How Customer Criticism can Shape the Future of Your Business
The Importance of Customer Criticism and How It Can Help Shape the Future of Your Business
Setting up a business is hard, isn’t it? It takes a lot of motivation and self-belief, so it can be really hard to hear criticism and not feel defensive or deflated. But, did you know that customer criticism can actually be good for your business?
It’s true! It’s time to ditch the idea that glowing customer reviews are the only thing a business needs in order to be profitable and continue growing: it’s the bad stuff that’s really going to shape your future.
If you want to be able to turn a negative opinion into something useful for your business, you first need to know where to find them. One obvious place to look are the customer reviews posted to your business’ website, blog or e-commerce site. However, you could go one step further by conducting surveys to gather feedback.
Design a series of targeted questions to present to your customers and ask them to complete your survey (perhaps adding an incentive, such as free download or a discount code). Then, take their results and read them with a neutral, open-minded perspective: you might learn how to to improve your business in ways you never expected! Once you’ve figured out a way of receiving feedback – good and bad – follow these top tips…
Avoid knee jerk reactions
Criticism can feel like a kick in the teeth, and it’s easy to lose your temper or sink into a bad mood if you’ve read nothing but bad reviews. However, try to keep your emotions under control and recognise that feedback isn’t a personal attack on you. Avoid arguing, name-calling or aggressive disagreements as this will achieve nothing, and you’ll possibly even drive potential customer away.
See it as an opportunity to show customers you’re listening
Rather than deleting a bad review or ignoring negative feedback, see customer criticism as an opportunity to turn things around. By responding to your customer’s opinions and telling them what you’re going to do differently in future, you’re showing them that you’re responsive, approachable and putting their experience above your own ego.
Consider it proof that customers can trust you
If the results from your surveys show a mixture of positive and negative feedback, or your online reviews offer a combination of good and bad comments, potential customers will be more likely to trust you. Studies have found that 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores, meaning that encouraging honest feedback is likely to make you look more credible, regardless of whether it’s good or not.
Solve the problem
Finally, if a customer takes the time to express their dissatisfaction about an aspect of your business, take the time to come up with a solution. Provide reassurance that you’re working on improving X, Y and Z, and then actually follow through with an investigation: what are your competitors doing instead? What could you learn from them? Did your customer give you any recommendations? This will all help to shape the future of your business.