5 Must Do’s When Responding to Negative Customer Feedback in 2020

Not every customer interaction is going to be great, but it’s what you choose to do with the situation that can make a difference. Responding to negative survey feedback from customers is critical in order to retain your customer base in 2020.

Yes, negative feedback can sometimes be difficult to hear. Being a complaint department is not fun for anyone but try to think of it differently.  Think of it as someone giving you the opportunity to improve and prevent future negative feedback. It’s actually a gold mine! It’s identifying weaknesses and turning them into strengths. So how is it done?

Rules of Thumb while Responding to Negative Customer Feedback

1. Respond Timely

Contact the customer within 24-48 hours after you receive the negative feedback, via telephone preferably as it’s more personal. Addressing the situation while it’s still fresh gives you the opportunity to change their opinion about their experience. If you wait too long, the customer may not be angry anymore but, they are probably not going to be a returning customer either. Responding to the negative feedback promptly will improve your customer relationship.

      • Reach Out Example: “Hi Jack, My name is Shelly from [Company Name]. It’s come to my attention that you had a negative experience with us and I was hoping to learn more about what happened and try to make it right. Would you be willing to hop on a quick call for 5-10 minutes? Here is my availability: X. Thank you, Shelly”

2. Take Accountability

Whether you are the business owner or you are the customer facing representative, take accountability on behalf of the company when responding to negative customer feedback. Remember that the feedback is not personal. Show empathy, not emotion. Let the customer talk and share their experience and when responding, use “we” so that it shows you are speaking on behalf of the organization. 

    • Accountability Response Example: Try responding with “I understand where you are coming from and it’s clear that we need to do better for you.”

Negative Customer Feedback - Thumbs Down3. Apologize and thank the customer for their feedback

Giving feedback is just as hard as receiving it. Be sure to thank your customer for sharing their experience candidly and be genuine in your apology.

    • Apology and Thank you Example: “I know that giving this type of feedback isn’t easy and I truly appreciate you being honest and candid about your experience. Thank you for taking the time to help us be better.”

4. Make It Right!

This is SO important. Why? By submitting their feedback they are giving you a second chance. Take advantage of the opportunity to change their minds. This is where you can consider giving the customer something in good will. For instance, waiving their fee, a credit back, exchanging their item or providing additional service at no charge. Give them the experience originally intended so that they walk away satisfied. This will remove the bad taste in their mouth such that they can remember how you helped fix the problem. That is what will be remembered. When addressing negative customer feedback, expect to take an action. An apology is lip service unless followed by an action.

    • Make it Right Example: “It’s clear we didn’t hit the mark this time, but we’d really like to make it up to you. I’d like to offer you… [insert offering for that situation].”

5. Follow Up

Let the customer know what you have done to make changes whether it was implementing a process or fixing a bug.  By listening and then ACTING, it’s proving your commitment to their satisfaction. 

    • Follow Up Example: Hi Jack, this is Shelly from [Company Name]. Thank you again for your feedback regarding [X]. Since learning about your experience we have implemented a fix that will prevent the bug from occurring again. Please let us know how things are going and if there is anything else we can do to make our solution more valuable to you.”

SurveyStance Associate

Check out our Emoji Survey page to get more information.  SurveyStance offers 2 other ways to make it easy to collect feedback.  Emoji based Survey Kiosk & SMS Feedback where customers can text message a dedicated number to provide feedback anytime.


Additional Info

Follow Us

Contact Us

(888) 245-0898