Bill Gates once said “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” But of course the feedback we receive isn’t limited to select people — a few of our colleagues or employees — it comes in many ways, and through many channels. Monitoring and receiving the feedback we receive through all channels is important for a company to make its customers and audience feel valuable. It’s a strong piece in building a relationship and reputation with people. As such, the way respond to feedback will vary depending on the channel we receive it through.
1. Online Reviews
If you’re a small business owner, you probably understand the importance of online reviews. And if you’re a small business owner who has been in business for a while, you’ve probably received at least one negative online review. Many customers who have had a poor experience turn to the safety of an online channel to share that experience anonymously.
Rather than taking a defensive approach to the negative review, flip it on its head and see it as a positive learning experience. Consider all details surrounding the customer’s experience and talk to any employees if necessary to get a full understanding of what happened. Review sites like Yelp allow you the option of responding publicly or privately, and once you figure out the full story, you can choose which method you’d like to reply. Either way, be sure to acknowledge the customer’s concerns in a courteous manner — even something as simple as “Thank you for your feedback. It will help us improve our service for all customers,” would be sufficient. You don’t want to make an unhappy customer even unhappier by letting them feel like their feedback was ignored.
2. Feedback Solicitation Emails
If you find it difficult as a small business owner to receive negative feedback about your small business, you probably aren’t actively seeking it. But if you aren’t seeking feedback, you aren’t getting the clearest picture of how well your company is doing, and how it can improve. One of the best ways to get that feedback is a feedback solicitation email.
These emails can be created in a number of different ways, as you can steer your customers to specific channels to leave their feedback. Guide them to Yelp if you are looking for general feedback on your business. Looking for specific details or feedback? Create a survey that you can review. Want to keep it simple? Just provide a reply address or basic landing page designed specifically for collecting customer feedback.
3. Social Media
Like online reviews, social media presents another opportunity for your customers to publicly provide feedback about your company. That means these channels needs to be actively monitored. If you aren’t actively using or monitoring a social media channel, you may need to hire someone who can be — or question the value of being on the channel in the first place. While every business should be on Facebook1, others may not be worth your time. The key is that whichever ones you decide are worthwhile for your company need to be monitored and responsive — ideally responding to any customer request or complaint within an hour.
When you receive negative feedback on social media, it’s considered best practice to do a two-interaction exchange. You want to reach out to acknowledge and apologize for the complaint, then you want to get an email address or phone number where you can work out a resolution with the customer off the social media channel. You don’t want to get into any sort of argument or drawn-out conversation on a public channel.
1BigMouthMarketing. (n.d.). Which Social Media Platforms Should My Business Be On? Retrieved November 6, 2018 from https://www.bigmouthmarketing.co/which-social-media-platforms-should-my-business-be-on/