Bad word spreads faster than good news, and one disgruntled customer can spell disaster if they choose to share their negative experience or opinion online. But the customer’s comment may not be the thing that kills your reputation…the way you handle negativity can be just as deadly.
Keep in mind that despite your best efforts, you will not please everyone. Mistakes will happen and service may falter. And customers will share their negative experience online where the world is watching. So how should you respond?
Twelve entrepreneurs on the Young Entrepreneur Council shared in an Inc.com article their top tips for handling negative customer feedback:
Be Objective. Reacting defensively will be your knee-jerk reaction, but this will backfire. So keep your defensive mindset to yourself and instead portray an objective attitude when dealing with these situations. Objectivity shows a willingness to explore the problem from your customer’s point-of-view and helps keep hot heads cool.
Know when to comment and when to walk away. The internet is full of trolls, or people who getting a kick from stirring up trouble for no reason. Make sure you establish a negative comment is not troll activity. If you can pick up on a troll’s BS, so will your other customers. Save your efforts and energy for customers who actually did have a negative experience.
Take it offline. Always acknowledge negative posts and comments publicly, but afterward, don't be afraid to politely ask the customer in question to send you his or her contact information so a resolution can be found offline. Your initial contact lets your other customers know you care and want to find an answer.
Use it as an opportunity. One of the best strategies is to treat negative feedback as an opportunity to enhance your product, customer service and customer relations. Negative comments can actually help you identify areas of your business that need improvement, correct flaws and errors and even spur ideas for new offerings your business can develop. Negative feedback is just constructive criticism.
Next time you receive a negative comment on one of your social platforms or other customer feedback channels, pause, take a breath and implement these tips to address the concern. A negative experience with a positive resolution can propel your customers' happiness and loyalty to new heights!