How Not To Handle Negative Feedback


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What’s the right way to deal with negative customer feedback? Opinions may differ, but I think everyone agrees that you shouldn’t send the following e-mail to the customer:

mr [redacted]

i am terribly sorry that you have had such a horrible experience with my dealership

by far, you are the most unsatisfied customer that i have had in my 4 years as owner/gm of this store

in 2011, [redacted] ford was awarded ford’s presidents award for customer satisfaction

i think one other dealer in the state won this award

the 7 calls and voice mails you received were simply me and my employee’s trying to respond to your concerns

[redacted] is one of the top salesman in the nation in customer satisfaction

at this point, i am content that we are simply not capable of making you a satisfied customer and respectfully ask that you never return to my dealership as you are no longer welcome here

take care and good luck with you future automotive transactions

This was evidently sent from a personal e-mail address, so even the sender probably knew it wasn’t an appropriate response. Heck, it’s not even clear it was really sent by the owner and not a vengeful salesperson.

A couple months ago I wrote about what to do if your survey process is broken, as surveys seem to be in much of the auto industry. One symptom of a broken process is the attitude that employees see negative feedback as punitive rather than an opportunity to learn and improve.

In this particular case, perhaps the “learning” can start with basic grammar.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Peter Leppik
Peter U. Leppik is president and CEO of Vocalabs. He founded Vocal Laboratories Inc. in 2001 to apply scientific principles of data collection and analysis to the problem of improving customer service. Leppik has led efforts to measure, compare and publish customer service quality through third party, independent research. At Vocalabs, Leppik has assembled a team of professionals with deep expertise in survey methodology, data communications and data visualization to provide clients with best-in-class tools for improving customer service through real-time customer feedback.


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