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How To Handle Negative Customer Feedback The Right Way


How To Handle Negative Customer Feedback The Right Way

Gulp – a 1-star review just hit your Google My Business page.

The collective thought across your team might be, “Great, right in time for our Black Friday sales.”  

We totally get it – the sting of negative feedback is a feeling that no business enjoys, but unfortunately, it’s an inevitable part of running an E-Commerce brand. 

Though it can feel frustrating to read what unhappy or disappointed customers may have to say about their experience, learning how to handle negative feedback or navigate bad reviews is crucial for maintaining your positive reputation and making changes that improve the internal and external workings of your business.

Why Does Negative Feedback Matter?

Truly customer-centric brands know that EVERY review and bit of feedback is an opportunity to learn and grow.

Once we shift our perspectives and start to view negative customer feedback as a reality check rather than an attack, we come to the understanding that even the most sour reviews from customers are a stepping stone for developing better processes that create a 5-star customer experience every time. 

So, don’t shy away from the bad reviews! 

By embracing the good and the bad, you can turn what feels like a vulnerability into a strength that improves your customer relationships and puts you in a better position to impress future customers.

5 Tips For Handling Negative Customer Feedback

You can take us at our word when we say we’ve seen nearly every approach for handling negative feedback (and not all of them are created equal).  

To ensure that you do so in a way that is effective yet respectful and understanding, especially during the busy Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping season heading our way, check out our tips below that you can implement in your customer service strategies today. 

1. Respond Promptly To All Feedback ⏰

No one wants to feel like they’re being ignored by a brand. When a customer leaves a review, the best practice is to respond within 48 hours to let them know you see them and hear their concerns.

We highly recommend writing pre-scripted or canned responses that your team can (and should) personalize to get responses out faster.

Be sure to stick with it – 33% of customers would recommend a brand that provides a quick response to a review, and other customers online pay more attention than you may realize to how quickly and effectively you react to negative reviews on your various platforms.

2. Use Your Customer’s Name In Replies 👋

People generally have a positive reaction to seeing or hearing their own name, because it makes them feel acknowledged and engaged in the discussion. 

Though we recommended in our last tip using templates and canned responses, you should always be sure to include your customer’s name in the review and personalize the reply with relevant details. 

Doing so will show that you’ve taken the time to see them as a human being and look into the concerns or frustrations they’ve brought to your attention.  

3. Acknowledge The Issue Without Dwelling On The Negative 👀

More often than not, customers simply want to feel heard and understood. 

Without coming on too strong and allowing the negative to overtake the conversation, take an empathetic approach and acknowledge your customer’s issue by saying “I’m sorry this is happening to you” or “That must be very frustrating.”

4. Ask For More Information & Create An Action Plan ✍🏼

It’s not uncommon for reviews to lack helpful details you can use to resolve the problem that a customer is experiencing. 

If this is the case, be sure to ask for more information about their issue or put them in touch with the appropriate department that can help. From there, your customer service team can track the progress of the customer’s resolution to:

  1. Ensure that a helpful and prompt solution is found
  2. Take steps to ensure that the issue they experienced doesn’t happen again to another customer 

When you lead with empathy and wrap up your response with a solid action plan, you’ll put your brand in a better position to continue the customer relationship and improve satisfaction for future customers.

5. Offer Incentives For Bad Experiences 💰

When customers have a truly bad experience with a brand, they want to feel like they’ve gotten something worthwhile out of it to make up for their time and energy. 

Though it’s ultimately up to the discretion of your brand and customer service agents, we recommend having discount codes, freebies, or credits available to offer your customers and show them how much you value their business.

Sure, it’s not a complete solution, but even a small incentive can express your appreciation and act as an olive branch to encourage customers to purchase from you again.

Examples Of Bad Ways To Respond To Negative Feedback

We can’t cover the good without touching on the bad (or, in our opinion, totally wrong) approach to handling negative feedback.

Here are a few ways that you should never, EVER react to bad reviews from customers:

The Silent Treatment

Negative reviews are just as important to your brand as positive ones, which is why you should always respond to both. 

Plus, considering that 88% of customers would work with a business that responds to all reviews, choosing to either ignore negative reviews or only respond to positive feedback makes your brand look highly untrustworthy to a huge number of existing and potential customers. 

The Overkill Response

In the face of a harsh review, it’s all too easy to write a rambling response filled with excuses. It’s important to remember that ultimately, the customer who left the review doesn’t want excuses – they either want tangible results or to simply feel seen by your brand and other customers. 

To maintain your professionalism as a brand, keep your replies succinct yet kind.

The Clapback

We know it can be SO tempting to write an aggressive or defensive response back to a customer who left a negative or insulting review. 

However, we cannot stress the importance of refraining from doing so. 

Instead, take a deep breath and do your best to offer a brief response that addresses the concerns without taking it personally or including an insult in return.

Update Your Processes For Handling Negative Reviews Before BFCM Hits

During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, 95% of shoppers read reviews before making a purchase.

Therefore, it’s absolutely critical that your brand offers empathetic and helpful responses to negative reviews and feedback.

To help you keep up with the wave of reviews and ensure that new customers during your BFCM sales have a great experience, partner with TalentPop’s team of E-Commerce customer service agents. 

With our simple pricing model and scalable solutions, it’s super easy to scale your support up for the holiday shopping season or decrease it during slower months.

To learn how we can help set your brand up for success this holiday season in as little as 3 weeks, schedule a call with us today.

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