Remember: how Customer Success Managers handle negative customer feedback strengthens or breaks their reputation.Here are 6 points on handling customer feedback:
- Customer Success Managers (CSMs) must lead from the front. Whether the work of one decision maker, a team, or an outside consultant, a CSM has to take a proactive lead from the start.
- CSMs must learn to analyze the feedback in an objective way to improve company processes as well as for their own personal or career growth.
- CSMs must attempt to create or strengthen a customer-centric organizational culture by redefining job descriptions, accountabilities/ownerships, and processes.
- CSMs must use available technologies that capture, calculate, report, and track customer behavior and feedback. But, they also need business leadership in order to structure deliverable processes (by influencing stakeholders) and reduce customer churn.
- Treasure the good. Positive feedback is the life blood of Customer Success Management. It is a testimonial to your skills and performance, and it can open doors. Positive feedback is part of your business (and career) history, and it should take a prominent place in any profile you put forward.
- Use positive feedback as a testimonial on your website.
- Turn the feedback into future customers by asking for referrals.
- Quote the feedback in your marketing materials and pitches.
- Use it to offset negative feedback.
- Own the bad. Learning to make use of negative feedback can mean the difference between success and failure. It takes resilience and emotional maturity to accept and manage negative feedback. In many cases, negative feedback is something that you are meant to do something with it.
Remember: positive or negative feedback is more than information; it is a call to action.When evaluating negative feedback:
- Consider the source. You have to weigh one client’s feedback with another’s. If the client is prone to give negative feedback as a rule, that fact is somewhat mitigating. But, that’s not enough to dismiss it.
- Exhaust the data. You cannot ignore feedback that comes largely through surveys. You need to exhaust the data that differentiates clients by demographics, location, industry sector, and much more.
- Read deep. A negative remark or score need not be devastating. You need to discern the focus of the criticism. Without a focus, you don’t know what to fix.
Remember: even a “problematic client” whose feedback doesn’t truly represent your work and performance can still do a lot of damage to your or your company’s reputation.TIP: If you find yourself getting angry with a client, ask yourself: “What am I really upset about?” Or, to apply a bit of psychology to this issue, you should ask: “What is it about this client that reminds me about something that I don’t like about myself?” Then realize that, if you can get less annoyed with the client, you’re becoming more patient with yourself and your own idiosyncrasies.
- Call right back. It may be hard to take the punch, but you must address negative feedback immediately. For one thing, the prompt response is a positive move and will be recognized as a positive.
Remember: anger exhibited by a client usually means that the client still cares, and did not “give up” on you or your company. It means you still have the opportunity to make things right.Even if the customer is wrong, your voice must be empathetic and sympathetic. If you understand that negative feedback is rarely personal, you can apologize formally and offer to fix.
- Fix it. Once you have listened to the client’s complaint and calmed the anger, you want to rewrite the scenario. Conceding that the customer lost value somewhere along the line, you want to find out what you can do to reclaim the business.
- Avoid the problem. If you have the luxury of selecting who to work with and who not to work with, you can limit the negative experiences. Start with a survey of undesirable clients. com lists these profiles:
- Free-sample client wants free work, but that’s why you have a presentation/sample portfolio.
- Unlimited-scope clients order a specific performance that expands in scope and responsibilities over time – with no change in the compensation terms.
- Vague-scare client wants something he can’t describe, so whatever you do is never quite enough.
- Unavailable client ignores calls and emails, and then she suddenly appears to demand results.
- Micro-manager shadows your every move, commenting on every step in the process.
- Gossipmongers are quick to comment on their competitors, but that’s a sign they will be talking behind your back soon enough.
- Relentless bargainers always know someone that’s doing your line of work for cheaper.
- Everything-is-urgent client want results now without patience or appreciation of the work.
- To read the customer’s value now and into the future.
- To reassess, customize, and regularly/periodically communicate the original value proposition.
- To reorganize processes and people to better serve customers.
- To design strategies for building and sustaining customer relationships.