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Joanne Grantz
 
November 21, 2014 | Customer Relationship Management (CRM), General | Joanne Grantz

Managing negative customer feedback

It's never an ideal situation, but negative customer feedback is bound to happen at times. Wineries shouldn't focus on eliminating all online complaints. Managers should instead focus on their response to negative comments. Diffusing the situation can lead to happier customers who are likely to buy wine online again. Employees need to shift their view of fearing bad feedback to an opportunity to improve customer service, according to Houston Chronicle. It's especially important to consider your response to online customer issues now before the busyness of the holidays starts. 

Bad reviews can have a serious impact on an online wine store. Unfortunately, these comments often carry more weight than feedback from satisfied clients. People are more likely to be skeptical about content brands publish about themselves, especially for e-commerce businesses they can't visit themselves. This means many shoppers turn to peer reviews when they make purchasing decisions. While bad reviews can send managers into a panic, a single negative comment should only be a cause for concern if there are no positive reviews to balance it out. A mix of feedback can actually make your winery's website seem more credible. Too many glowing reviews can come across as somewhat unbelievable, Business 2 Community pointed out. 

Don't jump to conclusions or respond aggressively
Search Engine Journal highlighted the example of a chef who took to Twitter and ranted against a relatively small criticism of his food from a reviewer. While the chef felt he had been disrespected, lashing out over social media led to more issues because it caused the review to go viral. The same can be said for e-commerce stores who treat unhappy customers as though the issues are their faults.  It's important to take a proactive response to negative feedback rather than go on the offensive. The wide reach of the Internet has made poor reviews more accessible to potential customers.

How to handle negative reviews and turn them into an opportunity
One of the best ways to manage or reduce negative feedback is to get out in front of the situation. For example, if a customer ordered a case of wine and it won't arrive by the date it was supposed to because of weather issues or a warehouse mistake, it's better to apologize for the delay before the expected delivery date passes. Notifying clients of potential delays can assure them that you care about their business and reduce the chance that they will write a bad review.

However, if poor feedback occurs, it's important to respond as quickly as possible to calm the customer and prevent lost sales. If you wait, clients could write another complaint, which will look worse to people perusing the Internet for information on your winery. An email expressing an apology and a desire to make amends for a mistake can ease the concerns of extremely frustrated customers, the Houston Chronicle stated. You can also ask customers how they want the issue to be resolved, ensuring that the interaction ends on a positive note. 

It's easy to write off negative comments as consumers overreacting about small issues, but you need to listen to what clients are saying and determine the root cause of the problem. Having this information can improve employee response to customer issues, while raising satisfaction levels.  A positive response to complaints can leave customers so happy that they may tell others about how great their experience was, which can contribute to an increase in online wine sales.

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