Customer Feedback. Between Facebook reviews, websites that exist specifically for rating your customer experience, and not to mention, social media instant feedback, it’s never been easier for businesses today to get feedback from their customers.

But how do you know the difference between a good idea and one person’s personal preference? Or what negative feedback do you take to heart, and what feedback do you ignore?

I’m so glad you asked. Here are my top five tips to help you manage customer feedback…without losing your mind.

Tip #1: No name, no worries.

People are really brave behind a computer screen. If someone has left a negative customer review on my website, but they don’t attach their name to it, I immediately rule it out. If they aren’t brave enough to put their name to their opinion, they aren’t looking for me to resolve their issue. They just had a bad day, and they chose to take it out on me. Hit that delete button, and go about your day!

Tip #2: Pay attention to tone.

Yes, even if it’s an email! Here’s the easiest difference between a critique and a critic: A critique is a suggestion, where the goal is resolution. A critic, on the other hand, just enjoys complaining for the sake of complaining.

A few weeks ago, I got a very helpful message from a she works His way member who had a great idea of how to make our blog easier to access. She applauded our content and said she wanted to help us get it into more hands. Her critique was not only greatly appreciated, but immediately implemented!

On the other hand, a few months back, I logged into my other business’ website and saw a pending customer review. She gave us 1* review out of a possible 5*, and commented she was extremely upset the mug she ordered arrived broken.

Because she left her name, I was able to reach out to our customer service team and ask them to contact her and make it right. Turns out, I learned that the week before, we had already mailed her a new mug with expedited shipping, of course at no additional charge to her. We also supplied her a coupon code for her next order as an additional apology.  Yet, her review for our business was still negative.

You can’t please them all…Pay attention to helpful critiques, but critics are not worth losing sleep over.  

Tip #3: How often does this feedback/request come up?

If you try to chase every customer request, you will turn into a made-to-order shop. So I keep a running document of requests I get from clients. Each time a similar request is made, I add a tally mark. Then, I check for patterns. Entrepreneurship is always going to include an element of risk, but you can minimize the risk by paying attention and responding to the needs of others.

Bonus tip: Every six months, I wipe the document clean of anything that has only been requested once or twice. If it doesn’t have the interest of more than a few in a six month period, it’s time to start over if it’s ever brought up again.

Tip #4: Find ways to reward positive feedback.

What’s rewarded gets repeated, right? So when people do leave a positive reward on your website, or they share about your business on their social media pages, what’s in it for them? If you find small ways to reward those who refer you to their circles, I can guarantee you that positive engagement will increase. Remember – top performing businesses do what most businesses won’t. Go the extra step to thank them, and you’ll probably gain a repeat customer.

Tip #5: Initiate engagement.

The best way to learn what your customers are thinking…is to ask! There are so many free ways to collect surveys online, in addition to an old fashioned “this or that” question on your social media pages. Eliminate some of your guess work by initiating your customers’ thoughts and reactions. In addition to gaining their opinion, you also make them feel like a valued part of your business. It’s a win-win!

Bottom line: Your customers are a part of your business. Make sure you pay attention to the right ones!