Even the best companies will find themselves in hot water from time to time. Such is the nature of running a business. Even if you try to be the perfect and most customer-oriented company, some will still find you lacking. It is impossible never to hear one bad review from a customer. They either find your staff too formal, your products too expensive, your service lackluster, or your overall brand boring.
So, how do you turn bad feedback into an opportunity? First, you need to find out what your consumers actually want. That will help you understand what others may want to complain about. Doing an NPS survey will give you an insight into what your customers want, need, and expect from the brands that they patronize. The NPS or Net Promoter Score is a rating and open-ended questionnaire. As a customer, you’ve probably filled up one yourself in restaurants, shops, and after a post-sales team addressed your concerns.
The rating part will use a scale of 0 to 10 so the customer can rate the product and service. An open-ended questionnaire follows this part. Here, the business asks for recommendations, suggestions, and ways to improve its products and services. The customers’ answers to these questions will help you get a better understanding of where your business stands and how near or far you are from giving your market what they want.
Now that you understand what your customers are looking for, it becomes easier to actually listen to customer complaints and receive bad feedback. Listening is a trait of good entrepreneurs. More than anything else, customers who were dissatisfied with your products and services want to be heard. They want to make sure that you are hearing about their bad experiences with your business.
Listen carefully. Try not to interrupt the speaker. Few people know how to give constructive criticisms. Even if you feel that the comments are uncalled for, hold your tongue and distinguish the value in what the customer is saying.
Don’t Be Defensive
The normal human reaction is to be on the defensive when you hear negative things about something or someone you love. It is the same in business. Train your employees not to be defensive when they hear complaints or read about negative feedback. They shouldn’t justify their actions either. Rather, you have to separate your emotions from what you heard. Look at it pragmatically. Is there sense to what the customer is complaining about?
Address the Customer by Name
By saying their name or writing their name in an email, you are telling the customers that this is not an automatic response. There’s a psychological explanation as to why people pay attention when they hear their names. It’s the same thing when a business owner addresses customer concerns. It shows that you are personalizing the response to the negative feedback.
Apologizing will go a long way toward tempering a customer’s mood. Whatever it is that dissatisfied them about your business, you have to apologize for it. Teach the same thing to your employees. Remember that these people paid money for your products and services. The least a business can do is apologize for not making their customers happy and satisfied. You should also sympathize with the customer by letting them know you will feel the same way if it happens to you.
Explain How You Are Solving the Problem
You have to ask for time so you can look into the matter. Give the customer a specific time when they can hear from you again. The best time frame is between one and two days. You should have your answer by that time. Then, you also have to inform them how you will resolve the problem once you have the full details. This way, they are not going to be blindsided by your response.
When you do this, you will impress other customers who will see the way you respond to a negative review. A potential customer will learn that you care about your customers and that you’re willing to go to great lengths to sort things out. If the customer wants to resolve the problem in private, that’s okay, too. However, mention in your responses to the public review that you will continue addressing the problems through private communication.
Sure, the customers are not always technically right. But if for some reason, your business really wronged them, offer an incentive after you resolved the original problem. It can be in the form of free shipping or a discount code. It depends on what type of incentive your business can offer. This is a token of your appreciation that the customer took the time to complain about your business, thus offering you a chance to rectify the situation.
No business can please everybody. The bigger your business becomes, the more susceptible it is to receiving negative feedback. The way you respond to these reviews, however, will be a telling sign of whether customers should do business with you or not.