It’s nearly impossible to please every customer 100 percent of the time. There will always be one unsatisfied or ungrateful person who addresses you or one of your employees about a complaint. From time to time, it even occurs anonymously via forum comments and customer reviews.

How you deal with the negative influx will largely influence your overall success, and working on a plan will help you stay in business.

Keep on improving
Would you have any reason to change if nobody complained? If everyone was euphoric and content, why should you progress at all? Through negative feedback and the management of it, you will understand what makes your customers angry, irritated, and unfulfilled about your services and/or products.

Your services can be easily customized to further the overall quality and value to exceed customer expectations. How about, for instance, say that you are a locksmith. Do your potential customers respond kindly to your service, but frown on your turnaround time? Use this knowledge to your advantage to help you better your services like employing extra help to do some of the work or focusing on the finer things of the business.

Your products will take more planning than what your services demand. Do you source a product that constantly breaks down or never really works at all? The information you gather from your customers will be your compass to knowing what areas to focus on first. Then you can brainstorm a plan on how to solve it. It may require using unique and more expensive materials, but in the end you will deliver a greater product.

Maintain your reputation
With the power of the Internet, customers feel comfortable posting negative comments and reviews about a business. If this has happened to you in the past, it is not a major problem. There are several ways to outsmart negative feedback that can further your reputation in your market.

First, let your customers comment on your blog or website. Customer feedback creates discussions and motivates others to reply. On the other hand, be sure to reply to any sort of complaint. And when you reply, you must keep it professional and never let emotions get the best of you.

Complaints on other sites are fairly common too. Regularly check search engine results for your business name. Look for comments left on other sites and add your own response to them as well. You could even ask the website owner to delete a comment if it is vindictive and unjustified.

Keep it classy
When you deal with complaints in person, the way you go about handling the situation is very important to solving any problem and maintaining your reputation within the community. First, never respond in a negative or in a “spur of the moment” kind of way. Putting up your shields or even attacking your customer never solves anything.

Rather, listen to the customer 100% of the time. Let them explain their position. Second, feel sorry for them. Say things like, “I know what you are going through” or “I understand what needs to be done” will go a long way in building a reputation with a disgruntled customer.

Remain calm about the confrontation. Even though a customer may try to trick you into an argument, do not fall for it. Stay cool, and always offer any type of solution, not heated arguments. Explain how you will solve their problem. Most of the time, you and your customer will meet somewhere in the middle to make everyone happy.

However, there are rare cases when a customer is never satisfied. That is when you politely say, “that is the best I can do with the amount of resources at my disposal,” and let them know that you went all out for them. Suggest an alternative as a means of quelling the state of affairs.

Welcome and cradle negative feedback. It is one of the leading tools you can use to better and progress your business.