Have you ever thought of why customers’ satisfaction is very important? Do you know that more than 70 percent of customer loss is caused by failure to solve customers problem in a timely manner?
If your business is growing and making progress, then at some point you will have to deal with negative comments. But 2 out of 3 business owners takes negative feedback/comment as a personal attack; they instantly turn argumentative and protective. Little wonder why US companies lose a whopping $41 billion every year due to poor customer service! As a matter of fact, a study has shown that for every 1 customer who takes the time to lodge a complaint, there are 26 other customers who have decided to remain silent. And guess what 91 percent of customers who are non-complainers do - the quietly leave and tell the story outside! Comments and observations from customers are precious; be it positive or negative. So you should be happy to get a complaint from your customers.
Negative feedback is a positive gift all business owners should be open to. You should note that any customer who lodges a complaint is interested enough in your service to want it to improve. And if customers like your reaction to their feedback they will be delighted to spend their money with your brand; and if they aren’t satisfied then they won’t think twice about walking away.
However, below are 8 effective ways to successfully manage negative feedback or comments from your customers in order to maintain their loyalty.
1. Wait, smile, stay calm:
Recently I saw a reply to a customer's feedback that took me aback.
It’s natural to act defensively when we receive negative comments/feedback from our customers. But the question I tend to ask myself is, “Does my defense swallow up the comment?”
Staying calm gives you the privilege to handle the comments better. Afterall, it’s a comment, not a question that needs a prompt answer!
Negative comments shouldn’t reflect on your personal life or on your business. Instead, you should understand that it’s a reflection of the customers’ experience with your brand which you will need to resolve.
If it’s a real-life conversation you can tell the customer to give you time to think about what they just said, and if it’s feedback via email or a comment on your company’s blog, you can leave it for a day or two and then respond to it when you are in a well-settled state.
2. There is always a lesson from every negative comment:
When you receive a negative comment from a customer, the first thing to do before taking any step is to review the comment and figure out the lessons it contains. Every bit of feedback, whether it’s true or false, has a lesson for you. If it’s true, resolve it quickly. And if it’s false, make sure there is no more confusion on this point with your customers going forward.
Nicholas Dutko, a world expert customer service provider and CEO of Vehicle Transport Services says, “it is very important to thank the customer for taking time to reach out, then try as much as possible to break down the comment into the smallest possible unit. Use emotive reading techniques, try to understand the feelings behind the customer's’ dissatisfaction.”
3. Write it down and make it your business goal:
Negative comments/feedback from customers should be taken as a challenge. It might even be a test of your company’s flexibility.
Therefore, take it as a chance to show your customers that your brand is capable and open to productive changes.
4. Do things that would make the customer delighted again:
“The single most important thing is to make people happy. If you’re making them happy, as a side effect, they will be happy to open up their wallets and pay you.” ~ Derek Sivers.
It’s not enough to win back a dissatisfied customer with just one happy experience. As a matter of fact, this study explains that it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative customer experience!
5. When there’s a botch on your part, don't forget to apologize:
Research shows that 76% of customers are fully satisfied when the company apologizes in addition to the compensation they receive when there’s a misstep, compared to the 37 percent of customers are who claim to be satisfied with service recovery when they are being offered something of monetary value. That’s double the scale!
Whenever you trace the customer’s dissatisfaction and realize it’s a mistake on the part of your business, don’t hide it! Open up and apologize. Customers feel more comfortable doing business with brands who accept take responsibility for a mistake and take all the necessary steps to fix it.
6. Ask your customer(s) to be part of the solution:
Customers love brands that are inquisitive. They gain pleasure in you asking them for their views about finding a solution to a problem. They would be more likely to support your following actions as they don’t want their suggestions to result in failure.
7. Would you receive such a comment again?
When you’ve successfully managed a negative comment from a customer, it is important to be sure you wouldn’t receive such negative feedback again. How? By taking appropriate measures.
Confirm how satisfied the customer is and double check to see if another customer isn’t facing similar dissatisfaction.
8. Encourage customer response:
The last thing you would need to do is to encourage customer response. This shows your customers that your brand isn’t just concerned about profiting, but aimed at making life better for them. And this would boost customer confidence in your brand.
Losing just a single customer is costly to your company. Because every single customer you lose due to dissatisfaction will always have a reason to tell people about their bad experience.
Take it upon yourself to address your customers and do everything within your power to make them happy. Not just for the sake of keeping them on your side, but also to avoid any widespread negativity regarding your brand.