So, you want to use feedback to improve your service department. But where do you start? Gökhan Tuna, customer feedback expert at TOPdesk, has got a tip for you. It sounds counter-intuitive, but you get more out of the feedback you receive if you focus on the negative.

Brave your bad review buildup

Have you ever done a customer satisfaction survey? Then you’ve probably come across both glowing praise and blunt criticism. It’s tempting to focus on the positive and improve by doing more of the things you’re getting praise for. And often it’s not worth the time to investigate medium ratings like 6 or 7 out of 10, because this group of customers may simply not care all that much about the quality of your services.

But what about the bad reviews? They may not always seem very constructive, but they were written by your least satisfied customers, and they obviously care enough to provide criticism. The areas they’re focussing on are the ones you can improve the most.

So, how do you turn an angry review into useful feedback?

Call your angry customers and find out what their problem is. Afraid you’ll get an earful? Don’t be. An angry customer isn’t the same as a rude customer. In my experience, service desk customers who’ve had a bad experience are nearly always willing to elaborate and suggest improvements.

Lots of people are afraid to face the furious feedback monster. But your customer probably gave a low rating or bad review in the heat of the moment. They’ll be willing to help if you’re willing to listen.

Get specific: turn bad reviews into useful feedback

You’ve called your customer and they’re really not that bad. You ask them to elaborate and you got nothing. Nothing useful anyway. How do you extract valuable feedback from your customer’s story? Ask specific questions to dig up the problem. And don’t rely too much on your assumptions.

Is one of your operator getting bad reviews? Maybe they’re perfectly polite, but don’t know how to pass issues to the second line properly, so your customers don’t get the answers they’re looking for. Your operator got the bad rating, but maybe the real problem is a complicated process. Or maybe it’s unclear who’s responsible for second-line issues.

Asking customers to elaborate on their bad reviews helps you spot recurring pain points you need to fix. At the same time, you create a more positive experience for the customer by getting back to them about their review, because you’re showing them that you’ve read their feedback and take it seriously.

Try to get answers that will help you improve your services. Make sure your questions are specific, but not too specific. Don’t ask what your customer is doing with the new laptop and how they got it from IT. Ask about feelings and experiences. Do your customers feel like they get the tools they need within an acceptable time frame? Do service staff act with integrity? And what experience triggers a negative review? Is it a disappointing answer to a request, lack of communication, or long waiting times? Look at your service from the customer’s point of view. That’s how you improve their experience.

So, don’t be afraid to follow up on bad reviews. They don’t always seem very constructive at first, but it’s the bad reviews that bring you closer to service excellence.
These are 10 more methods to obtain customer feedback

Want more inspiration on how to improve Customer Experience?

If you want to find out more about using feedback to improve customer experience, download our free customer centricity e-book. Or read the blogs about improving your customer experience by mapping out customer journeys and shifting from SLA’s to XLA’s.