Often times, there is someone who has been upset by your product or the way they were served. When you receive negative feedback, your natural human response is to respond nastily. You may be comforted by knowing that you will not be able to avoid negative customer feedback all together; it is normal for all businesses. You may as well learn what to do to turn that negative feedback into a positive experience. Negative feedback at least shows the customer cares enough to write something. Following these steps will help you maintain a professional business image when dealing with cynical customers. Both of the first two steps are steps that you need to take before you receive any negative feedback. Once you actually receive negative feedback, you will follow steps three through six.
- Monitor Your Website
Constantly monitor your online presence. Check your website multiple times per day. By constantly being aware of what people are saying and asking, you will be able to deal with any negative feedback immediately.
- Encourage Reviews
Encourage users to leave reviews. However, do not just ask for positive reviews, as it will make those who have had a negative experience even more likely to leave a review. Respect and welcome any feedback given. You will have a better online appearance if you have some feedback rather than no feedback at all.
- Take The Issue Offline
When someone posts negative feedback, take the issue offline, out of sight of public viewing. Discuss the problem on a personal level. The customer merely wants the injustice to be righted.
Respond quickly. Be polite and do not react to the way that the customer spoke to you or has written the review. Though it may feel natural to say something negative back, doing so would not benefit your business. Show you care about the problem. Don’t over exaggerate your compassion; make it sincere. Put yourself in that person’s shoes and try to understand why they have gotten so upset. Be respectful. Ask how you can improve their experience.
Though some say that customers are always right, that is not true. If they are sincerely wrong, talk in a calm manner, and try to understand why they think they have been wronged. Look below for a sample reply.
- Follow Up
Follow up a short time later to see if the customer is satisfied with the way you rectified the problem. Request that negative ratings be removed once you have solved the problem. If they still have a problem, try to work through the problem again. However, if your company resolved the problem in an appropriate manner, the customer should be satisfied. Give them a reason to trust you again.
- Positive Ramifications
Once you have helped the customer and attempted to solve the problem, you need to take two steps so that the negative feedback benefits your business. First, share reviews with your employees. Help them know what they can do to improve future customer service. If you had a specifically uplifting experience, talking about it can encourage the employees.
Secondly, you can prevent future problems. If the customer experienced a sincere problem, other customers may also be experiencing it. Taking the time to really evaluate the problem and what caused it can prevent the same problem occurring in other transactions.
Here is a sample reply of what you can say to a negative customer response.
“Thank you for taking the time to inform us of your unfortunate experience with our business. Our products normally produce high customer satisfaction, and we want to rectify the situation as soon as possible.
Please send the [insert your product] back to us, and we will send a new as soon as possible. We will investigate what happened that made the production of faulty.
We appreciate your patience as we work through solving this problem for you. Please let us know if you have any other concerns or questions.”
In a response such as the one above, you are showing that you and your business care about the problem. You are also showing steps where you will take action to fix the problem. Often customers only write negatively and angrily because they are scared that they have been scammed or cheated and will not receive compensation. By you responding quickly and showing genuine concern for their problem, they will probably be calmed.
When the customer receives the replacement, assuming all goes well, they may be converted into your biggest promoter. When you respond with a follow-up email asking about their satisfaction and asking them to take down their negative feedback (which they have probably forgotten about), they should be happy to accommodate. Instead of negative feedback ruining your business, you have allowed it to help your business grow and mature.
Have you had a customer leave you negative feedback? Tell us how you solved it in the comments below!