Responding to negative feedback can be difficult. Your customer service team needs to develop some best practices for responding customers who haven’t had a positive experience with their company. You should keep these 8 tips in mind when developing best practices for responding to negative feedback.
As much as your company might focus on customer service, there are always going to be people that have a problem with your product or service. Your customer service team has to be ready to effectively respond to negative comments in the most productive way possible.
However, not all negative comments and feedback are worth a response. Unfortunately, there will be people that will post negative comments to just to post a negative comment. You have to figure out which comments are worth a response and which comments are better left unanswered.
There is a positive side of responding to negative comments. For one, you’ll be able to learn something from your customers that will help your company improve your product or service. Secondly, you’re given the opportunity to solve a customer’s problem. And lastly, you can use negative feedback as a chance to show the values of your company and how well you handle negativity.
Tips for Responding to Negative Feedback
Before answering any customer feedback, carefully read the comment so you can understand the customer’s problem. Then, think your response and your resolution through before you start replying.
When you begin replying, you should keep these 8 tips in mind:
- Always respond in a timely fashion.
- Present a sincere apology.
- Ask how you can help them solve the problem.
- Provide a solution to the problem.
- Tell the customer you appreciate their feedback.
- Always be polite, yet still represent your brand.
- Pick your battles.
- Use negativity to your advantage.
Let’s dive a little deeper into each tip and why you should keep them in mind both before and as you respond to negative customer feedback.
1. Always respond in a timely fashion.
It’s important that you get back to customers in the shortest amount of time possible. You want to show them that you care about the problem they’ve been experiencing, and that you’re here to help them. Companies that don’t respond in a timely fashion give off the impression that they don’t care about their customers and care more about selling their product or service.
2. Present a sincere apology.
Apologizing for any inconvenience the customer has experienced is always a good way to start off a response to a negative comment. Again, you want to show your customers that you care about their opinion and that you’re sorry that they weren’t totally satisfied with your product or service. Many customers can respect a company that apologizes for their dissatisfaction.
3. Ask how you can help them solve the problem.
No matter what the customer’s issue is, you should always the customer how you can help them. Customers want to be offered help and they want to know that your company will always be there to solve their problems. Sometimes, simply the offer to provide help is enough to satisfy a customer.
4. Provide a solution to the customer’s problem.
If you’re asking how you can help the customer, you should be prepared to provide a solution for the customer’s problem. Sometimes your solution can be as simple as pointing them in a different direction or directing them to some of your educational.
Of course, in some instances, you may need to solve technical problems, provide a refund, check their purchasing information, or respond to high-level questions. For these types of problems, it pays to have the right information within arm’s reach, whether its through a customer database or an FAQ worksheet.
Whatever the problem is, you should always have a solution to offer your customers.
5. Tell the customer that you appreciate their feedback.
Always tell the customer that you appreciate their feedback, even when the feedback is negative. You want to know what your customers are thinking and how they’re feeling about your business — that’s why your customer service team is always gathering customer feedback.
Telling your customers that you appreciate their feedback will let them know that you have listened to what they’ve said, and you are learning from their feedback.
6. Always be polite, yet still represent your brand.
You should always be polite when interacting with customers who have negative feedback, even if you might not actually agree with your customer’s complaint. Sometimes, it can be a balancing act trying to figure out how to be polite while also staying true to your brand. It might be hard to define the line between being helpful and representing your brand. Regardless, you should always be polite, sincere, and listen to your customer.
Try to imagine the situation from the customer’s point of view. Maybe the problem they’re experiencing is just the last straw in a long line of negative things that happened that day. Imagine how you’d like to be treated by a customer service representative, then respond in the same way.
If you can meet your customer halfway and show them that you’re on their side, you’ll have a better chance of resolving the problem while also staying true to your brand.
7. Choose your battles.
Not all negative feedback is productive feedback, and not all of the feedback you receive deserves a response. Sometimes, responding to a difficult customer might do more harm than good. You have to pick your battles wisely and only respond to genuine comments.
Unfortunately, you might get comments from people whose only motive is to post negativity. You have to decide what comments are the most important to respond to. Abusive or slanderous comments, comments laced with profanity, and online trolls are usually best left ignored.
8. Use negativity to your advantage.
You should always try to use customer feedback to advantage, even negative feedback. Negative customer feedback can be hard to hear sometimes, but it often represents a learning opportunity for your brand. You’ll be able to improve your product or service from that feedback and engage with your customers in a productive way.
If you ignore all negative customer feedback, you’ll never identify any issues with your product or service and improve your customers’ overall experience.
Listening to your customers is an important thing for your company to do in order to learn more about the success of your product or service. Responding to negative feedback can be tricky, but keeping these tips in mind will help you when talking to customers who need help or didn’t have a positive experience.