Negative Feedback Is Good Too

March 28th, 2011

Angry Face by _gee_ We all like positive feedback. It’s natural to feel good when someone gives you a pat on the back. In business, that feeling is extrapolated ten times. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of a satisfied customer telling you how perfect their experience was and that they want to come back. And for good reason – the more positive feedback you get, the more customers you’ll keep for life, and the more revenue they’ll bring. But there are, in fact, no businesses anywhere that receive exclusively positive feedback.  Of the six billion people living on earth right now, there are about… six billion different attitudes, tastes and preferences. No one could ever expect to please each one of them. As much as we all like positive feedback, a negative comment tends to create the opposite reaction. It cuts us personally when a departing guest tells us that they had a bad visit. How you choose to react to that negative feedback is the key. Do you shrug it off and chalk it up to “just one customer” who won’t come back? Or do you see an opportunity? People love attention, and they especially love it when a business makes them feel important. With so few businesses actually paying attention to their customers, you can really stand out by treating everyone like a VIP. In turn, they’ll come back over and over again, as well as sing your praises to anyone interested. Unfortunately, when something goes wrong, most guests are reluctant to have a confrontation, even when they’re in the right. If a hotel concierge is rude, most people will choose to keep quiet about it and simply avoid that hotel (and probably tell their friends, or blog about it). So there is a strong need for anonymity, a place they can air their gripes without confrontation or fear of retribution. Are you giving your customers a place to freely voice their opinions? Let’s face it: your guests are going to talk about you, especially the frequent guests. They’ll let their peers know what they experienced, good or bad. Those conversations will have a ripple effect.  Here are two scenarios using a hotel example: Scenario one: A guest had a bad experience and tells his coworkers. The next time they travel, they look for anywhere to stay but your hotel. Scenario two: Another customer also had a bad experience, but the hotel staff responded to his feedback, explained the changes that they would be making, and offered to make restitution. The customer feels important and tells his friends, who then seek out your hotel the next time they travel. After similar experiences, they all become lifetime guests, who trust your brand every time they need a place to stay. If you’re truly committed to customer happiness, you’ll take note of every negative guest comment that comes through, and treat it like a valuable asset. Instead of moping about it, you need to jump on the chance to make things right. What’s keeping you from listening to your customers? Let Mindshare help!