As a business owner, there are some unpleasant situations that no business school or formal education can ever prepare you for. Receiving negative feedback from a dissatisfied customer is one such instance.
Your first impulse might be to stick your head in the sand and imagine it isn’t there. Responding positively to negative feedback is difficult to do well, because there’s a fine line between being overly gracious and downright rude.
But in reality, negative feedback gives you a golden opportunity to get to know your customers better, identify their real needs and improve your product and the way you present it to the world.
Of course, from time to time a negative review will just be a troll (in which case, it’s best to let it slide). But don’t let that stop you from using negative feedback to your advantage, as constructive criticism can often be the kick your brand needs to reach its next stage of growth.
Let’s break down all the useful ways you can use the most common negative feedback to improve your product content.
A disappointed customer is not a lost one! Many brands avoid annoying or angry buyers, but that is the worst approach. Be positive and respond to them!
Negative (or even just mild) reviews, complaints and problems with purchases, orders and shipments are the perfect opportunity to respond to your customers and offer personalized service. There is something that annoys users even more than bad experience: that the company just decides to ignore their questions and problems.
In addition, this kind of thing gives you clues about your product and how people use it. This helps you avoid future misunderstandings with your buyers.
However, it’s important to recognise when an opportunity is a dead end. While some frustrated customers can turn into loyal customers, others might not be worth the investment of time. If customers are simply there to complain and be negative, or have a serious issue with an integral part of your product, it’s best to recognise that they’re simply not the target audience for your brand and move on.
Many companies and brands are surprised when they discover that there is no magic formula for a product page. Success depends mostly on the product and customer, and that really is a fact.
The quickest way to achieving success is by making sure that your product has newer, better features than the competition. Differentiating your product will improve its positioning, and also because each brand and clientele has its own characteristics.
By analyzing negative feedback, you can discover what product information your customers are missing when they visit your website, app or catalog. For example, as a garden equipment seller, you may identify that your customers need to know the exact measurements of the pots you sell, so that information should be included in all your product listings.
Negative feedback helps you improve time to market in the future. It is difficult to nail a product the first time, so be open to suggestions and make sure to perceive your product from the customer’s standpoint at all times. It’s also essential to analyze what content your customers expect to find and anticipate their needs. It will improve your brand image and reduce the number of questions to your customer service.
To successfully organize all these changes and keep your content up to date, it is advisable to have a Product Information Management (PIM) software. A PIM centralizes all your product content, allows you to update it on all your channels in real time and automatically tracks errors and omissions.
Sometimes you have to face the facts: the customer is not always wrong. If a negative opinion about your products or service is repeated very often, it is possible that something really is out of place.
It may also be that your offer does not match the demand, or with the type of audience you’re targeting. The negative feedback that comes back from this can serve you both to make relevant improvements to the product, and adapt it to what your customers really need.
Don't just track your own negative feedback. Checking the reviews and opinions of your competition’s customers will let you know what others are doing wrong and how you can offer a better product or service in return.
For example, if you identify that regular restaurant customers complain about a lack of information about the allergens in the menu, bingo! Add product content and much more detailed information about the ingredients of each dish.
TIP: Use review channels such as Angie’s List to scope out your competitors’ reviews.
Do your customers complain that they can’t find your products, do not understand the descriptions well or are not sure if they correspond to what they are looking for?
It’s possible you’re not speaking the same language or using the right keywords. By comparing opinions collected from your customers, you can extract patterns and see which words are most associated with your type of product or service.
And also keep an eye out for the negative ones: you may discover that users associate some adjectives as a negative feature of a product.
TIP: Use Google Suggest as a guide. Start typing your keywords into Google and check the automatic list to find keywords unrelated to your product.
TIP: Make efforts to track opinions on the Internet through a monitoring tool like Mention or Brand24. If your products are part of a post with quality analysis, an unboxing video or product review, you could send your sample product to both anonymous users and influencers.
Negative feedback is not always a bad thing. As a marketer, one of the strongest tactics in your arsenal is to turn your weaknesses into strengths. Your goal is to prevent negative feedback from occurring, but first you have to stumble a few times.
Listen to your customers, be understanding and flexible, equip yourself with the right software tools and turn that bad review into one more customer!
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