How to Manage Negative Feedback from a Client

negative feedback

No one likes to get negative feedback or criticism. It’s even less enjoyable when it comes from a client. You want your clients to be happy, to be thrilled, and to remain clients. Whenever you experience negative feedback, you run the risk of losing a customer. So how do you manage it? How do you turn what might be a disastrous experience into one that might actually be positive?

1. Acknowledge their Negative Feedback

It’s important to hear the client out and to listen to or receive their feedback with an open mind. If you begin to feel defensive, which is a natural emotion in this situation, then it’s helpful to set that defensiveness aside and try to remain calm and clear. Your client needs you to hear what they’re saying and to acknowledge their feedback – even if they’re completely wrong. Thank them for the feedback.

2. Ask for Clarification

You can transition from acknowledging the client and their feedback into a potential opportunity by asking for clarification. The more questions that you ask, the easier it is to identify how you can improve and move forward. Look for answers to questions like:

* What exactly are they concerned about?
* What is the key complaint or issue?
* Why are they reacting this way?
* What can you do to move forward?

3. Is the Feedback True?

There are many reasons why you might receive negative feedback. A client may not have given you enough information. There may have been a miscommunication, and let’s face it, we all do make mistakes sometimes. Looking honestly at the feedback and the situation helps you stay clear-headed and take responsibility for your part.

4. Apologize

Apologizing is often difficult for people. It may feel like you’re saying that you were wrong or that you made a mistake, even when you didn’t. Apologizing doesn’t have to mean saying that you were wrong. For example, you don’t have to say, “I’m sorry for my mistake.” Instead you can say, “I’m sorry that we had a miscommunication.” It’s important to respond with kindness, professionalism, and understanding.

5. Learn and Grow

Learn from mistakes – yours and others. If the negative feedback is a result of a miscommunication then use that experience to change how you work with clients. If it’s a mistake that you made, create systems so that it doesn’t happen again. And if the client made the mistake, well… be forgiving. It happens.

Negative feedback happens when you run a service business. There will be challenges and obstacles along the way. How you handle the feedback will help determine how well you enjoy your business and the customers that you attract and keep.