The 411 on Negative Feedback

Posted by: Michael Nardini, VP of Customer Satisfactionnardini The 411 on Negative Feedback

Negative Feedback Travels Fast (source: Internet Retailer)

  • 1 in 4  (26%) people surveyed stated that they are more likely to share bad experiences with family and friends than good experiences.
  • Survey also found that 31% of those customers who share negative experiences were actually “loyal customers” who are actively engaged and most likely to recommend the product in the first place. The survey found that the loyal customers are more likely to share bad news than any other customers group.

What your approach should be:

  • Customers have many channels to share their frustrations and bad experiences.  Social media is a great way to combat these negative reviews and turn the situations around so your company is able to benefit.  To use social media effectively requires your business to listen, interact and react.
  • Listen: Monitor social media networks for mentions of your business. Another social media option you can offer customers is an area to engage with other customers (such as an open user forum) and to discuss your brand. Here you will be able to manage and use both negative and positive comments as feedback to improve your business.

Once you have located negative feedback take the time to understand the cause of the comments. Usually complaints occur due to unmet customer expectations or negative interactions with company employees. Mashable recently included a great article on how to handle negative feedback. I thought I should share the key points with you:

  • Get to the bottom of the issue: Take time to thoroughly understand the motivation behind the negativity. Is it a support issue, problem with an employee, or any of the number reasons? Figure out what the problem is and your solution before you reach out to address the issues.
  • Reach out and acknowledge your customers complaint. Most problems can easily be resolved because ultimately your customers would more likely than not have the issue resolved.
  • Act fast: The longer people have to think about the negative experience and dwell on it the harder it will be for you to change the situation. Fast action will help you as a customer might even change that negative experience to a positive one if you are able to quickly resolve an issue.
  • Treat each comment/issue individually. This is your opportunity to alter your brand image in your customer’s mind. Take the time to figure out the solution and do the most you can to get the issue resolved. Don’t simply refer them to a 1-800 number, rather try to resolve the issue even it means seeking help from coworkers.
  • Act professionally: Even if the issue escalates and you find yourself under attack. Remain calm and remain professional. You are representing your company in the social realm and no matter what you do you cannot have a “do-over”.
  • Provide a Resolution: After you have fixed the issues, experience or conflict that resulted in the negative feedback, let the customer know. By communicating with you have done or what they should expect will help rebuild customer trust for your business.

Don’t take my word for it, look at the facts:

A report from RightNow Technologies Inc. found that following an interaction with a retailer, 34% of consumers deleted their original negative review, 33% posted a positive review and 18% said they became a loyal customer.

How does your business handle negative feedback from customers?


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