Handling negative feedbacks positively

Steve Burns Posted On - October 24, 2012

Handling negative feedback positively
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An irate customer is not good for business. An irate customer who complains online is deadly for any online business. He spreads the message of doom and drives away others from shopping at your store.

Yet, no matter how well you manage things, there are going to be instances of irate customers. Something, somewhere will go wrong, and you will be called upon to tackle it with finesse and positivity.

So, lets say you have a customer who has complained online about dealings with your store. The first thing that we suggest you do is contact him/her immediately. You do not want to let these wounds fester and leave the impression that you do not care about your buyers. Listen carefully and patiently to the issue that left the customer dissatisfied and listen to it with a positive frame of mind. In such situations it pays to be polite. If his complaint is something that can be resolved by offering him something like waiving off the shipping costs ( if the complaint is related to deliveries) do feel free do offer this freebie. It might assuage hurt feelings and help in resolving the matter before it becomes a large issue.

Once you have resolved the issue, think carefully and judge if you have patched up the situation well enough to request him to remove the online complaint. If he removes the online comment, well and good, if the customer declines to remove the complaint, respect his decision. You cannot offer any inducement to either make a comment about the shopping experience or remove a comment. That is not good policy – induced feedback is completely wrong and is akin to paid propaganda.

Pressurizing the buyer to remove feedback is also not good policy in the long run. It is best to fire fight and state plainly the steps that you took as an organization to redress the complaint. In this way everyone who reads the negative comment will also see your rebuttal, so probably if your response is well worded, it will contain the damage. Explain online how you work towards ensuring a better consumer experience and the lessons and the actions you have taken to ensure that such an instance never arises again.

Many a negative feedback can be avoided by making sure that your listings are accurate and complete. A major source of customer dissatisfaction is not getting what they believe they ordered. This mostly occurs because of inaccurate or misleading detail page information. As a best practice, when you create your listing, make sure to ensure that the listing is as complete and accurate as possible. As a rule, a positive reaction to a negative situation can help a great deal in redressing the issue.

Overall, a 0-2% negative feedback rate is good. But if your negative feedback forms more than 5% of your  total feedback, you might want to review your business practices.

Finally though, take a moment to reflect and learn from this whole issue. Is there anything systemic about the slip up? Is there something that you can do as an organization to ensure that such instances do not recur? The lesson that you take away from such an experience is valuable and can help in changing the course of your business.

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