Dealing with Negative Feedback in Ecommerce

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Negative feedback hurts; there is no doubt about it. You work so hard to build your ecommerce website’s reputation, yet one over-zealous, disgruntled customer can dismantle it with just a few keystrokes. Fortunately, there are ways to deal effectively with negative feedback and even use it in a positive way. Here is a good way to approach public complaints.

  1. Watch for it. If you don’t have a Google Alert set up for your ecommerce website, then at least search for yourself occasionally on the internet. Monitor social networks and review sites especially. This is not a time to bury your head in the sand; many potential customers will be looking at reviews and feedback before deciding to buy.
  2. Know who is making the report. You may or may not be able to identify them by name, but statistics show that local customers are highly likely to post negative feedback after a bad experience. In fact, almost a third of all negative feedback comes from just those loyal customers. 
  3. Figure out why the bad experience happened. There’s a chance the complainer is simply a malcontent, but the odds are good that they have a legitimate issue. What was the core problem that they identified? Is it poor service, a problem with the product itself, long shipping times or another problem?
  4. Respond quickly and positively. This is a chance to build your brand, so act appropriately. You can begin by thanking them for their order and for taking the time to express their concerns. Then, identify and propose a solution. Many disgruntled customers would love to see their problem solved. Sometimes that is easy; sometimes it is difficult; sometimes it is downright impossible. Give a solution where possible and offer your apologies. Speak of your ecommerce website positively and assure readers that they can expect a great experience. The faster you do this, the less the negative feedback will affect your business.
  5. Deal with the issue personally. Do not simply refer unhappy customers to your faqs or a helpline. Once you have seen the review, reassure the customer that you are going to make the issue a personal priority. Follow through and fix the issue. Don’t delegate this task; do it yourself and make sure it is completed properly. You can’t afford to drop the ball with a customer who will complain publically. Reports have found that following a personal interaction, one third of customers deleted the negative review. Another third posted a positive review, and almost one-fifth became loyal customers.
  6. Deflect attacks. Do not get in a name-calling war or any other negative exchange. If the customer insists on being negative and refusing a resolution, your only choice is to be a calm professional. If you have responded reasonably and they continue to act poorly, readers of the review will see that.

In short, when it comes to negative feedback there is one thing to remember: that which does not kill you makes you stronger.