The Upside of Negative Feedback: How to use negative feedback to improve your small business

Today’s post is brought to us by Andrea Georgi, the direct marketing manager at Wasp Barcode Technologies.

Recently, our organization upgraded from an out-of-the-box email marketing solution to a home-grown email marketing product with a lot more flexibility. An automatic forwarding feature lets us forward email responses to multiple people within the organization – including me. And when I first received an email that didn’t exactly ring happy, I was alarmed. Shortly thereafter, we got a negative comment on our then-recently-launched Facebook page. After I re-collected myself, I asked our customer service team to get in touch with these customers to see what we could do. And thanks to their stellar efforts, these unhappy campers became satisfied customers – and even stopped by our Facebook page to tell us so.

Once you get over the initial disappointment of receiving negative feedback, you’ve got a great opportunity to turn the customer’s experience around. But, in order to change how a customer feels about an experience with your brand, you have to KNOW how he or she feels about it – which means it’s essential to keep the lines of communication open. The simpler it is for a customer to reach out to you, the more responses you’ll receive. Here are 4 ways you can keep those communication lines open:

Engage in email marketing.

But not in the traditional, HTML-heavy, blast kind of email. How about a personalized email that leaves all the fancy images behind for a more honest, feed-back friendly approach? The email can be as simple as letting the customer know that you’re available if they need any help. Customers that ARE satisfied will be happy to hear from you, and those that aren’t – you now have a chance to turn the situation around. Strive to make this a part of your post-sale process. A basic Mail Merge can make this a simple, straight-forward task.

Survey your customers.

We’ve touched on the basics of NPS before. We recommend conducting a basic survey composed of just two questions:

How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?

The results of this short survey can shed some great insight into areas that you’re excelling, and reveal areas where you could stand to improve. A low-cost product like Survey Monkey will let you dive down into individual responses, giving you another opportunity to contact dissatisfied customers and repair the situation. For more information about using NPS, visit this website.

Work those social media properties.

It’s easy for customers to make a quick edict about whether or not they like your product in social media spaces. Use searches on Tweet Deck to keep an eye on relevant terms (like your brand name), and then reach out to customers that express unhappiness. Thought to consider: the immediacy of social media means that customers will expect a response right away when they contact you through Twitter, Facebook, or Linked In. If your organization doesn’t have the manpower to manage all of these properties, choose one, and be great at it.

Give customers lots of options for contacting you on your website.

In addition to linking to your social media properties, keep your phone number easy to find, and not hidden on a back page you need the site map to dig up. For customers that prefer to reach out to you by email, add a simple “Email us” form to your website. Make it a goal to respond to emails the same business day, or you won’t get very far in turning around those unhappy campers.

How does your business solicit customer feedback? Have you helped any customers go from not-so-happy to thrilled? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Wasp Barcode

Wasp Barcode

Wasp Barcode Technologies is a barcode manufacturer that provides data capture and tracking solutions designed specifically for small business. While designed for small businesses, the same attributes appeal to departments and local offices of larger organizations. Wasp solutions are ready-to-use, right out-of-the-box and aren’t simply scaled down versions of complicated enterprise products. With Wasp Barcode, owners and managers will spend less time learning new products and more time running their companies.
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  • Mae Lorraine Jacobs

    I welcome negative feedback, and I tell my clients the same thing, even if these comments are nasty or downright insulting (besides they don’t have to counter them with the same attitude). It means they are open for new learning and better customer service. They also place customer satisfaction above everything else. As they say, provide exceptional customer service and profits will just follow.

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