If you have been in business for a period of time, there is likely an unhappy customer or two. No matter how well you run the show, negative feedback will always occur. What matters is not that you get negative feedback at all, but how you react to it.
Taking into consideration that oftentimes prospective customers will use feedback as a way to decide whether they want to do business with you or not, it is wise to make sure you know how to handle any commentary when it comes to being.
Therefore, it is important to know how to handle such cases when it occurs. Below are tips on how you can successfully handle a negative customers feedback;
1. Address the customer by name: This is a little psychological trick, and you may think that there’s no need to do this. Sure, you can start your response with a quick hello, or a “Dear Sir,” but it’s not as potent as writing the person’s name.
Unless you’re running anonymized surveys, the name of the person is stated in the review, so it wouldn’t take a lot of effort to find it out. By saying their name and referring to their feedback, you show that it’s not an automatic scripted response, and they’re talking to someone who’s going to take care of their problem.
If the issue they have with your business can be solved at all, the reviewer can be more cooperative if you start the conversation in a friendly way.
2. Distance your emotional sense: Don’t take negative feedback as a personal attack. Don’t get defensive. It’s human nature to react when we get negative feedback. The key is distancing your emotional self and taking the remarks as you would listen to a doctor’s advice that you eat less salt. Next, accept the negative feedback with openness and gratitude.
3. Don’t try to prove someone is wrong: try to prove someone wrong and we become close-minded to the useful information that may be hidden in the poorly presented feedback. When your criticizer is factually wrong, the response “You’re wrong!” won’t ever be helpful. Not even if you can prove it. The key is to listen to the other person without planning your reply. Simply nodding until the other person has completely finished will make sure that your counterpart has said everything intended.
4. Apologize to the customer: you may be thinking that this customer knows nothing about the business and is not right for putting up a review. You may think they were in a bad mood and you couldn’t do much in terms of service. You may think it’s a competitor, not a genuine reviewer. Either way, you have to say sorry to them to get their attention.
5. Ask questions: questions can help the other individual communicate clearly whatever his or her core message may be. Asking questions helps eliminate the appearance of defensiveness and keeps us from immediately jumping in to justify our actions. If you don’t ask the right questions, you don’t get the right answers. A question asked in the right way often points to its own answer.
6. Understand the concerns: try to put yourself in the client’s shoes. We are all customers in some way or another so this shouldn’t be too difficult. Delve into the exact reasons for their negative feedback. Even if they do not give you specific or supporting reasons for their commentary, you need to look into what triggered their negative feelings. If you know the origin of the complaint, you will be better equipped to handle it efficiently.
7. Take action: It is one thing to reply that you will solve the problem and something completely different to actually solve it. There are many companies who make promises in public or out loud that they have no intention of following through on. If you do solve an issue, let the customer know and then ask whether they are satisfied with the result. The complaint has not been finalized until the customer is happy.