<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=349935452247528&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

The Alternative Board Blog

How to Turn Negative Customer Feedback into an Advantage

Feb. 11, 2020 | Posted by Phil Spensieri

In this digital world, it is perhaps more relevant today that business owners provide a prompt and “unemotionally charged” response to negative customer feedback. Customer feedback is important. It can help bring attention to areas of your business that you may not have considered as problematic. Good or bad, you can benefit from what customers are telling you. I’ve outlined a few approaches to consider in helping turn negative customer feedback into something positive for your business.

Accept the Message

Customers are emotional beings, which means they might fire off a message via email to simply let off steam. Our job as business owners is to make sure we don’t react the same way. When faced with feedback you don’t feel good about, it can shake your confidence, but also make you feel defensive. This isn’t effective at all. As business owners, we know the first rule of customer service is “The customer is always right”.

Your customer’s feedback might be opinion rather than fact. Listening to their position will help you maintain your relationship. Instead of blowing up and making matters worse, consider responding in a calm, brief, and friendly manner. Consider where the feedback is coming from, while also reassuring this customer that you acknowledge them, you’re looking into the matter, and you will get back to them.

Want additional insight? Read 4 Step Guide to Strategic Planning now to learn more

Register Here

Rethink Interpretation 

When I hear about an issue that a business owner may have with negative customer feedback, the first question I ask is, “How was the message delivered?” Typically the message is received via email, which leaves so much room for tone interpretation that very often the meaning behind the email may not be how you’ve interpreted it.

If you have another senior manager in your office you rely on, ask them to read the email and give you their opinion. Discuss the various interpretations with them and work with them in drafting a response, even if it is as simple as asking the customer to clarify what they meant. This can benefit both parties: as a company, you want to be sure you understand what their concern is, while your customer feels like you truly value their opinion and their personal experience with your business.

You might also consider booking a time to speak to your customer on the phone instead of emailing them. If thats the route you decide to take, you can start by simply writing out what you want to say and using the notes for reference during the conversation. A personal call from you can go a long way in settling matters and getting on a better path.

Opportunity for Improved Communications

Take this as an opportunity to improve customer communications and get to know them better. Make a point to discuss with them their expectations, preferred communication styles, and then outline a few approaches to help resolve the current issue so that it will not re-occur.  Book a follow-up call with them to check in on how the new communication efforts are helping. When you take what could have been a negative customer experience and reposition it as a learning opportunity, the rewards will be tenfold.

As business owners, we can never forget it takes more effort to get new customers than to retain the ones we already have. Turning negative feedback from a customer into positive is a benefit for both of you. To learn more about handling negative feedback and to share your own experiences, contact us to become a TAB Member today.

Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board


Written by Phil Spensieri

Phil Spensieri is a TAB Facilitator in the York Region of Ontario, Canada.

Related posts

Tips on Customer Retention Marketing
Oct. 15, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
All businesses strive to acquire as many new customers as possible, but is enough effort being made to retain customers already on board? Remember, there’s a significant distinction in costs between...
Help Customers Stay Connected and Loyal to Your Business
May. 20, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Small businesses have always been challenged to attract and retain a loyal customer base. This challenge has been intensified a thousand times over because of the Coronavirus outbreak. Whatever their...
What to Say to Customers During a Period of Crisis
Apr. 21, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
In what we fondly recall as “normal times,” there wasn’t much question about how to communicate with customers. Basic principles included reaching out to customers where they “live” online and...
5 Ways to Improve Your Employees' Customer Service Skills
Jul. 1, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board
You can have the best product or service imaginable, but the value and integrity of your business is nearly always determined by the quality of service you and your employees provide to customers....
Create a Customer Satisfaction Survey that Gets Results
Jun. 20, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Crafting a customer survey that gauges satisfaction with your business isn’t as easy as it looks. If the survey is comprised of misleading questions, or comes burdened with too many instructions,...
4 Simple Visuals That Can Help Customer Support In A Big Way
Jun. 13, 2019 | Posted by Ryan McCready
Visuals can help even the most confused customer figure your product out and they can explain a complex process in a very consumable way. I mean, think about how many images an IKEA instruction...
4 Tips on Creating a Great Customer Experience Strategy
Jun. 6, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board
In your company, how much thought is given to the quality of interactions between your customers and your business? The experience your customers have when interacting with your brand can make all...
5 Customer Service Blunders Made by Small Businesses
May. 28, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Is “quality customer service” part of your brand promise? If so, you’ve made a commitment to deliver an outstanding buying experience each and every time a customer (or would-be customer) interacts...
Polite, But Firm: How CEOs Save Time by Learning to Say “No”
Jul. 2, 2018 | Posted by The Alternative Board
  Learn to Say No!    How many times in a day do people approach you or your gatekeeper with a request, suggestion or some other time-consuming appeal? Like many other business leaders, your first...
Five Tips for Improving Your Customer Communications
Feb. 20, 2018 | Posted by The Alternative Board
When it comes to operating a successful business, nothing’s more important than communicating effectively with your customers. Adopting the wrong tone in your marketing or sales messages, neglecting...