Negative feedback can be stressful and hard to hear. Even the best of us tend to feeling dismal and down after receiving negative feedback.
In case of negative feedback, we don’t usually think logically. Instead, we often try to save our faces.
That’s where we go wrong. If you handle negative feedback well, it can be a turning point whereas, if handled inappropriately, it’s going to come back to bite you some time or the other. It will leave you feeling dissatisfied with your work.
However, you have to understand and know that negative feedback can also mean a constructive criticism or a chance to grow. This can only happen if you’re ready to give that negative feedback a careful thought. Read further to find out how to handle negative feedback.
Take It As A Learning Lesson
Handling negative feedback, therefore, becomes very important. It’s an important part of the agency building process that causes growth to the agency. Your very first instinct might be to defend yourself.
But that’s not how you should handle criticism.
It’s something that you can learn from instead. Everybody likes to hear positive comments about the services they are providing. But there will always be situations when all you need is constructive criticism. Don’t let your agency miss out on an opportunity to learn something like that.
Try to handle criticism well for the sake of growth and customer satisfaction.
The Bitter Pill To Swallow
Chances are that you’ll face negative feedback at work. It only depends on how you are going to take it and react to it.
You can either let it ruin your day and have angry clients, or take it as constructive criticism. It will require tremendous patience and understanding of you. But once you’re able to do that, you’ll notice that your company is benefiting from it in some way or another.
So, how to handle constructive criticism?
Firstly, you’ll have to identify if the feedback can help you grow as an agency. Understanding what your clients found difficult with the services you provided is essential.
Where exactly were they let down?
Well, what you need to understand is that it’s OKAY. No agency is perfect (at least not from the beginning on). It’s this feedback over the years that shapes your agency and its work. It’s receiving and accepting negative feedback that will bring your agency to the top. Effectively working out a solution is the best way to accept constructive criticism and work with it.
Receiving And Accepting Negative Feedback
There will always be a client here or there who will be dissatisfied with your services. It’s not the majority of people who are unhappy with your work performance but the few who have some difficulties that need your immediate attention.
What you have to remember, is that you are definitely going to receive negative feedback. And receiving negative feedback won’t be the end of the world but a chance to learn from it. If you have assessed that feedback as genuine, you can work towards accepting it and working to resolve it soon.
Accepting negative feedback is vital to moving forward the process. Without completely accepting and understanding it, your agency doesn’t get the chance to learn from it and to make the necessary changes.
The Absolute No-Gos
When discussing feedback, switch your defense mode off. Hearing about how something has gone wrong is obviously difficult.
But it’s advisable that you don’t react defensively. If you’ve got some tough or unnecessary negative feedback, you might react on impulse.
Again, that is something you don’t want to do. The person giving you the negative feedback might wish to discuss it with you.
Handling negative feedback takes a lot of courage. Quickly apologizing is the best solution to diffuse negative feedback quickly.
But there’s obviously no need to over-apologize either. Taking your stand is just as crucial in handling negative feedback as keeping the client happy.
Find a chance to clarify and eliminate your client’s doubts. Once you’ve had the opportunity to clear your head, take a deep breath and think about the best way to handle the situation you might be in. Understanding and accepting are essential in handling constructive criticism. It’s the first step to moving forward. But it can only happen once your head is clear enough and when you haven’t taken the negative feedback personally.
How to Respond To Negative Personal Comments
As an agency, there will be different types of negative feedback coming your way.
Instances where things get personal might also happen. But distancing yourself emotionally is the key to responding to personal comments. If you let go of your emotional feelings, it’s quite possible that you’ll be thinking much more clearly about the next steps involving any personal motivation can be detrimental to the whole process of handling negative feedback. Since negative feedback is part and parcel of running an agency and working with clients, you have to let it go and move forward.
By keeping this in mind, you’ll be able to handle constructive criticism even better.
Personal criticism is also sometimes part of the work process and its best to take it in full stride instead of dwelling on it.
The Things You Can Do Instead
The following six easy tips will teach you how to improve your process of handling negative feedback. Based on certain bad feedback examples, here are a few ways on how to deal with it.
1. Leave Your Feelings Aside
The feedback wounded your pride? Forget about your ego. The first and most important thing to do is leaving all emotions aside during the actual confrontation. This will lead to a better understanding of your client’s troubles. Otherwise, taking criticism personally can cloud your judgment.
2. Listen, Don’t Just Hear
There is a huge difference between ‘listening’ and ‘hearing’ which you’ll have to apply when handling negative feedback. You can hear them and wait impatiently for your chance to defend yourself or actually listen to them and consider their points. By doing this, you’ll be following an easy step-by-step process of taking feedback well and learning from the mistakes.
3. Put Yourself In The Client’s Shoes
Empathise as much as possible. The ability to look at things from other person’s perspective is important in all aspects of life. For agencies, it becomes even more important to analyze your client’s situation from his perspective. Once you’re able to empathize, talking to your client or figuring out a solution will come very easily.
4. No One Wins An Argument
It’s true that no one ever wins an argument. There may be a winner, but both of the parties face the same negativity that arises from that argument. People don’t like heated discussions, but they don’t mind getting into one to prove themselves right. You’ll have to let your client save his face in this situation. It’s best not to try and prove yourself right.
5. Go Back And Forth With Questions
Asking your clients a lot of questions will help you understand the actual problem. The first step to handling negative feedback is actually accepting that something has gone wrong. So, you’ll need to get to the root of the problem to find a solution for your client. However, this can also help let the clients find an answer to the problem themselves while they’re asked many questions.
6. Dealing With Unreasonable Clientele
Dealing with unreasonable clientele is a thing that we are well aware of. There’ll be times when a client doesn’t understand a certain aspect of business and the related work. Hence, he’ll leave feedback which isn’t very reasonable. However, handling negative feedback of such kind is even more important. This will require a lot of patience of you. Sometimes things take time and it’s neither your nor the client’s fault.
How To Deal With Negative Criticism
The way an agency handles negative feedback and deals with constructive criticism says a lot about their way of working.
Hence, make a good impression while discussing your client’s feedback. Try to put yourself in his shoes and find a solution that works for all involved parties.
Often, it won’t be easy but keep in mind: The cost of retaining and upselling an existing customer is much less than the cost of acquiring a new customer.
It’s now up to you! If you’re looking for some process to collect feedback, check up Feedier’s latest guide here.
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Max Benz is a marketing manager at Filestage, a content workflow software that allows you to review designs, videos and documents with co-workers and clients. Max is passionate about growth and marketing. Fun fact: He even wrote a comprehensive ebook including 250+ growth hacks but never published it.