Negative Client Feedback – Take a Breath and Handle It

Negative Client Feedback – Take a Breath and Handle It

Working in customer service can be tricky. Employees are often told they need to be tough and that the customer is always right. We’re going to go over some important things to remember when you receive negative feedback online. But first, take a breath! We’ll help you handle it.

Feedback is always beneficial

We often hear from clients or prospects that they’re unhappy with feedback showing up online. Sometimes it’s a matter of unrealistic expectations from the customer, and sometimes reviews are made up whole cloth. The truth is, all feedback is good feedback – or at least useful feedback. Positive feedback and praises are obviously favored, but negative feedback tells you a lot about who your customers are. You can learn from all that vitriol, whether you’re refining customer service processes, finding ways small ways to manage expectations, or practicing zen tactics to reason with the unreasonable. Giving customers what they want helps you improve at your job, even if it’s not what you want or what you think is best. Whoever is giving the feedback probably isn’t looking to intentionally offend you or degrade your work. (But if they are, we’re sorry.) Negative feedback gives business owners a sense of what the client wants, needs, and expects; it helps you shape the work you do for them and improve it. They are the experts when it comes to their needs. It’s your job to respect their wishes. In the meantime, you can make changes to refine your work, attitude, or whatever they’re critiquing.

It’s not about you

At the end of the day, you’re getting paid to work for your clients. Though you can offer your feedback and perspective, the client gets the final say. They may not like something you did, but that just means it doesn’t fit with the image they have in their minds. This is not the time to throw a tantrum or have a meltdown because they offended you. (Who does that anyway? Let’s be professional here.) The best course of action is the promptly (and publicly!) respond to unhappy customers, offer to go above and beyond to correct their issue, and do your best to leave them feeling positive about the exchange.

The customer is always right (even when they’re wrong)

Your customers probably don’t share your expertise and might demand , but sometimes you just need to bite the bullet and do as they ask. They’re the experts when it comes to their needs and sometimes feedback from an outside party will be dismissed out of hand, even when asked for. This isn’t because they don’t value your expertise, but because they know their needs and they’re trying to get you to see what they see, as they see it. (You’re probably thinking “that’s unrealistic!”, right? See paragraph two above.) Some clients may push strategies you know won’t be successful based on prior efforts. Sometimes it just isn’t worth the argument.

Customer service is still important

Even if you don’t agree with your customer, it’s critical to remain kind and professional. At the end of the day, they’re paying you and you should do what they want even if it doesn’t win them points for popularity. You have to do your job with a smile if you’re looking to build long-term business relationships and build a positive reputation online. Other future customers will see the reviews and make decisions based on the feedback of previous customers; they have no way of knowing that a certain reviewer was unhappy due to their impossible standards.


It’s important to make sure customers know you’re making the changes they asked for. Follow-up with and always double-check for their approval if you’re feeling “iffy” about your work for them. In a public forum like Yelp(!) or Facebook, respond publicly and in detail about how you can or have rectified the situation. Make sure that other prospects know you’re engaged. Why don’t you work with us? We understand that you’re the experts when it comes to your business. You’re an integral part of the process and we encourage feedback to help your company grow and develop. Get in touch with us to discuss which digital marketing package is right for your business so you can begin engineering authority online.