How to Respond to Negative Customer Feedback
It’s just unavoidable – every business receives negative customer reviews.
Even if it seems that you’re doing everything right, there always be at least one unsatisfied customer.
However, statistics show that negative feedback isn’t necessarily bad for your business:
- Businesses whose reviews are 15-20% negative get 13% more revenue than those whose reviews are only 5-10% negative.
- 72% of B2B buyers agree that negative feedback gives more insights into the product.
- 40% of B2B buyers also say that negative feedback helps build credibility for a business.
- 95% of customers get suspicious of a brand that has no negative customer reviews.
So, as you can see, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of negative customer feedback, and you can actually turn it into a positive brand experience if you respond to this feedback correctly.
Today we are going to take a look at how to treat negative customer reviews the right way so that your customers stay satisfied with your service.
1. Introduce Yourself and Your Role
It’s a common mistake not to introduce yourself, especially if you’re replying to negative feedback online.
However, mentioning your name and your position at the company is important to build a rapport with an upset customer.
When responding to negative feedback, the ideal format would be:
- to introduce yourself
- to mention your position and responsibility
- to ask the customer to describe in detail what their issue is
- to reiterate their complaints
- to offer a solution
What should you do if you’re not the right person to deal with a specific negative review?
In this case, you need to refer the customer to someone who can definitely help them.
For instance, if a customer didn’t get all the materials for the basic Spanish learning course, you can send their case to a marketing or product management team who have the expertise and authority to actually solve the problem.
Note: if you do refer a customer to your colleague, make sure you provide all the contact information they will need to get in touch with that person.
2. Personalise Your Response
Many brands make the mistake of setting auto-replies for every negative review they receive.
“Thanks for taking the time to advise us of your experience. Rest assured we take all feedback seriously.”
Trust me, that’ a great way to tell the customer you really couldn’t care less.
Instead, take time to read the review and personalise your response to it.
- address the customer by name
- reiterate the problem they had to deal with
- explain how you resolved or are planning to resolve this problem
For instance, Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant Savoy Grill gave a very professional personalised response to a customer who had a bad experience with the waiter:
At the end of your response, express your hope that the solution you’ve found is satisfactory for the customer and that you’re going to see them come back.
This message will let the customer know that they shouldn’t judge your business just by one negative experience.
3. Offer a Discount
Customers love free stuff.
But they love it even more if the brand gives it to make amends.
That’s why if you’re facing some negative customer feedback, you could try to change their mind by offering some discounts or coupons.
For example, S.Spa London offered a client a spa package to apologize for not answering the phone:
Of course, a discount is not a perfect solution for every customer.
In some cases, you need to take other actions – issue a warning to an employee, replace a damaged product, etc.
So, offer coupons and discounts only in cases when customers can benefit from them or as an additional gift to express gratitude.
Besides, it doesn’t always have to be a discount.
You can also offer a complimentary product or any other perk that might be appropriate in each individual case.
Is there a single best way to respond to negative customer feedback?
But too many businesses ignore negative reviews altogether.
So, don’t leave this feedback without your attention.
When it comes to the format of your response, try to tailor it to each individual case.
In some cases, introducing yourself or referring a customer to another department is enough.
Sometimes, you might need to offer an extra apology with a discount, coupon, or an additional product to make your customer feel better.
But it’s always a good practice to personalise your responses.
Whatever you do, don’t rely on auto-replies.
Instead, show that you genuinely care by addressing each customer’s negative experience and offer an actionable solution.
Get this right and you’ll not only save a customer, you’ll also save in costly customer retention programs.
- Read: 6-Step guide to handling customer complaints
- Read: 19 Tips to improve customer complaint handling
- Learn: Online course – How to handle Difficult Situations