You may be scared to look into negative reviews of your business, but you don't have to be. They contain valuable information to improve your brand.
In a perfect world, all of your marketing efforts work like a charm. Your business experiences new growth and retains existing customers in record numbers. Your reputation blooms with positive reviews and referrals. And, of course, revenue increases.
In reality, suppliers don't deliver on time, technical difficulties arise, and many unforeseen factors hinder your efforts to deliver quality goods or services.
If your customer feedback has taken a negative turn, and complaints, product returns and order cancellations pop up more often than not, don't worry. With a little care and cunning, you can turn that straw into gold.
Courage to face the unsatisfied customer
The goal in any business is to meet and even exceed customer expectations. However, when the tide begins to turn, it takes a lot of courage to roll up your sleeves, face the negative customer feedback and figure out what's really going on. While you may think you are ticking all the boxes, your customers may feel very differently.
Facing the negative feedback may mean ...
- Hearing less-than-stellar comments about your products or services.
- Learning the truth about negative customer experiences with your business.
- A real possibility of reinvesting funds for equipment upgrades, staff training, or a complete overhaul of policies and procedures.
Knowing that it might take some money and elbow grease to correct the issues can make learning the truth a daunting task. It can be a real eye-opener, though – an essential one.
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Let customer reviews identify the issues
Having the courage to take the blinders off and really listen to customer feedback is imperative if you want to turn things around.
Keep in mind that negative customer feedback is gold. It's gold because you cannot possibly make improvements unless you know what the issues really are. It's not just a matter of what you think the issues are, or randomly throwing solutions out there without really understanding what your customers want and need.
Customers will be brutally honest. If you listen and really hear them, you will know exactly what you need to change, fix or do entirely differently. That is the gold.
Hearing the negative customer feedback saves businesses and is the single most important thing you can do to turn things around.
Related article: Let the Customer Be Your Guide
Ways to gather gold
Encourage customers to participate in online surveys, reviews and questionnaires. Offer them an incentive to do so by offering a discount on their next order or a free helpful guide along with their review.
You can take to social media and encourage customers to join your Facebook page or follow your business on Twitter. And by putting together a one-page newsletter that you email to customers each month, you can encourage them to reply with their reviews and feedback.
Related article: Get Engaged: 4 Awesome Customer Service Strategies for Social Media
Invest wisely in your future customers
After gathering negative customer feedback, look for recurring themes in comments or issues. From there, sit down and formulate a plan to correct the real issues. Find the root issues by looking at your business through your customers' eyes.
It's imperative to reach out to customers to let them know that they matter, that their concerns are being addressed and what is being done to correct the issues.
By hearing the truth, you can turn the negatives into positives by getting to the heart of the matter and making an action plan to correct the real issues. Although it can be hard to hear, negative customer feedback is gold to your business.