How to respond to negative feedback
No matter which industry you work in, dealing with negative feedback is never particularly pleasant. But no matter how harsh a customer’s comments are, there is (nearly!) always something to learn from a negative experience. The key is in how and when you respond.
Social media has opened the floodgates to a host of new platforms from which customers can choose to compliment or complain about your service offering. The great thing about social media is that you have to opportunity to directly engage with your customers, the bad side being of course that the conversation is hosted in a very, very public forum!
- Feedback is time sensitive
The sooner that you can address any negative comments the better; especially if they are posted on a social platform where they can be viewed by the masses. By leaving comments unanswered for long periods, or worse by flat out ignoring them, you’ll only continue to fuel the proverbial fire. Same goes for positive comments. Acknowledging positive feedback in a timely manner tells your customers that you are engaged and value their continued business.
- Be fair
On that note, just because someone has said something negative about your establishment doesn’t give you free reign to bite back. Be fair, open and honest in your response. Also, don’t think that deleting a post will make a negative experience go away. Try to work though the issue in an open and transparent way. How a business replies to a negative comment can hold far more weighting than the original comment itself.
- Don’t delete comments unless they are outright defamatory
Living in a democratic society, everyone has the right to an opinion. What they don’t have a right to do is to be outright slanderous. The only instance in which you should delete a comment is if it is textbook defamatory. Ask the customer for their personal email address so you can take the conversation offline and work towards a mutually beneficial solution.
- Be courteous
The phrase killing with kindness has never rang more true when it comes to replying to negative feedback. Apologise for the customer’s bad experience and try to work together towards a mutually agreeable outcome.