How to Respond to Negative Customer Feedback
Negative customer feedback can feel like a direct attack on your brand. But it’s best not to take them personally or ignore them. Why? Because 99.9% of consumers read reviews before buying anything online, and 96% of consumers specifically look for negative reviews.
As you can imagine, a strongly worded response to negative feedback can leave a bad impression on almost every prospective customer.
You must give unhappy customers a helpful and considerate response, even if you think their comments are uncalled for. This article discusses a few essential tips to remember when responding to negative customer feedback or a bad review.
Why you should respond to negative feedback?
Responding to negative feedback allows you to address these concerns, acknowledge the issue and take steps to make changes to improve the situation.
A constructive and empathetic response also helps build trust, mitigate the damage done, and potentially turn a negative experience into a positive one.
Responding to negative feedback is important for effective communication and customer service, building stronger customer relationships, and strengthening your reputation in the long term.
Best Practices to Follow When Responding to Negative Customer Feedback
Negative reviews can make you sick to your stomach or make you furious. But don’t let emotions take over. Calibrate your response well by following the best practices explained below.
Acknowledge customer’s concerns
Aim to acknowledge negative reviews and feedback fast. Thank the customer for providing feedback and letting them know their concerns are being taken seriously.
53% of customers expect a response to a negative review within seven days, while 33% expect a response within three days.
Acknowledging feedback late gives the impression that you don’t have time to respond to unhappy customers or don’t care. This encourages customers to switch to a competitor more responsive to feedback.
That’s why the best online brands respond in less than a day to positive and negative reviews. They make their customers heard and respond to their concerns without delay.
Apologize to the customer
Apologize immediately when you receive negative feedback, even if you think the customer is unreasonable. This makes a good impression and shows customers you’re taking feedback seriously. Of course, you must be genuinely apologetic for how your customer feels.
Acknowledge their problem and apologize once sincerely. Then, move on to helping the customer with the situation. Don’t over-apologize.
Here’s a great example from Slack on how to quickly apologize and move forward to the solution:
Even if the review is fake, you’ve done your part in being a professional brand that genuinely cares about its customers. Another example of how you should respond to user-reported bugs and issues.
Listen actively and show empathy
Be sure to carefully read the review before responding — missing out on detail can make it look like you’re rushing through your response. Be sensitive about their feelings and get to the root of their feelings, even when the problem isn’t directly connected to the product.
56% of consumers changed their perspective of a company based on how they respond to reviews, according to Podia’s 2021 State of Reviews publication.
Empathy allows you to understand the feedback from the customer’s point of view. Let them know you understand their frustration. Just acknowledging their frustration can make them feel valued. Listening actively and showing empathy are great ways to drive product adoption with customer feedback.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. How would you feel if you were facing the same problem? Say, “I’ve been there and understand how you feel. Here’s what you can do….”
Suppose a customer reports a critical issue or requests a drastic change. In that case, you could collect feedback via multiple sources, including in-app widgets, feedback portals, forums, and bug-tracking tools, before making that change.
Here’s how Defi Kingdoms uses Rapidr to collect feedback, encourage customer engagement, and simplify the follow-up process. It allows them to interact with customers through comments and discussions, making it easy to understand, follow up and show empathy to customers.
Keep your tone humble and professional
Negative feedback can result from poor customer experience or lack of knowledge.
For example, some customers might leave a bad review after having trouble performing a simple task. Even though performing that task is easy for most, you must patiently and humbly explain the process.
Users might often vent their frustration with an angry or rude review. Even when an angry customer is wrong, you need to respond professionally.
Lashing out at customers can blemish your reputation and is one of the major customer feedback mistakes companies make while being professional ensures you’ll try your best to resolve their problems.
Here’s a great example of GoDaddy responding to a harsh review humbly and professionally:
Take full responsibility
Explaining why you think the customer is wrong online is a terrible way to deal with negative customer feedback. You’ll deter other customers from sharing feedback online.
Instead of giving you valuable insights about your product, they’ll quickly switch to a competitor’s product without telling you why they switched.
According to Findstack, 94% of customers say they’ve avoided a business due to negative reviews, and the risk of increasing customer churn is 15% when you don’t respond to negative feedback.
Take full responsibility for the problem instead of explaining yourself. Use the feedback to learn and improve your product development process.
For example, RingCentral sets a great example here by taking responsibility and apologizing for the delayed response from support instead of explaining how their support desk is experiencing high traffic.
Create a calibrated action plan to resolve it. Understand the root cause, identify a fix, and let your team know about the solution to ensure everyone’s on the same page.
Take action and offer solutions.
Once you’ve responded to the customer, try to resolve their issue. Gather additional information and determine the root cause of the issue.
In some cases, you might be able to resolve the issue from the backend. Other times, you might have to walk the customer through one or more solutions.
If needed, request their contact details — email and phone — so you can provide instructions.
Take steps to ensure the problem doesn’t recur in the future. This improves customer satisfaction metrics and helps you minimize negative feedback over time.
If you can’t resolve the problem immediately, acknowledge the feedback, take responsibility, and commit to resolving the issue. Using a tool like Rapidr allows you to create a public product roadmap. Showcasing progress with a product roadmap will also help provide more visibility on the prioritization process to keep all stakeholders in the loop.
Once the issue is resolved, take action to ensure the problem doesn’t recur in the future.
Follow up and update the customers
As you’re working on solving the problem, keep customers updated. Let them know how far along you are in resolving the issue.
Notify the customer that you’ve resolved the issue. Have them verify that the problem has been resolved on their end.
The customer might request further changes. Work with them until the issue is fully resolved to their satisfaction to close the negative feedback loop.
In some cases, the customer’s feedback might require some follow-up. Don’t hesitate to request more information so you can understand the problem and improve your product.
For example, Todoist sets a great example of how brands should dig deeper into a customer’s feedback to identify room for improvement:
When the customer confirms the issue is resolved, respond to their review, thanking them for pointing out the problem. Consider announcing resolved bugs and product updates to close the feedback loop. You can use Rapidr’s product release notes to keep your customers informed and engaged.
89% of consumers read replies to negative feedback and reviews — a confirmation regarding resolution from the customer who posted the negative review ensures prospects that you value your customers.
Embrace negative reviews
Negative reviews are the best way to understand what your customers want. A positive approach to handling negative reviews is critical for reputation management and customer satisfaction.
Negative feedback may seem intimidating, but it adds tremendous value to your product over the long term, even during product development.
The key is encouraging feedback and proactively responding to it to improve your product or service.
You need to manage customer feedback, especially if you’re receiving feedback in large volume, and ensure everyone’s problems are resolved. Use feedback portals and community feedback forums provided by Rapidr to collect and manage feedback from multiple sources on a single feedback portal.
Managing customer feedback is mission-critical
Remember that negative feedback is an opportunity to improve, and responding professionally and effectively can help turn a negative experience into a positive one for the customer.
Manually managing negative customer feedback can be taxing for product managers and lead to errors. You might forget to respond to feedback or lose track of each feedback status and progress. That’s why you need a feedback tool like Rapidr.
Rapidr provides real-time visibility of customer feedback data. All the information you need to address negative customer feedback and provide solutions is easily accessible in one place. Sign up and try Rapidr to improve your customer feedback management process.