How to manage negative customer feedback

EmilyEVC, Avatar

By John Heffernan, EVC Marketing and CustomerCount WRAP Partner

negative customer feedback management
One situation, two points of view

What is customer feedback?

At its simplest level, customer feedback is authenticated and continuous measurement and reporting of customer experience in order to manage.

What is negative feedback?

Some may say that negative customer feedback is a response to poor service, poor product, poor salesmanship or at worst, a combination of each.

In truth, and readily backed by statistical surveys and analysis, we (and I do mean you and I) including our clients and prospects, are all too keen to complain and to highlight and share perceived negativity.

The fact remains that positive feedback remains the poor child to an overwhelming majority of negativity. This is fed by the ease of social media and email, offering shielded anonymity and instant gratification with aggressive, self-righteous and, sometimes, valid comments, posts, likes and mentions.

The business impact of negative feedback

From a business perspective, the impact on brands can be minor all the way through to calamitous.

Indeed, many major complaints have escalated from a small issue that was badly managed, ignored or remained unresolved.

We all make mistakes; we all have examples of client complaints that caused major issues where we have differing perspectives on the actual truth and events.

The old adage of the customer being always right may still hold true, but it is being stretched to breaking point by all too often unrealistic or unwarranted negative feedback.

The image cartoon above is a light-hearted way to depict a difference of opinion and negativity, which is often sourced from a polarized view of events.

How to manage negative customer feedback

Customer feedback, positive or negative, can be attained in a variety of ways including;

  • Online Feedback and Surveys
  • Customer service responses
  • Individual complaints
  • Social and digital media including ratings sites

Perhaps the focus should be on:

  • Improving your brand reputation (Reputation Management);
  • Brand strategies to encourage positivity and 5-star reviews;
  • Highlighting internal issues/training to prevent issues arising;
  • Management buy-in and training on feedback management;
  • Posting positive feedback to encourage more positivity (Reputation Marketing); and
  • Having a plan!

In any form of sales training, sales being the foremost contact with a potential or existing client, a salesman is instructed to listen more than they speak. And any salesman will tell you, that is a task more onerous than it sounds!

Negative customer feedback managment
How to manage negative customer feedback

Two ears and one mouth!

With two ears and one mouth we should all listen at least twice as much as we speak. And listening may be the first step on the road to solving negative feedback.

  • What is the problem?
  • Is it siloed or potentially more widespread?
  • Is the fault genuine and attributable?
  • Can the negative be resolved with positive response?

One way of managing negative feedback is to remember that an argument often has two sides and perhaps no ends.

If you can agree on the problem and resolution (perhaps without admittance of liability), the situation can usually be managed and an unhappy client becomes a satisfied advocate.

The skill in moving negative to positive cannot be underestimated in terms of customer service and lifetime value. Some important aspects to keep in mind include:

Listening

But when listening, the key is to actually hear what is being said!

Emotions

You must distance knee-jerk or emotional reactions from a professional and caring stance.

The problem

Being argumentative or taking the moral high ground will only serve to escalate the problem. Get to the root of the problem. What is the problem? Ask questions, review the issue and consider the personal impact to the customer.

Resolution

A resolution has to be two-way. It has to be satisfactory enough to turn the source into an advocate and sufficient enough to work for each party.

Lessons learned

Share the solution, resolve the root cause, train and continue to train key staff, continue to review plans and strategy.

Be positive

Positivity will win out!

Take steps and move forward with positive steps. Develop a positive brand reputation. And put resources into positive brand management.

CustomerCount delivers branded survey communications direct to your owners, clients and guests with questions that maximize response rates and get you the information you need.

Used as part of your reputation management and reputation marketing strategies, our surveys help you discover issues before they become negative feedback. And they support your daily activities providing real-time customer feedback that meets your business needs.

To find out more about our customer feedback management solutions, contact Bob Kobek now for further information about CustomerCount’s survey solutions on +1 317-816-6000.

About EVC Marketing

John Heffernan and Emily Collins of EVC Marketing are WRAP’s digital marketing experts. With over 25 years in the travel/timeshare market working with developers and service providers such as RCI, Interval International, CLC World, DaE, RDO, EURoc and TATOC, the EVC team understands the very specific issues facing developers, resorts and exchange companies. EVC Marketing’s deep background in all aspects of the digital marketing spectrum puts them at the cutting edge of business to business market development.

