Positive or negative, when a customer shares feedback with you, it’s a learning opportunity. You get the chance to see your business through their eyes, and that brief glimpse can change the course of the relationship completely. The direction it takes all depends on how you handle the situation.
We put together this quick list of best practices for responding to customer feedback, so you’re always prepared to make the most of it—whether it’s glowing, scatching, or just so-so.
1. Acknowledge feedback promptly.
Your window of time to engage a customer is slim. If you wait too long to follow up, it tells customers you don’t care about their input or simply aren’t paying attention. And that’s all the ammo an unhappy customer needs before they cancel services or smear your reputation online.
Make it a point to respond to feedback within 24 hours. Just acknowledging feedback can buy you more time to repair the relationship. And it shows the customer you’re ready and willing to do what it takes to retain them.
While the need is less urgent in the case of positive feedback, it’s still important to show customers appreciation when they go out of their way to praise you. Plus, engaging with customers after a positive experience means more opportunity to capitalize on it.
2. Be respectful
It may seem like a no-brainer, but when you’re reading particularly harsh feedback, it’s difficult to not take it personally and bring the heat. You’re human, after all. When you get punched, your first instinct is to punch back.
But remember, customer feedback is not personal. It’s just the reality of doing business. When you get miffed, take a moment to check yourself. Make some tea. Take a deep breath. Do a pep talk in the bathroom if you need to. And then respond.
3. Dig into the issue
A lot of customers leave vague feedback. For instance, they might say they had terrible service, but not give any specifics. Was wait time too long? Was a particular employee rude? Was there a problem when a customer tried to make a return?
Make a point to get more information. First, do your homework. Consult with your team and check their customer history to figure out what’s happening. If you can’t find answers, then follow up with the customer for more information.
4. Don’t be afraid to continue the conversation
It’s important to address feedback quickly, but you don’t have to hold the entire conversation online. You’ll actually get more respect from a customer if you ask to hop on a call to discuss further. It shows initiative and reinforces the fact that you want to resolve their issue above all else.
So, when an email exchange is getting heated or going nowhere, try switching it up and continuing the conversation over the phone or in person.
How to respond to positive feedback
Horary for happy customers! When a customer provides positive feedback, it’s cause for celebration. Before you break out the party hats, here are some best practices to consider:
- Express gratitude. First and foremost, say thanks. Tell the customer how much you appreciate their kind words. If the feedback is about a specific person, tell the customer you’ll be sure to pass the praise along.
- Offer additional products or services.If a customer is thrilled with one of your products, they might like others too. Take the time to subtly suggest an additional product the customer might like.
- Seize the opportunity. A customer who loves your product enough to sing its praises is an amazing asset. When you find one, consider asking them to write a testimonial for your website or refer their friends.
How to respond to neutral feedback
If you receive neutral feedback, you have a chance to sway a customer’s opinion in your favor. Don’t let the opportunity pass. Use these tips when responding to meh-messages:
- Express curiosity.Tell your neutral customers that you’re curious about their experience, and would like to learn more.
- Ask for more information. Neutral comments are typically lacking specifics. Try to get to the bottom of the customer’s indifference. What would make their experience better? What could be improved? Ask one or two questions that will stimulate a more specific response from the customer.
- Offer additional resources or solutions. Now’s the time to win over the customer with a solution or a helpful resource. Be positive and encourage the customer to try the options you suggest for a more positive experience.
How to respond to negative feedback
Every business, no matter how awesome, will get poor feedback at some point. Remain calm. Use these tips to handle the haters:
- Express concern. Tell the customer that you appreciate their feedback and are concerned about the treatment they received or problem they’re facing.
- Restate the problem.When a customer is upset, they need to know they’ve been heard. The best way to show them you’re listening is to restate the problem in your own words. Do this before you propose any solution.
- Offer solutions.Ultimately, unhappy customers are just looking for answers, so be sure to get to the point quickly. When you can, present a solution or workaround in your first communication. If you can’t fix their problem, clearly explain why, then provide workarounds or instructions for what to do next.
- Take it offline.There will be times when it makes sense to take the conversation offline. Acknowledge the feedback, figure out why the customer is upset, and offer to have a private conversation via email, chat, or phone to find a solution.
Responding to feedback isn’t as simple as it sounds. It’s important to evaluate the feedback and respond in a way that puts your customer first, even if the customer is unhappy. When you respond promptly and empathically, you build a relationship with customers. These engaged customers are more likely to become repeat buyers because you’ve shown your commitment to creating a positive customer experience.