Feedback stings because there’s always a little but of truth in it. It might only reveal how others perceive us, but it is still their truth. With every truth, we have an opportunity to learn and improve and even turn an unhappy resident into a happy one.
The real trick to turning a negative into a positive is in how you respond. We have to stop and listen as this gives us an opportunity to understand the emotion while also composing ourselves and pushing away the instinct to become defensive.
Care and mean it; simply care. Stop what you’re doing and take interest in the conversation. Actively solicit feedback and create the feeling that you are constantly striving to improve their experience. In other words, demonstrate that you care. If you care about your residents, your customers are going to care about you.
Respond in real time. Gone are the days of responding to customers when it is convenient for you because your customers are always connected. At any given point a resident or prospect can email, text, Facebook, or Tweet you and they expect a response immediately. You expect the same thing of other businesses, so why would our business be any different? In the minds of your customers, your response time is an direct indication of how much you value them and their feedback.
Offer to make it better, even if it’s not your fault. When you receive negative feedback, you have the ability to show off an unusual skill of receiving feedback well. This is your opportunity to go above and beyond to make things better.
Sure, sometimes the resident doesn’t necessarily deserve it, but that’s not the point. Going above and beyond for one resident is often the best form of marketing you could ever do. It impacts the perception of your community and creates a customer-focused brand.
Go the extra mile because it is never crowded. Your competitors stop at the minimum, which means you shouldn’t. After you’ve addressed the problem, follow-up; it is as simple as that. This ensures that you’ve rectified the problem and proves that you want to ensure a similar situation doesn’t happen again. It demonstrates a great commitment to your customers.
Misty Sanford, Founder
North of Creative