Running a small business can be a brutal endeavor.
Every day you’re biting off more than you can chew and it’s inevitable that you’re not going to get it right all the time.
When you get it wrong, you can bet you’ll hear those customer complaints loud and clear.
Customer feedback is the heartbeat of any functioning business but when the feedback is negative it can have a significant emotional impact on you as a business owner because this is your baby.
Resource Article: How to Get Customer Feedback You Can Use In Your Business
This is your thing!
This business is what you have poured in your heart and soul into.
As such, it’s easy to take the feedback personally.
But to be honest with you, this doesn’t help the situation.
There is an art to handling negative customer feedback and addressing it effectively.
In this article post, I shall run through a three-point framework for dealing with bad customer feedback as a small business owner.
Listen, Empathize, Apologize
The first step is always to listen.
Without judging or rebuttal, listen to the person who is stating their disappointment.
Treat them like you would a friend and be present to listen to their concerns regardless of whether you’re justified or not.
Once you have genuinely listened, empathize with that person.
In your own words, look to mirror back their concerns to them to show that you do understand why they are unsatisfied.
Prove to them that they’re not just an account number in your CRM, but that you truly value their business and see them as a human being first and foremost.
Resource Article: 6 Highly Effective Customer Relationship Management Tips for Businesses
Then you apologize,
What can I say, there’s an old cliché: ‘the customer is always right’.
Take a moment to make a genuine apology that shows them that you are taking full accountability, regardless of the context.
As the owner, the buck stops with you.
Look for the Root, Not the Symptom
Now that we have connected with the customer and show empathy, we can dig a bit deeper.
Customer feedback is a gold mine for figuring out how we can serve our customers better and grow our business – so this a tremendous opportunity if we choose to see it that way!
Ask as many questions as you can to try and identify the root cause of dissatisfaction.
It’s important to probe deeper than the surface-level feedback because it is often the case that the root cause is different from the symptom.
For example, a complaint about poor customer service might relate to the fact that an important product feature is missing instead.
The deeper you delve, the more precise you can be in identifying the true problem and therefore, how you can fix it.
Resolve the Issue and Follow Back
The last piece is to solve the problem and get back to the customer.
If you’ve identified that the feedback was justified, make a point of correcting the wrong and follow up with the customer to communicate exactly what you’ve fixed, what changes you’ve made to ensure that it won’t happen again, and to reiterate, once again, how much you value their business.
To make the process a bit more simple, you can now use AI (Artificial Intelligence) software tool to track the progress of your customer complaint.
Clear, professional communication wins here.
Always follow up with the updates – that’s what will set you apart from the rest.
To Wrap Up…
This process is not always easy, especially when the customer is being unreasonable.
But if you can distance the negative feedback from your ego then you’ll be in a position to use the feedback constructively and maintain your company reputation.
Always show empathy, take advantage of the opportunity to improve your business, and make things right.
Rinse and repeat!
I hope you enjoyed reading my blog post.
Let me know your thoughts or suggestions in the comments below.
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