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Reputation (1).pngYou know that old saying “You can’t make everyone happy”? Well it’s true, despite all efforts to provide customers with outstanding service, you will to run into an unhappy customer from time to time. And that customer may leave you a negative review on a very public forum. If your first instinct is to ignore the negativity and move on, you’re missing a golden opportunity. 

A large majority of unsatisfied customers will never tell you where your business went wrong, leaving you scratching your head as to why they didn’t return. Complaining customers, on the other hand, will tell you where you dropped the ball and provide you with an opportunity correct an error or change a process. With a little TLC you can address complaints and improve your customer retention. 

When it comes to responding to customer feedback, airlines might have it the toughest. Tweets about flight delays, cancellations and lost baggage are commonplace for JetBlue, like most airlines. However, unlike a number of major airlines, JetBlue goes above and beyond to respond to negative tweets from travelers. The airline actively looks for opportunities to turn a sour situation into a positive for customers.
Like JetBlue, you can become well-known for great customer service. Utilize these tips when responding to negative feedback:

1. Respond Quickly

52% of customers expect to hear back from a business within 7 days of giving an online review, according to ReviewTrackers. Because customers are perpetually connected to the internet, your response time is important. Know where your business is being talked about online, and make sure that you have enough resource to address reviews in a timely manner. 

2. Listen Carefully

Take interest in what your customers are saying, and validate how they are feeling. You can usually diffuse a situation when you display that you understand where they are coming from. Recognize that the customer took time out of their day to provide the negative feedback and actually thank them for it. Be calm and genuine with your approach and there's a good chance your haters will respond positively. 

3. Make it Right

After you've taken the time to understand the issue that's been brought up, you now have the opportunity to turn things around. Explain how you will work to better the situation for the customer. Not every complaining customer will necessarily deserve a reward, but it's important to look at the situation big picture. Potential and current customers will be looking at how you address negative feedback, and you should use these opportunities to shine a positive light on your business. 

4. Take Action

Following your response to the customer, it's important to document or at least internalize the feedback you've received. Utilize the firsthand assessments of your business to change your processes for the better and avoid future snafus. Your customers will recognize and appreciate that you heard them and are making changes. 

You can’t afford to ignore your online critics. Responding to negative feedback is one of the easiest ways to engage with your haters, better your business and potentially produce a handful of brand advocates.

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Kelly McEvitt
Post by Kelly McEvitt
March 7, 2017