Businesswoman with glasses

Unfortunately, negative feedback happens when you own a business. Whether it’s a customer complaining in person, a nasty review left online or information you discover while conducting an exit interview, you will be faced with negative feedback. You can’t avoid it, but you can control how you react to it. You can be angry, swear off the entire internet, yell at your team, take it personally. Or you can turn the negative feedback into productive feedback and use it to help you improve your business.

Use it for Inspiration

Sometimes a state of inspiration is a place you want to go and, other times, it’s a place you never want to go back to – but in either case, it can be a powerful motivational tool. So, yes, negative feedback can be inspiring. Just like one might keep quotes by Bill Gates, Elon Musk or Henry Ford around the office to serve as inspiration, negative feedback is something to remember so you can make sure you aren’t making the same mistakes over and again. Maybe your restaurant got a bad review. Hold on to the article. As you make adjustments to operations, staff and recipes, you’ll have the article to look to for inspiration. And next time, you’re going to win that reviewer over.

Use It For Problem-Solving

When you are feeling emotional about negative feedback, it can be hard to see or hear anything except every negative word now associated with your business. But, often, the people who leave you negative feedback might include some solutions to the issues they experienced.

And this is true for employees, too. Conducting exit interviews are an excellent way to collect feedback about your organization from a different perspective than your own. But you should be prepared for the possibility of negative feedback. Employees who have front-row seats to these problems are also likely to have ideas about how to fix it. Maybe an employee felt as if the job they do isn’t the one they were hired for. Solutions could include updating job descriptions or hiring different people for differing aspects.

Use it for Innovation

Receiving negative feedback is an opportunity for you to think outside of the box. Is there a way to solve the issue? How have others solved the issue? What haven’t you already tried? Changing how you think about feedback could allow you to come up with something completely new that will solve the problem for your customers, employees and your business. You just have to be willing to face the problem head-on, instead of ignoring it. Of course, there is always going to be feedback that is minor or out of your control. But if you are seeing the same complaints over and over again, it’s time for you to start brainstorming some big ideas and solutions.

Negative feedback doesn’t have to be, well, negative. It’s all about your perspective. You can choose to see all feedback — good or bad — as opportunities for you to take your business to the next level by inspiring you to problem solve and innovate. Contact us to learn more about how our business coaches can help you transform your negative feedback into success.