As a small business owner, one thing you can always be sure of is that you will receive customer feedback. And while getting accolades from customers feels great, it is also important to recognize that customer feedback may not always be complimentary. But whether the feedback is good or bad, it’s necessary to respond to the customer feedback so your customer knows you value his/her words.
First, let’s start with positive feedback. When you hear something good from a customer about your company, your service, or an employee, you should always recognize that feedback. If it’s given in a forum where you can respond, then certainly do so. Think about this, you loved getting that positive customer feedback so the person providing it will also love receiving your thanks for it. Not only is it common courtesy to do so, it is also makes good business sense. By thanking your customer, you are showing your appreciation and possibly enhancing the chances of receiving positive feedback in the future as the customer knows you appreciate his/her time. Handling positive feedback is very pleasant, and easy! On the flip-side there will be times when you have to deal with negative customer feedback.
When a customer has an unpleasant experience and lets you know about it, there are a few important steps to take.
- Try not to be defensive! Honestly look or listen to the comments, and if the points are valid, address those situations in your company and make changes for improvement if necessary.
- Get back to the customer. Obviously, if the feedback is in person you can respond immediately. But if the comments are online, make sure to recognize the feedback, and get back to that customer. If the points made are valid, let the customer know what you can do to make things right.
- Always consider the source. Sadly there are some people that will never be satisfied, and they just enjoy putting others down. Even if you feel this is the case, always treat your customers with respect and with a calm demeanor. In today’s online world, even words that may not be true can have far-reaching impact. You want to always counter, even anger, with an even, calm tone – your future customers that may be reading the comments will take note of that and hopefully not be swayed by the initial comment.
Feedback from a customer in whatever form … in person, online, on the phone … must be addressed, both good and bad. Feedback is really invaluable because it tells you what your customers actually think. So take that info as a means of recognizing what’s excellent with your firm, and what can use a little tweak, and make any changes when necessary.