About CustomerCount

CustomerCount is a feature-rich, cloud-based survey solution providing intuitive real-time reporting and detailed dynamic data gathering capabilities. It supports process improvement efforts, builds customer loyalty and improves ROI. CustomerCount was initially designed for the hospitality and contact center industries and is now used by organizations across numerous different vertical markets and industries. Follow them on LinkedIn or Facebook.  


Why relying on assumptions is bad for your business

EmilyEVC, Avatar

By Yuri Duncan, WRAP Partner and CEO, Buchanan Creative Solutions

We all know at least one good saying about assumptions, and they’re simply never a good idea.

Making assumptions based on stereotypes will almost always lead to miscommunication and poor relationships.

I recall a visit to the historical West Baden Springs Hotel in French Lick, Indiana. It was a beautiful day as we wound our way through the giant porch that surrounded the hotel. The hotel was built over a century ago, and the level of craftsmanship was astounding.

While admiring the work that went into creating such a beautiful structure, I overheard the sound of a heated exchange. A pair of younger guests was greatly concerned with the fact that the swastika symbol, largely associated with Adolph Hitler and World War 2, was embedded throughout the metal works that made up the porch railing.

Familiar with the hotel and its past, I pointed them towards a sign hanging near the metal work: “The West Baden Springs Hotel Veranda Railing was constructed in 1915, long before the Swastika Symbol was used in WW II. Many cultures throughout the past 3,000 years utilized the Swastika Symbol to represent Life, Sun, Power, Strength, and Good Luck.”

After learning of this historical fact, the pair appeared relieved and went on their way, presumably enjoying the rest of their stay.

making assumptions about your clients

The danger of assumptions

This small story illustrates the dangers of making assumptions.  Had they not noticed the explanatory note regarding the railing, the guests could have assumed many horrible, and false things about the West Baden Springs Hotel. 

Even worse, they could have shared their assumptions on social media, creating a reputation nightmare for the hotel, and wasting time and resources as well.  In the end, the guests may have found themselves embarrassed to learn the results of their false assumptions.

In the timeshare industry, it’s not just the guests who are in danger of making poor assumptions.  In an environment where managing reserve funds is a science that can make or break a property, making blind assumptions about how best to spend those funds is a roadmap to disaster. 

One would need to understand the ever-evolving technology needs of the millennials, the legacy needs of the boomers, and the nuanced interests of Gen X in order to operate purely on assumptions.  None of us have that luxury.

Feedback vs assumptions

One way that anyone, anywhere, in any industry can mitigate the risks of the deadly Assumption is to simply ask your customers what it is they want from you and your product. 

Gaining feedback directly from “the Sources Mouth” is the single best way to understand their needs and respond accordingly. 

Are you regularly asking your customers what they want and need from your product?

Using modern survey techniques allows your business to solicit and gather customer feedback on their terms, in the mode they wish to interact.  If gathering this feedback isn’t part of your current decision-making process, then the CustomerCount feedback management platform is the perfect solution for you. 

Our feedback collection services ensure your customers are telling you what they need and allow you to gather that data through reporting to provide the concrete evidence to spend reserve funds wisely.

Why choose CustomerCount?

CustomerCount is clearly committed to fostering engagement across multiple channels.

Their survey platform provides a seamless experience for engaging your customers. And their ongoing communication strategy provides viewers with a wide range of inviting and effective video content.

Enhance your feedback management systems across the board by visiting the CustomerCount channel on YouTube

Once you’ve had a chance to watch the power of CustomerCount in action, contact Bob Kobek now for further information about CustomerCount’s survey solutions on +1 317-816-6000.

About Yuri Duncan

Yuri Duncan is an award winning filmmaker and president of Buchanan Creative Solutions, LLC – a video production company specializing in producing affordable and effective videos. His skills and accomplishments as an artist and leader are what drive him to provide high quality services through Buchanan Creative Solutions.

With a proven record in design, illustration, animation, editing, and management, Yuri oversees all projects, no matter how large or small, to ensure the end-result fulfills your vision.