How to respond to negative feedback: A 3-step tutorial from a taxi company

This guest post is from Jeremy Epstein, VP of Marketing and Social Navigator at Sprinklr.

I had a negative experience with a taxi service and blogged about it.002 Nothing too unique there — at least anymore.

But, it’s exactly those types of customer expressions many companies fear: “What if they say something negative about us?”

The point, as you know, is that people are now empowered to do exactly that and since your organization, like mine, is made of people who make mistakes — well, there’s plenty of fodder for people to vent their frustrations.

Which is why, as Viktor Frankl once said:

“No matter how bad the situation is, you can always control how you respond to it.”

And how you respond is a social marketing moment.

It’s a chance to show that you care.

Now, let’s look at what Barwood Taxi did. (And I have to say, I’m impressed.)


First off, they are using social media tools to “listen” for their name. They found my post and called me to express their dismay. That was already solid. They apologized.

Then, out of the blue, I get a letter from the president of the company not only apologizing — but giving me a $50 refund (most of the ride) plus $50 in vouchers. Whoa!

But wait, there’s more. And here’s where I got super-impressed.

They also included three documents:

  • The Complaint Response Process
  • An Open Letter to the Call Services and Sales Center Staff
  • An Open Letter to All Taxi Drivers

And, if you read them, you see that the company is truly committed to world-class customer service.

What I love about the way that Barwood handled this is that they  listened, owned up to the problem, made a human gesture to express their regret (though ‘misery’ was a bit much), and showed how they would fix it in the future. They recognize, in the name of Cluetrain Manifesto, that “markets are conversations.”

All of these are truly “social” gestures that, at least for the time being are “Remarkable” touchpoints and have generated some word of mouth (in the form of this blog post).

That’s how you do it.


About Jeremy Epstein

Jeremy Epstein is VP/Marketing and Social Navigator at Sprinklr, the world’s leading enterprise Social Media Management System to help large organizations save time, mitigate risk, orchestrate activity, and use social data to grow their business. A committed WOM practitioner, Jeremy previously worked at Microsoft and ran an international community marketing-focused consulting firm.

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  1. andy_mcf

    Hmmm, quoting Frankl… interesting hook for customer experience! If your company makes a mistake and you can recover so well that the customer speaks only about what you did to make things more than right, you’ll have a customer for life – and an advocate!

  2. Jeremy Epstein

    I always look for ways to take “non-marketing’ ideas and bring them into the marketing world…and Frankl is a big idea guy. I totally agree with you…a mess up is a great marketing opportunity. Everyone messes up, but that’s where Frankl comes in. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Ricardo

    I have a great respect for Mr. Frankl and his legacy.
    Thanks for bringing him up for your interesting experience.

  4. Drew Frey

    Thanks for the post Jeremy.

    So often you hear about companies ‘going above and beyond’ or striving to ‘surprise and delight’ but sometimes it just never happens…it’s just lip service.

    Glad to hear (of all companies) a Taxi Cab service is this committed to customer service. It’s truly a modern day differentiator.

    Thanks again for the post.

    Community Manager,

  5. Jeremy Epstein

    @Ricardo He was an incredible person. Thanks for taking the time to read and share.

  6. jeremy epstein

    Drew-agreed. It is lip service for many and that’s why those who “walk the walk” are so deserving of the recognition. Thanks for the comment.

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