5 Things You Should Be Doing with Negative Customer Feedback
Positive customer feedback rocks. We’re a big believer that when it’s used to recognize and motivate your customer-facing teams, you can make serious improvements to your CX and your bottom line. However, from time to time, negative feedback is inevitable. But like positive feedback, it’s not the collecting of it, but what you do with the feedback that counts. So what do you do with negative feedback in order to really move the CX needle? Read on to find out.
1. See It’s Value
Negative feedback should be viewed in a positive light. Despite what the name may suggest, negative feedback is actually a good thing, if (and this is a BIG IF) you use it to your advantage. Negative feedback is a chance to learn more about your customers, discover loopholes in your processes and understand where frontline teams need more training and support. NPS detractors (unhappy customers who are unlikely to refer your business to a friend or colleague) are some of the most engaged customers you’ll face. They spend up to 36 seconds more filling surveys than other customers and are generally more willing to provide their thoughts and feelings about the service they received.
Of course the ultimate goal is to eliminate negative feedback altogether, but we know that’s not always realistic. So when it does come along, instead of shying away from it, approach it head on and see it as an opportunity to to turn one big frown upside down, and avoid many more frowns in the future. It’s all about creating a perspective change.
2. Make Sure It Reaches the Right People, Fast.
Customer feedback is only as useful as your ability to act on it, and in order to act on it, it needs to be connected to the right people, preferably in real-time. While positive feedback is one of the most effective ways for motivating and empowering customer-facing employees to deliver exceptional customer experiences, it’s also important that they understand the areas they need to improve, too.
These critiques are not only important for frontline teams to understand where they can improve in the long term, but also create a sense of empowerment and accountability to make things right with customers in the moment. For example, if a frontline associate see’s a low NPS score because they were unhappy with the quality of their cleaning service, they can follow up with the customer to schedule a re-clean – turning a detractor into a brand advocate. This creates a sense of accountability and autonomy over the customer experience, and helps frontline employees see the direct impact of their work.
3. Look for Trends
While a one-off negative customer troll is frustrating to say the least, it doesn’t provide a lot of clues as to how you can improve your CX. However, there’s a lot to say for a group of customers who are all dissatisfied for the same reasons. Yes, zooming in on individual customer complaints to get down to the nitty gritties of what went wrong and how it can be avoided in the future is important, it’s also important to zoom out and get a birds eye view of negative feedback. What are the trends and patterns? What are the common reasons for low NPS scores? Which branches, teams and individuals are receiving the most negative feedback, and why?
By looking for trends in your negative customer feedback, you’re able to see where your blindspots in your service business are, and prioritize improvements based on what matters most to YOUR customers. Whether it's specific branches, teams, or individuals receiving the most negative feedback, this big-picture view empowers you to make targeted changes that ultimately enhance the customer experience and increase customer satisfaction.
4. Use It For Coaching
Once you’ve spotted the key trends in your negative customer feedback, start using it to coach your frontline teams. A simple but effective coaching strategy is to set goals based on the identified trends and provide targeted training and resources to address the specific areas of improvement. By setting clear goals, such as improving communication skills or enhancing product knowledge, frontline teams have a tangible focus for their development. Regular coaching sessions can be conducted to provide guidance, share best practices, and offer constructive feedback to help team members meet these goals. Additionally, recognizing and celebrating progress and achievements along the way can further motivate and engage the frontline teams. This coaching approach ensures that the feedback from customers is effectively translated into actionable steps for improvement, resulting in a more customer-centric and high-performing frontline team.
5. Always Balance with Positive Feedback
Too much of anything can be a bad thing. While negative feedback has its positives, it still can chip away at employee morale if they’re overloaded with it. Hence, balance is key. While negative feedback highlights areas of improvement and identifies pain points, positive feedback serves as a morale booster and recognition of their efforts. It provides frontline teams with motivation, reaffirming that they are making a positive impact on customers' lives. Positive feedback also showcases successful interactions, highlighting their strengths and encouraging them to continue delivering exceptional service. By considering both negative and positive feedback, frontline teams gain a more comprehensive perspective on their performance, enabling them to build on their strengths while addressing areas that need improvement. This balanced approach fosters a positive work environment, boosts team morale, creates a work environment where employees feel motivated to be the best version of themselves.
When used right, negative feedback can help your business soar. It highlights areas of improvement and can help turn wrongs into rights when it comes to the customer experience and overall employee performance. Don’t run away from negative feedback, instead, see its value, connect it to customer-facing teams, spot trends, use it for coaching and don’t forget to balance it with positive feedback to keep employees happy and motivated to keep delivering 5-star experiences.