It’s bound to happen. Whether you have an active review feature on your site or you’re mentioned in a forum or blog, you’re going to run into negative feedback. No matter how much time and effort you put into your online store, you can’t have total control of everything all the time.
When you receive a piece of negative feedback publically, you’re actually getting a great opportunity to turn that negative comment into positive marketing, potentially saving a customer and inspiring respect for your brand in other customers. Below are five steps to take in responding to negative feedback.
01: Ignore your first reaction.
It’s human nature to jump on the defensive (and even the offensive) when criticized. Ignore that impulse. Negative feedback might evoke a litany of emotions, but don’t let your anger get the best of you. It could reflect poorly on your brand.
02: Don’t delete negative comments.
On your site or social networking channel, you may have total control of feedback—but the rest of the web is an open venue for criticism. If you silence your customers, they’re voices will be heard elsewhere, and it’ll reflect poorly on your company’s commitment to excellence.
03: Respond in a timely manner.
Negative feedback requires a response, and it requires it in a timely manner. Instead of feeding criticism by trying to defend your actions, offer your help in solving the customer’s problem.
04: If you can’t solve the problem, offer a consolation prize.
Perhaps your product arrived in bad condition. Maybe it took a much longer time to arrive than it was supposed to. Whatever the problem is, reach out to the customer and offer some sort of consolation, like free stuff or a coupon. You may save yourself a customer and add a powerful voice to advocating for your word-of-mouth and social media marketing.
05: Assess how effective the response was and add the story to an internal knowledge base focused on dealing with negative feedback.
Like all criticism, negative feedback is meant to help you better your company. If you haven’t learned from the scenario, what’s to keep it from happening again in the future, perhaps in a more destructive way?