September 27, 2022 Joshua Ruskin

What To Say When A Client Gives Negative Feedback

Nobody enjoys receiving negative feedback, especially if you work hard to improve your customer service experience and don’t believe the complaint is justified. At this time, it is the negative feedback that allows your company to thrive.

Feedback can take many forms, and understanding how to respond to negative feedback is essential. It could be verbal feedback from an outlet, an email, or a written letter; it could also be an online review. Responding to negative comments, regardless of format, must be done quickly.

If you don’t have a method or strategy in place to respond to negative feedback properly, you may find yourself on a long and costly learning curve. Alternatively, you can address complaints well and capitalize on the experience.

This post will teach you how to respond to feedback and some great procedural tactics for dealing with complaints.

Listen carefully to identify the real issue.

To fix any problem, you must first grasp what the problem is. That is why it is critical to thoroughly listen to the client to get to the bottom of their problem.

Understanding where they come from is more helpful than defensive or dismissive. You may need to read between the lines at times.

Assume you are a WordPress web designer who has received a negative but ambiguous review. The client only stated that they “didn’t obtain the webpage requested.”

You know they are unhappy, but you are convinced you have meticulously followed their instructions. In this situation, the problem is most likely misinterpreting the client’s requirements.

Sometimes developers and clients can speak different ‘languages.’ For example, you and your client could have completely different interpretations of what ‘modern design’ means.

Therefore, ask questions to identify exactly where the client’s dissatisfaction stems. Doing so can help prevent the same problem from happening with future clients. For example, you may realize it would be beneficial to spend more time clarifying and confirming certain types of requests in the future.

Distancing yourself from your emotional self

Negative feedback should not be interpreted as a personal attack. Don’t become defensive.

It’s human nature to respond negatively when we receive unfavorable comments. The idea is to separate your emotional self and listen to the statements as you would to a doctor’s 

recommendation to eat less salt. Then, with openness and thankfulness, accept the unpleasant remarks.

Notify the Reviewer

Your clients want to be acknowledged and addressed individually. So don’t forget your salutations, and avoid the generic “Dear guest” or “Dear client” if possible.

According to online review statistics, Google and Facebook reviews account for 76% of all reviews. This means you can generally obtain the reviewer’s name and use it to tailor your answer further.

Tell The Clients “Thank You”

Demonstrate to customers that your organization values and appreciates unsolicited direct input. Always thank people when responding to reviews (even the bad ones).

Here are some examples of how saying “thank you” may go a long way:

Thank you for your feedback. I’m sorry you had a bad experience, but I greatly appreciate you bringing this to my attention.”

“We appreciate you bringing this to our attention. We apologize for your negative experience, and we’ll work hard to improve.”

Thank you for informing us about this. Your feedback allows us to improve. We are investigating this matter and expect to address it quickly and accurately.”

Apologize and express sympathy

Saying sorry demonstrates that you care about your clients and are not too proud to admit your faults.

Even if it wasn’t your fault, apologize regardless. This is an excellent opportunity to build and reinforce trust between your organization or brand and the customer. Furthermore, brands that are too perfect or too proud to apologize typically turn people off.

Keep your apologies as brief as the rest of your response:

“We regret if our service did not meet your expectations.”

“We are deeply sorry that your experience did not meet your expectations, and this is entirely our fault.”

“We established a high standard for ourselves, and we’re sorry to learn that this was not met during your engagement with our company.”

Accept Responsibility

Make no excuses. Recognize the customer’s experience, even if it was an unusual occurrence, an isolated case, an unfortunate incident, or a bad day. At the same time, show that you hold yourself to high standards.

Some examples include:

“I’m very sorry. We’re generally known for our great attention to detail, and we apologize for falling short.”

“We constantly strive to provide a fantastic experience, and we are devastated when we fall short.” Thank you for taking the time to alert us to this. We will use the suggestions to improve and guarantee that this does not happen again.”

Thank you for leaving a review, and we’re sorry to hear that your experience was subpar. We want to talk with you and look into your feedback further.”

“On behalf of everyone at [Company Name], I apologize.” Please understand that your scenario was an outlier. Numerous evaluations show that we are known for taking control and genuinely caring about our consumers. We can’t change the past, but you have my commitment to improving how our employees treat every consumer. Please accept my heartfelt apologies on behalf of the entire team till then.”

Take the Problem Offline

It is always preferable for you and your consumer to discuss the matter directly and take it offline, and this avoids further shame on your part and prohibits meddling from outside parties. As a result, in your review response, you should include direct contact information for customers.

Here are some examples of what you could say:

“We would appreciate the opportunity to study your feedback further.” Could you please contact me at [Email Address] or our team at [Phone Number]? We will collaborate with you to fix any difficulties as soon as feasible.”

“We regret that your experience with [Company Name] did not meet your expectations, and we’d like to know why so we can provide a better experience the next time. You can reach us at [Email Address] or [Phone Number] any time. Thank you for your input once more!”

Request a Second Chance

Don’t close the door on bad feedback. Extend a (digital) hand instead. Invite them to return, and greet them with open arms when they do.

This allows you to redirect the topic and gives you confidence in your ability to produce an experience worth raving (rather than screaming) about.

Some examples include:

Improve your relationship

“We appreciate you bringing this to our attention. I’m sorry we didn’t live up to your expectations, and I would appreciate the opportunity to earn your business again. Don’t hesitate to contact me or request my assistance the next time you visit [Company Name].”

‍You should investigate any possibility to develop your customer relationships, even if it comes from client complaints. However, this could be the finest opportunity to develop a positive connection and relationship. People are forced to engage and work to discover a solution when they disagree. Use this opportunity to demonstrate your personality and learn more about your clientele.

As the solution process progresses, hopefully, your mutual respect and communication ease will develop. When it comes to client retention, a positive experience keeps people coming back. 

Consider a dangerous situation and devote yourself to providing the most acceptable answer for your consumers. What matters most is that you approach the situation with ease, professionalism, and a feeling of urgency.

Provide adequate remuneration

Finally, determine what compensation would be suitable to address the issue. A small discount or money off their next purchase can persuade a customer who has had one negative experience with you to give you another chance. Getting a second chance in this manner might turn a negative review into a devoted customer who promotes your great customer service.

Wrap Up

Negative feedback is not necessarily destructive. Customers that express pain areas in their evaluations help us learn more about what our audience wants and how we can enhance our product.

Negative reviews provide:

  • Social proof.
  • An opportunity to address problems in public.
  • The ability to reduce customer churn.

As a business owner, you can use the ideas above to increase your low star ratings to four and five stars in the future.

Learning how to respond to negative customer feedback assists you in addressing issues within your organization and with your customers. When clients express their dissatisfaction with your service rather than simply discontinuing it, you have the opportunity to maintain them and have a positive influence.

A key principle is that what you say about your company and online customer evaluations significantly impact your reputation. Even if you believe you have little influence over how potential customers see your firm, you may actively increase your internet reputation and brand awareness. What is the solution? Approach any situation that appears to be unpleasant with professionalism and balanced neutrality.