Navigating Negative Customer Feedback: Responding Complaints

March 3, 2023
January 14, 2024

Navigating Negative Customer Feedback: Responding Complaints

Receiving negative feedback can be tough, but it's actually a fantastic opportunity to grow and improve your product, customer service, and marketing.

Don't take it personally!

This is especially true for SaaS companies, as handling negative feedback the right way can lead to major growth and customer acquisition.

The best companies understand that negative feedback is an opportunity to learn. They take the time to listen to customer complaints and identify areas of improvement. They also use negative and positive feedback as a chance to build relationships with customers, responding quickly and with empathy. This helps create an environment of trust and loyalty, setting them up for success in the long run.

Can we justify Bad Responses to Product Updates?

There are times when justified anger arises in response to product updates.

In some cases, well-intentioned updates are so poorly received that they require immediate fixing or complete reversion.

For instance, Twitter Verification updates were criticized for making it easier to impersonate public figures and spread misinformation, leading to the disbandment of the responsible team. This example which has been so popular in the last few months illustrates that sometimes, there is valuable feedback within the noise.

If you want to know something more about this case, we recommend you to read this article from Conor Murray for Frobes.

The founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, has this magnificent quote: "Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning"

We have acknowledged this at Trackey and are now prepared to share our insights. Let’s dive in!

Facts about negative feedback in SaaS

Negative Feedback Facts

- 89% of people look for new suppliers after just one bad experience (Oracle)

- Americans tell an average of 15 people about a bad customer experience, compared to just 11 about a good one (American Express)

- 88% of buyers are influenced by online reviews when making purchase decisions (Zendesk)

- 67% cite bad experiences as a reason for churn(ThinkJar)

- It costs between 5 and 25 times more to acquire new customers than to retain current ones (Harvard Business Review)

Wow, social media and public review sites have completely changed the game!

Negative feedback is now out in the open for everyone to see, which means that how you handle it can make a huge impact on not only the person complaining but also anyone else who might be interested in your brand.

And the best part? We can help you navigate this new landscape with ease.

But first, let's talk about where to find this feedback.

Sources of negative feedback in SaaS

We can find three types of sources:

- Direct feedback

This is the feedback that you request from your customer. It is private and asks for particular points. You'll find it on:

- Support tickets

- Survey returns, including NPS responses and in-app micro surveys.

- Emails

- Chatbots

Feedback left on owned media

This type of feedback can be considered "semi-solicited" as it allows for public replies, but it is not in a one-on-one setting.

- Comments left below your blogs

- Discussions on your social media properties

Feedback left in public

Public feedback that is not on one of your own properties is usually unsolicited. This includes:

- G2 and Capterra reviews

- Blogs and comments under them

- Social media groups and other social media pages

- Forums and discussion sites like Quora

There are numerous platforms where your reputation and service can be discussed. It is crucial to monitor all of them, gather and organize any negative feedback.

How to identify and classify negative feedback

When it comes to dealing with negative feedback for your SaaS product, it's important to keep in mind that not all negative feedback is created equal.

Some negative feedback may be related to minor bugs or glitches that can easily be fixed, while other negative feedback may be indicative of larger issues with your product or service. As such, it's important to take the time to carefully evaluate each piece of negative feedback you receive and categorize it accordingly.

One effective way to classify negative feedback is by severity.

For example, you could use a three-tiered system where low-severity issues are classified as minor bugs or inconveniences, medium-severity issues are classified as significant usability problems or feature gaps, and high-severity issues are classified as show-stoppers that prevent users from using your product altogether.

Another way to classify negative feedback is by source.

For instance, you could categorize feedback based on whether it came from paying customers versus free trial users or whether it came from new users versus power users who have been with your product for a long time. This can help you identify patterns in the types of issues different user groups are experiencing and prioritize which ones to address first.

Tips for Responding to Negative Feedback

Below are some important tips to keep in mind when responding to negative feedback.

Tip #1: Respond

Did you know that 87% of businesses don't respond to negative reviews at all? However, responding to negative feedback can have a positive impact on your business.

Studies show that 7 out of 10 people change their minds about a brand after the company replies to a review, and 33% of negative reviewers are prepared to write a positive review in response to a company reply, while 34% would delete the negative original.

Additionally, 37% of buyers positively factor responses to negative reviews into their purchase decisions

If you're not engaging with your critics, it can appear that you don't care about their concerns or that you agree with them.

Tip #2: Respond Politely

No matter how angry a criticism makes you, never respond in a rude or aggressive manner to negative feedback.

Remember that all complaints stem from just three basic sources: failure to discover value, bad support experience, or bad customer fit.

All of these are on you. It's important to remember that most businesses only hear from around 4% of their unhappy customers. The rest stay silent, so you should be thanking them for drawing your attention to a problem that could cost you a lot of business.

Tip #3: Respond Promptly

In B2B contexts, the slow response is cited as the most common pain point. It's raised twice as often as the price. So speed of response matters.

It's recommended to take no longer than 24 hours to acknowledge feedback. However, the channel matters. As Hubspot has noted, 72% of Twitter users expect a response within an hour.

Tip #4: Provide Solutions for Negative Feedback

Take the time to investigate and categorize a user's negative feedback before responding. That will allow you to come back either with a solution or with contextually-relevant questions.

If mistakes have been made, acknowledge them. Don't be defensive. Don't ask them to repeat information they've already given.

If a user is legitimately unhappy, be prepared to offer discounts or a plan upgrade to compensate. If they're asking for new features or UX, explain how you plan to address the issue in your product roadmap.

If you can offer a solution, provide a timeframe, and then be sure to hit that target. If you can't, be honest about it. Don't create expectations you can't fulfill, or you will make matters worse.

Here’s a great example from Proposify:

Here’s a great example from Proposify:


The reply he got for his effort concluded like this:


Tip #5: Follow up / Close the feedback loop

Close the feedback loop on your proposed solutions by following up to ensure that the source of negative feedback has been addressed.

This personal touch demonstrates your concern for their success. Many companies use tools to monitor the feedback loop across the customer journey, gathering great insight into their response rates. You'll may find a good one at the bottom of this article...

Tip #6: Treat public feedback the same as private feedback

In today's digital age, it's important to treat public feedback with the same level of attention and care as private feedback. With the ease of sharing experiences online, private conversations can quickly become public.

To effectively handle feedback, it's important to be transparent, honest, and act in good faith. By doing so, you can either satisfy the individual with the complaint or come across positively to third parties observing the exchange.

Manage in-app feedback with Trackey

In conclusion, dealing with negative feedback is an essential part of running a successful SaaS business. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can turn negative feedback into an opportunity to improve your product and strengthen your relationship with your customers.

Remember, negative feedback is not always a bad thing - it can be a valuable source of insight that helps you build a better product and ultimately grow your business. So embrace it, learn from it, and use it to your advantage!

Trackey allows product managers to have an overview of product performance by monitoring feedback. With perfectly tailored surveys, In-app and pop-up questions for gathering the most useful insights!

So if you want to improve the way you collect feedback from your users, just book a demo with our team!

Written by:
Miguel Beltran

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