Feedback, both positive and negative can be one of the most valuable things you can get as a business owner.
Facing feedback isn’t always easy, and not receiving the appropriate response after giving feedback isn’t ideal either. It may not feel so “valuable” all the time, but think about it...
Feedback is direct insight straight from your customer that can vastly improve your business if actioned. As a customer, giving feedback can feel great, because not only do you get it off your chest but often you’ll be compensated for the problem.
But not always...sometimes things can go south and next thing you know THIS is happening:
“Did you see what Jane wrote about Jill’s business on Facebook? It’s completely out of character for her to post something like that, I wonder what happened?”
“Jill’s like that. The same thing happened to me when I hired her business and tried to give her feedback. She got super defensive and then she unfriended me.”
Word of mouth travels at warp speed today and as a business owner, you need to be equipped with the emotional maturity to handle it when something goes wrong and a customer is not happy.
There are typically two different categories of unhappy customers:
- Unhappy with good cause.
- Unhappy and it wouldn’t matter what you did, you cannot make it right.
And typically, there are two types of reactions from business owners:
- Emotional, defensive behaviour.
- The propensity to please no matter what.
When a customer is unhappy with good cause and they encounter an emotional, defensive business owner, things are going to go sideways. You’re going to have unhappy customers at some point in your business, but you behaving inappropriately does not make it any better.
When you react poorly to unhappy customers, those customers do not feel heard. In return, not only will they will go elsewhere to be heard, they will tell everyone how you responded to them. “Elsewhere” used to be The Better Business Bureau, today, it’s Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, or Trip Advisor, and it’s no longer ten people who hear bad news, it’s hundreds or thousands.
Therefore it is SO important to listen and hear your customers feedback and then respond accordingly. If you or your business screwed up, fix it AND fix it on your own dime. You are the owner of the business, therefore you are responsible.
At the same time, in some cases, customers have unreasonable expectations and it doesn’t matter what you do, you simply cannot make them happy. You need to release these customers in the nicest manner possible and if it means giving them their money back to make it right – do it and be done with the problem.
Bad news should be the exception, not the norm. The vast majority of customers I interact with are easy to please and have reasonable expectations.
The same is true for business owners.
Most business owners I know want to do whatever they can to make things right for their customers because they care about their business and their reputation and they don’t want to lose customers.
It feels as though people are quick to share negative feedback and slow to share positive feedback. This becomes a trigger point for business owners because even though the vast majority of their customers are happy, they are not sharing their experiences through positive reviews.
This creates a stressful situation for business owners because social proof tends to be one sided.
Here are some takeaways...
As a customer, when you get good service, share the good news! Be as quick to type up a kind word as you are criticism when things go sideways. Most people in customer service work hard and are rarely given positive feedback for the work they do. When you get good service, acknowledge it, a kind word can make someone’s day and the best part? It’s free.
As a business owner, listen to what your customer is telling you. For the vast majority of customer complaints, there is some truth to what is being communicated. Listen to your customers, let them know you hear them and that you will do better next time. If you can’t do better, let them know they would be better served elsewhere in the nicest way possible.
If one person is trash talking you on Facebook and hundreds of others are singing your praises, it’s no big deal. But when talking about bad experiences becomes the norm, you’ve got some work to do in your business.
Is facing feedback something that you struggle with? I’d like to know...how do you decipher whether a customer is unhappy with just cause, or unhappy for no reason. How do you handle it?