback into a Win for Your Business

March 29, 2021

Receiving negative feedback from a customer is never fun. Whether it’s submitted online or heard during a check-in call, negative feedback can feel like a gut punch. However, once you get past the initial sting, negative feedback can be used to move your business forward and form deeper relationships with your clients.

Types of Negative Feedback

Negative feedback from customers can be received in a variety of ways; it could be a post on social media from an unhappy customer, read in a client satisfaction survey, or discovered through a support ticket or a client check-in call. No matter the medium, negative customer feedback will either be useful or useless to your business.

Useful negative feedback will indicate a pain point or problem that a customer is experiencing. The feedback is written or stated in a polite manner and demonstrates that the customer has put time and thought into their comment. The best useful feedback suggests a change that will be beneficial for all customers, not just the one making the recommendation.

While we hate to call anything useless, there will always be negative feedback that does not do anything more than just complain. Useless negative feedback is more of a criticism than an indication of a real pain point. This type of feedback may suggest a change that is not related to the direction your business is heading or suggests an entire overhaul of your strategy.

How to Respond to Feedback

Whether the feedback is useful or useless, all customer feedback must receive a response from your organization. With these definitions in mind, let’s move on to the best ways to respond to negative feedback:

Listen: Don’t respond immediately. While this may sound counter-intuitive, take the time to understand the problem and craft an appropriate response. Often when hearing negative feedback, we instinctively react defensively. The best course of action whether you are hearing negative feedback on a call or reading it online is to take a moment to listen to the problem your client is facing.

Learn: If needed, ask your client more about the problem at hand. Ask them more questions to get an understanding of the problem. Learning more from your client will not only help you make more informed decisions but also show them your dedication to helping your customers.

Accept: No matter how you receive the feedback, always thank the customer for bringing it to your attention. If you need to work with your team to determine a fix, let them know that you will get back to them with a resolution.

Evaluate: Sit down with your team and determine whether it’s possible for you to act on the feedback. If your customer found a glaring error, work with your team to get the issue resolved as soon as possible so it does not affect more customers. However, if your customer brought an issue to your attention that is off-brand, evaluate whether this is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Respond: Whether or not you can fix the problem, be sure to respond to them in a timely manner. In your response, be sure to apologize for the issue and show appreciation for the feedback. If you either cannot or it is not in your best interest to make the suggested change, be open with your client about the reason why.

Make the Most of Your Feedback

When evaluating customer feedback, think about it in context of other feedback your team has received. Is this a brand-new issue or is it a problem your team has been hearing about for months? When responding to feedback, you will have to prioritize certain problems over others. Be sure to act immediately on issues that are hindering your customer’s usage of your product or service and repeat problems that keep appearing.

You may also receive feedback from a customer that expresses a need that your product or service does not currently meet. While it’s possible that they may be trying to take you in a direction that you don’t want to go, take the time to evaluate whether this need could be beneficial to your business. Your business should not be stagnant, it’s important to continue to grow and change with your audience. If there is a new pain point your audience is experiencing, take the time to decide whether it is worth exploring. 

Customer feedback, whether positive or negative, is always valuable to your business. Your customers have taken the time to inform you about an issue that is plaguing them and they deserve both a response and consideration. Understanding customer issues and working to fix them will ensure you keep building strong customer relations.

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