Positive or constructive (I do not like to call it negative) feedback can be the turning point in a business’s success.
Let us start with the more uncomfortable conversation first, constructive criticism and how to deal with it. To me any feedback is great feedback, it shows that someone has taken the time out of their busy day to communicate with you about your business. As I am sure you are all aware by now I am somewhat of an optimist and like to think that when people are leaving a comment or passing on their opinions that it is ultimately coming from a good place. My husband would argue that some people are simply rude and obnoxious, no doubt some of you are nodding your head in agreeance.
The most productive way to deal with constructive criticism is to listen intently to what your client/consumer is telling you and offer a solution. If this feedback is in an email or comment, read it, walk away, breathe, and read it again. Always try to take the personal out of it, as hard as it is. Do not rush to react, this is a big one. Emotions can be at an all-time high when someone is sharing their opinion on a business you have worked extremely hard to build. My biggest tip is to take an hour or 24 hours if needed and when you feel you are in a better headspace then respond. If it is a face-to-face conversation I would keep my lips sealed and listen. Once the client/customer had finished speaking, I would first thank them for their feedback and ask them extremely politely if they could send it in an email so are able to rectify all issues. This gives you time to stop breathe and not rush to react. When responding always ensure you thank them for taking the time, give them a solution and or an apology if applicable. If you know you are in the wrong throw that hand up and own it. People respect that so much more than someone who is full of excuses. Offer the client something if you feel the situation calls for it, for example, if it is a landlord who feels you have not communicated frequently enough with them over the last 6 months, apologise and give them 3 months free commission, and start communicating with them more regularly. All clients have different expectations, needs, and wants. Always be grateful that they are giving you the opportunity to rectify it and not simply taking their business elsewhere. Clients are key to a happy and successful business.
A quick one for our beautiful holiday buildings, I cannot stress enough how important is it to respond to every negative comment on social media. Your potential customers will scroll through your reviews purely to see the 1-star comments and how you responded. When asking some of my nearest and dearest about their process of finding a good place to stay, restaurant, café, hairdresser 9 out of my 10 explained they scroll through to find a constructive review to see the response before looking at the positive. When responding always remember that if that person feels their experience was not up to the standard they expect this is your opportunity to turn it all around. An idea would be to offer them a half price night stay, this encourages them to return to your building and gives you the opportunity to turn them into a fan.
Let us get positive. Everyone likes a good old pat on the back from time to time. It makes us remember why we do what we do and why we love it so much. When receiving positive feedback always ensure to thank the person, remember they have taken the time to give you that pat. If you feel the situation calls for it, send the person a gift or a card for speaking such kind words about your business. My next step would be to market the absolute buggery (would have used a different word if allowed) out of it. Send it out to every owner in your building/complex, tell them how great people think you are. Word of mouth is still the best marketing tool in my opinion.
Take your time to react,
Try to take the personal out of it, have the mindset that people are trying to help you succeed if you are in the wrong throw that hand up high.
Please do not think I live in a delusional world where no one is being purposely hurtful (my husband ensures I do not). The aim of this article is to assist you in sifting out the good from the bad.