Review Management 101 – Part 3: Handling Feedback: Embrace the Positive, Address the Negative

Review Management: The Art of Increasing and Maximizing Your Positive Online Reviews

Most business owners will tell you the cornerstone of a successful business is a happy customer. Sure, financial health and long-term goal achievement are just as important, but your product, service or overall business won’t make it very far if customer service isn’t always at the top of mind. Satisfied clients in turn create loyal customers who will come back again and again. According to a 2020 Ameritas study, a loyal customer, on average, is 10 times more valuable than their first purchase. In addition, about 97% of customers will tell others about very good or excellent customer service experiences, and approximately 24% of satisfied customers will return to a business two or more years after a good customer service experience. The numbers here speak for themselves. The value of turning a new buyer into a repeat one far outweighs the value of a customer buying one single product and never returning.

We got into the topic of providing amazing customer service. Next up was asking for customer feedback. Now we are going to get into how you should go about receiving feedback when it does come back, with a specific focus on how to optimize this feedback for the greatest ROI. If you’re a business owner, you most likely know that a constant feedback loop is incredibly crucial. But did you know that receiving negative feedback is just as important, if not more important, than receiving positive feedback? Receiving negative feedback is a great opportunity to take a critical look at all of your business processes and see where you could be doing things faster, better and stronger. So, how should you receive both positive and negative feedback and use it to your advantage?

Embrace the Positive

1. Say Thank You
Believe it or not, many customers only voice feedback when they’re dissatisfied. Positive feedback is a sparkling gem in your business crown and should be treated as such. After you receive positive feedback, always give a heartfelt thank you. Express your gratitude that they decided to shop at your business and give you direct feedback on a job well done.

2. Personalize your message as much as possible
Generic responses are fine as you build your overall feedback strategy, but aim to give each response a personal touch. Address the person by name if possible and even reference specifics if you personally remember the interaction. It’ll entice the customer to come back if they feel personally valued and not just seen as another transaction

3. Ask for a formal online review
Ask your happy customer to go the extra step and leave a positive online review. This can really help boost your overall online business rating and entice others to try out your services too.

Address the Negative

1. Apologize and say thank you
No one likes receiving negative feedback and most people hate apologizing when they think they’ve done nothing wrong even more. Unfortunately, when responding to negative feedback, the best course of action is to be humble and polite. Apologize for what you and your business has control over first and thank the unhappy customer for choosing your business and their honest feedback.

2. Be polite
You may be tempted to point fingers and even name call the person who left negative feedback. But remember, what’s said online is open to everyone and unfortunately permanent. One hot-headed moment could live on the internet forever, or worse, go viral. Don’t engage in an argument with a customer or blame them for their experience. Most customers who have bad experiences just want to feel like they’re being heard. Seek to come from a place of understanding and keep your language appropriate.

3. Provide contact information
You can respond to negative feedback initially, but don’t go back and forth with the person on a public site or in your physical store for all to see. Give them your personal or business information and ask them to get in touch with you. Also ask them to provide more details on the unhappy experience. Lastly, collect your own information. Ask your staff members if they remember the unhappy customer and try to get to the root of the problem.

4. Right the wrong if and as soon as possible
Time is of the essence with addressing negative feedback. You have the opportunity to turn their experience into a positive one, but only if you act fast and with a sense of urgency. The faster you act, the more likely the person is to change their view to a favorable one and appreciate your dedication to customer service.

5. Keep it short
There’s no need to make a response to either positive or negative feedback long and complicated. Keep it to the point and clear. When addressing negative feedback, don’t say more than what is absolutely needed.

And, as always, be as proactive as possible. The shorter the amount of time you take to address and implement constructive feedback, the more valued the customer will feel. Follow up where you can and stay true to your customer commitments. As with all feedback, don’t take it personal. See it as an opportunity to grow, improve and shake things up to keep it fresh.

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