Customer Feedback is the lifeline to keep your business alive. It is all about the feelings and perceptions of the customers about your business and the products and services you provide them. When you receive feedback, welcome it, even it is negative feedback. Yes! You read right, even negative feedback should be welcomed.
Customer Feedback is based on the Customer Experience you provide and how well it met Customers’ Expectations. If the experience your customers had met their expectations, you will get positive feedback. If the experience didn’t meet their expectations, their feedback would be negative.
It is natural to feel bad for negative feedback, especially when you have worked hard to satisfy your customers. Sometimes bad reviews can hurt you, but there is no use of getting hurt. Rather, use them constructively to improve your business.
“Your most unhappy Customers are your greatest source of learning.”
One of the biggest challenges is to respond to negative feedback. Sometimes, you may feel to retaliate to the negative comments or reviews which hurt you. But, remember that venting out your negative emotions on your customers can only worsen the things and will eventually affect your business adversely.
Rather, you must try to look into the problem by putting yourself in the customers’ shoes and then try to resolve the things. Let’s list out some steps you need to take in order to respond to negative feedback in a way that doesn’t have a bad effect on your business, rather help in the improvement of your business.
Steps to Respond to a Negative Feedback
1. Respond in a Timely Manner
2. Thank the Customer with Personalized Response
3. Apologize with Sympathy
4. Take Responsibility
5. Provide Solutions
6. Bring them back
Let’s review how you should follow these steps to respond effectively and bring your customers back.
Timely response to the customer’s complaints or negative reviews can solve half of the problem right away. When the customers provide negative feedback, they are not only venting their emotions or showing outrage, but they are expecting you to resolve their issues so that they can continue the relationship.
“53 percent of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week.”
When you respond to them quickly and effectively, it shows that you respect your customers and want to satisfy them. Whereas, if you do not respond timely to your customers, it gives the wrong message that you don’t care about your customers.
You can also keep a customer support team or an agent mainly to deal with such reviews and complaints and proactively resolving customers’ issues.
Thank the Customer with Personalized Response
Negative reviews may be hurting, but they act as a catalyst in improving your business. Just imagine who is better for your business, a customer providing negative feedback, and giving you a chance to improve or a customer straight away switching to your competitor due to a negative experience?
Of course, you would like to know what happened and take an opportunity to resolve it. So, no matter how bad or cruel a negative review or comment is, you must thank your customers politely for providing their valuable feedback.
Moreover, whenever you are responding to feedback, personalize your response. You should address your customer with his name rather than writing something like “Dear Customer” because customers don’t want a common copied message, rather they want their issues to be specifically paid heed and resolved.
Apologize with Sympathy
When a customer goes through a bad experience with your business, somewhere you, your business, or your employees are responsible for this. Even if you are not responsible, apologize to your customer for having a lousy Customer Experience with your business. You can send something like this.
“We understand your concern, and we deeply regret and apologize for this bad experience you had with us.”
You should always show sympathy towards the customers for having a bad experience and try your best to resolve the issue.
Mistakes happen, we all are humans. Sometimes your employees can communicate the wrong message, and sometimes even your machines can make an error. So, rather than trying to get away from the mistake, accept it, and take responsibility for it.
Avoid making excuses. Even if it is an uncommon or unfortunate incident, acknowledge the customer and assure them that you will make the things right and maintain your high standards of customer service.
Merely understanding the problem and apologizing for that will not help unless you do something about it. You need to provide solutions and do your best to resolve the issues.
Your efforts will not only improve the customer experience but also help you win your customers’ trust again. When you respond to them, suggest them appropriate solutions that can solve their problem and reduce their frustrations.
When you provide an excellent support to your customers, especially when they are going through a bad experience, it diminishes their frustration, and their perception about you and your brand improves to a large extent.
Bring Them Back
When you have responded back to your customers timely and effectively, solving their problems, why not go a step ahead! Extend a hand and invite them to give you another chance and when they come back, welcome them, satisfy them, and focus on all the components of Customer Experience.
Try to make them understand that mistakes happen, but you are always there to take responsibility, make things right, and provide them a better experience. Assure them that you will do everything you can to provide them an awesome experience next time.
If possible, offer them discounts or bonus on their next purchase as an apology gesture or compensation for their bad experience. This can further make them happy and help in customer retention.
Responding to negative feedback may be a bit challenging, but rather than running away from it, if you face it and follow the above steps, even negative feedback can change into a positive one, and even your detractors can become your promoters.
This will increase your goodwill in the market and people will trust you even more than before.
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