There’s nothing wrong with taking a little constructive criticism now and then. For businesses, it can be the difference between evolving or remaining stagnant. The key is to not only get the information but use it.
Customer satisfaction expert Adrian Swinscoe says that every company has to accept negative reviews and feedback occasionally.
“The important thing is not to ignore the negative reviews and feedback but to be ready to deal with them,” writes Swinscoe. “Often, how we respond to complaints and negative feedback can show the side of our business that does not get seen or talked about much: how we respond when things go wrong.”
While most customers understand that the occasional transaction may go wrong, it’s important for companies to respond well when they do, says Swinscoe. Doing that can have a ‘hugely positive’ effect on a company’s brand.
The same holds true for customer satisfaction surveys—it’s what the company does with the information that’s key.
“Isn’t asking for someone’s opinion and then not doing anything substantial with it or not telling them what you are going to do following their input tantamount to not asking at all?” asks Swinscoe. “Follow up and follow through seems to be where there is a real issue.”
Industry analyst Justin Flitter would agree. For Flitter, problems are opportunities to show customers how much a company values their business and to gain a level of rapport with customers.
“When a customer calls with an issue or question, you have the opportunity to exceed expectations, remedy any faults and build a rapport with that person,” writes Flitter.
He goes on to say that companies should record and archive these types of interactions—what the company did, how the customer reacted, et cetera. Records like this can inform companies on a strategy.
“If you can analyze why and what people are contacting you about, you can take the most frequently asked questions and build knowledge and processes to reduce those issues,” writes Flitter.
In the end, Flitter says, customer service is a “great sales strategy. If call reps are knowledgeable about the company’s customers, “personally in touch with customers” and “understand issues and process from their perspective,” they’ll be more likely to sympathize and be able to establish a rapport for the company as a whole.