Why negative customer feedback is a good thing
No business owner or manager likes to receive criticism. However, in the retail and service industries, negative feedback is a daily occurrence. While it’s easy to wince or become defensive in the face of such criticism, you need to remember that it’s not always a bad thing.
Rather than trying to minimize criticism, you should actually embrace it – even ask for it – because it can actually help your business grow.
3 reasons why negative feedback is a good thing
Reason #1: It ultimately leads to a better business.
We all love a pat on the back. While praise isn’t a bad thing, you can probably recall occasions when negative feedback served you better in the long run. Solid, objective criticism can improve the performance and output of individual employees and your team as a whole.
According to Snap Surveys, “Top performing companies are top performing companies because they consistently search for ways to make their best even better. For top performing companies ‘continuous improvement’ is not just a showy catchphrase. It’s a true focus based on feedback from across the entire organization…”
Reason #2: It gives you a chance to reach out to customers.
According to a Forbes article, “Asking for customer feedback can provide extremely valuable insight for your business and products.”
It’s your opportunity to get into the minds of customers and see what they like – and more importantly – what they don’t like. When you encourage feedback, it makes your customers feel that you care about their opinions.
Reason #3: It can provide the right focus.
Negative criticism can tell you where to make improvements. It can also reveal where things are going right. You will see what trends are working, what products are selling better, and learn where your strengths are.
4 ways to encourage customer feedback
1. You can start by… asking.
Makes sense… how can you find out what customers think if you don’t ask? However, you want to ask the right questions. Here are some examples:
- Why did you choose us?
- How was your overall experience?
- How would you rate our service on a scale of … (choose a scale, 1-5, 1-10, stars etc.)
- How did we exceed your expectations?
- In what areas did we fail to meet your expectations?
- How can we improve our service?
- Would you recommend us to others?
You can send the questions directly or create an online survey, which can be reached via a link. Don’t overload with too many questions that will take too much time to answer. If you send out a survey, make sure it takes no more than a few minutes to fill out.
2. Send an email after the customer has visited.
If you have a system for gathering customer emails (and you should have one), go ahead and send a follow-up message within 24 hours of the visit. You can send your questions directly or direct them to an online survey.
3. Put a comment box in your store.
While an email or online survey is great, sometimes you want to capture customers “in the moment.” The old-fashioned comment box is an easy way to get their feedback while the experience is still fresh. Many customers will ignore emails or be reluctant to take an online survey, but dropping a written comment in a box is easy, especially those customers who might be “tech-challenged.”
4. Offer an incentive for giving feedback.
Everyone loves to be rewarded, especially your customers. You can offer a discount or coupon to everyone who completes a survey. You may even offer higher stakes such as a cash prize awarded to one or two people who take part.
Now that you know why negative customer feedback and helpful – and how to ask for it – you will be better equipped to improve your customer service.