If you are a business owner, you’re eventually going to get some negative feedback from your customers or other people you work with or for. While your initial reaction is probably to get defensive and mad or upset, negative feedback is actually a good thing. It means that your customers are giving you an opportunity to improve your business.
The most important thing to remember when getting negative feedback is to not over react. Sure, getting mad could potentially give you an energy burst to be more effective and get more things done, but it’s more likely going to get you worked up over nothing and make you waste time (I understand that at the moment, this is a lot easier said than done).
There are two things you can do instead of getting angry or upset, but which one you choose depends on what kind of negative feedback you have just received. Negative feedback can pretty much be divided into two categories: useful and mean spirited.
If someone sends you feedback that simply says they disagree with you and says nothing more than that, your next step is simple – ignore it. There’s nothing you can do to change their opinion, and acknowledging them is simply going to waste time…both of your time. Just forget about it and move on.
Just because feedback is negative doesn’t mean it’s bad. Negative feedback should be looked on as an opportunity for improvement. And while this person may have been upset and not have been the nicest person in sending their feedback, the first thing to do is thank them.
It doesn’t have to be long or too detailed. Send a quick email letting them know that you value their opinion and will look into the issue. If you already aware of the problem, you can let them know how you’re going to do your best to fix the issue at hand. This will not only help you keep a customer (and possibly make more by referrals), it will also encourage them to send more feedback so you can make further improvements in the future.
Once you have helpful negative feedback, the first step is to analyze whether or not it matters. Just because a suggestion makes sense, doesn’t mean it’s worth the time and money to implement it. If a problem is difficult to fix but only effects a few of your customers, it’s probably not worth it to spend your resources making it better.
After you’ve decided you need to take action, it’s time to brainstorm your options. This could take a few minutes, or even a few weeks. If you are getting stuck, you can seek help and guidance from other customers (or the person who gave you the feedback). You can ask them what their ideal solution might look like.
For each possible solution, be sure to weigh it based on how much the negative effect matters. While you may agree that the problem needs fixing, you may not agree that you need to make a substantial investment to fix it, and opt to go for a cheaper, but less effective fix. Once you have all your options laid out, it should be much easier to choose a solution.
Once all this is done, you can finally implement your solution, but don’t forget to let your customers know about the changes – particularly the one who inspired the changes in the first place.
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