After all the time you put into your work, receiving negative client feedback isn’t easy. Handling it professionally can be even harder. But when your agency knows how to handle negative feedback with grace, you can achieve long-term client satisfaction.

In this blog post, we’ll provide three key tips for avoiding a constant negative feedback loop. Then, we’ll explain why a website feedback tool is the best solution for managing even the harshest responses from clients.

Negative Feedback vs. Constructive Criticism

Before you learn how to handle negative feedback, you first need to know how to identify it. Negative feedback and constructive criticism are two different beasts.

When unhappy clients provide constructive criticism, they may:

  • Explain why they’re dissatisfied with an outcome
  • Explain what they’re looking for
  • Offer suggestions to give your team better direction

Constructive criticism is often hard to hear. But at the end of the day, it helps you understand the client’s vision and avoid the same mistakes in the future.

Negative feedback, on the other hand, is often vague and unhelpful — for example, “I don’t like this design.” It doesn’t offer concrete, actionable reasoning or direction.

When negative feedback includes suggestions, they may be emotionally driven or uninformed. For instance, a client who wants five different fonts on their homepage likely isn’t considering their end user or design principles at all.

Negative feedback is much harder to work with. But with some extra steps, you can help your clients turn poor feedback into constructive criticism for your agency.

Looking for a way to improve the way your agency collects design and website feedback?

SimpleStage is the only platform that unifies the client experience by providing tools to help agencies collect content, feedback and track bugs.

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How to Handle Negative Feedback: 3 Tips

It’s easy to get stuck in a negative feedback loop. If you don’t take the time to understand negative feedback at a deeper level, your agency won’t improve in your client’s eyes. You’ll keep running into the same issues and struggle with efficiency.

To handle bad feedback well, your agency must learn how to translate it into constructive criticism. We’ll explain how to do so while following best practices for managing client feedback.

1. Be Prompt and Professional

Whenever your clients provide feedback, your agency should make an effort to respond quickly — but don’t be impulsive. Your first instinct may be to defend your work. But to keep clients happy, it’s crucial to acknowledge their opinions and treat them as valid. Each of your responses should be professional and show sympathy.

Only when you’re open to new opinions can you figure out the heart of the issue.

2. Uncover the Issue

Negative feedback is often powered by emotions. To make it actionable, you first need to separate your client’s opinion from what actually occurred. Ask questions to understand what led to the client’s negative response. For example, if a client states that a button is hard to use, you can clarify if there’s a bug or if it’s too small.

3. Offer Strong Solutions

When you have clear insight into what went wrong, your agency can brainstorm and offer clear solutions. Work with your client to identify a fix that can strengthen the website and that they agree with.
Of course, the client isn’t always right. If going your client’s way could hurt the website, clearly explain the logic behind your reasoning. If your client requests 8-point font, you can explain that this could make the text illegible.

How a Website Feedback Tool Can Improve Negative Feedback Management

Dealing with negative feedback can be time-intensive if you’re jumping between channels. Only when you streamline client feedback can you effectively support clients — all while saving time. A website feedback tool like SimpleStage can help you do so.

Here are three reasons why using a feedback tool like SimpleStage is the best way to handle negative feedback from clients.

1. Support Clients in Real Time

When you get bad feedback, you don’t want to let it simmer. Responding promptly helps you maintain clients’ trust while you can still exit the negative feedback loop. While email conversations can take days to complete, SimpleStage is a real-time feedback software. It can reduce the time gap between messages.

With SimpleStage, you can respond to clients as soon as they start a conversation thread on your staging site. Whether you need clarification or you have a solution in mind, this feedback tool lets you and your clients chat right on top of the site you’re working on.

2. Keep Conversations Out of Public Forums

Negative feedback can affect your brand long-term if it’s visible to the public. Without a clear channel to provide their thoughts, clients may turn to review sites or social media platforms. This is especially the case if you’re not responding promptly.

When you use a dedicated tool to collect feedback, you can reduce confusion for clients. All the while, access to negative feedback will be limited to your agency and approved users. Clients can receive the same support they expect, but your agency won’t take a long-term hit.

3. Reach Resolutions Faster

A website feedback tool can give you the context you need to resolve bad feedback faster. With SimpleStage, clients start conversations next to the features they’re referring to. They can even mark up your site to be more specific.

Even if your client’s initial feedback was unhelpful, your feedback tool can help clients provide outstanding clarity. When you quickly understand the issue, you can offer solutions fast.

Lead Better Conversations With a Feedback Tool

Learning how to handle negative feedback is essential for any web agency. While poor feedback can be tough to hear, facing it head-on and translating it into constructive criticism can help your business. You’ll be better equipped to please clients and avoid repeating the same mistakes.

With a website feedback tool like SimpleStage, you can uncover and resolve issues even faster.