How to handle negative customer feedback?

by Ashvini on March 8, 2011 · 7 comments

in Managing Customers

A business fear negative customer feedback most. She may give your company a negative rating and feedback due to customer service issues, product problems or rude behavior by an employee.

negative customer feedback

Some years back, customer could do much about these problems except taking her business elsewhere. At most she could file a complain with consumer commission and make you pay up. It was a time consuming task , until now.

With revolution in social media , the customer has suddenly got the upper hand that she so much craved for. Social media can be extremely harmful when used as a means to review a bad product or talk about mistreatment by a company. Social media is highly replicable. That means that a negative customer experience can immediately be scaled up and propagated to thousands, which can be very disastrous for business reputation.The customer may not be blamed for the negative feedback because till now organizations used to do stupid things and get away with them.

It is quite possible that in,spite of all the good training for employees and good quality in the products, things my slip sometimes. If you have not handled the customer well, expect annoying feedback to come your way.

An interesting incident that happened between a huge conglomerate where the conglomerate did not pay heed to the negative customer feedback and paid for it. Check here. The particular post in the blog had 748 responses sufficient enough to shake anyone in the business. It led to loss of reputation for the conglomerate.

The chances are quite high that you will have at least one or two dissatisfied customers. If you or your organization does get caught up with a negative feedback , here are some of the tips that can help you recover from it and handle it well.

  1. Do not oversell

  2. Remember, perceptions are important. If a restaurant that charges you hundreds of dollar while providing a poor service is most likely to get a bad review. State your product and its feature clearly. If you keep the expectations right from the start , you will probably not receive negative customer feedback.

  3. Immediately respond to customer

  4. If customer does put up a negative feedback online or in newspaper or in a blog, your first reaction should be to call her and ask the reason. Most of the time, customers that are genuinely hurt, would leave their phone or email, in case someone decide to call back. If the complain on an online forum and did not list a number, provide one to call back, or ask for their number privately. Immediate response will help you regain your reputation somewhat.

  5. Listen earnestly

  6. The most important thing is that when a customer is pained, she will be quite angry. This is the time to listen and not to argue. Making your point or shoving the policy on her face is the worst thing to do. The next post in the forums from her would talk about rude treatment. Develop a sympathetic ear.

  7. Explain your side after you have listened

  8. May be the customer did not read the policy, maybe she was misled by someone. There could be a number of things that could have gone wrong. Politely, point her to the terms of services. If she complaint against the terms itself, provide a redress mechanism, where she can formally lodge a complain.

  9. Find a common ground and resolve if possible

  10. If it is a mistake on your part, try to find out if you can rectify it. If it is a misunderstanding on her part, provide her more information about. If you want to retain a customer, you cannot just tell her to walk off. It would make the problem worse. Within realms of the agreement, try to find a common ground .

Negative customer feedback is a company’s worst nightmare. Avoid such potential situations in the first place and if you cannot, at least try to resolve them as soon as possible.

About The Author


gleezy carullo June 17, 2012 at 1:55 pm

I am a consumer myself and I base my purchasing decisions based on the reviews and feedbacks I read over forum sites or review boards. Not until we had our own events planning business and decided to have a website. Two months after our initial operation, our first concern had to deal with questionable comments on several review boards. I already managed to contact those one by one asking details about them and the transaction so that we can think of a mutually beneficial measure. Having no one responding I therefore assumed it might just be a dirty campaign from a competitor. We didn’t wait long enough, afraid that it might affect our prospective clients searching on the net. done this in a week after we set the deal.

Usman@FirstHosting March 10, 2011 at 12:31 pm

LoL , right , these days its very hard to provide good services and be stable in it.

other wise your clients can easily censor your company, as already told social media is good tool for them.

Aswani March 10, 2011 at 11:49 am

Kudos for raising up this issue here on your blog. Negative feedback is getting very common these days as to say it simply, no business is perfect and can never really be so. We also have to face the same issue here and most of the times, it is because of the lack of communication leading to all sorts of confusion and misunderstandings. It is then never easy to calm down people or your customers as you may find them right with whatever they might have experienced. Arguments can never be solution to such issues instead these issues need to be tackled with cool head. For me, businesses need to be honest with their business practices. Have to make sure that they are following it all seriously and they should cease from making false claims. If you can provide it or if you cannot, make sure it is known to your customers clearly. Very well explained in your points above..

Lorne Pike March 10, 2011 at 1:37 am

Nice points here; thanks very much. It’s surprising how many companies still struggle with the shift from being in the driver’s seat to listening and responding quickly to customers’ complaints. It can be a scary new neighborhood for companies to drive through, but a very rewarding ride if they follow the rules outlined here. Thanks for sharing!

Ashvini Kumar Saxena March 10, 2011 at 5:17 pm

What you have said is correct.
Thanks Lorne for commenting

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