How do you turn negative customer feedback into actionable insights?

Explore the value of negative customer feedback: a key tool for improving products, services, and customer satisfaction through actionable insights.

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Turning Negative Feedback into Positive Change

Negative feedback can often feel disheartening, but it holds valuable insights for social purpose organizations willing to listen. By learning how to turn negative feedback into actionable insights, you can transform criticism into opportunities for improvement. In this article, we'll explore the steps to translate data from negative feedback using feedback analytics.

With these actionable steps, you can uncover key themes, understand sentiment, and visualize data to make informed decisions that drive growth and success. So, let's dive in and discover how to harness the power of negative feedback for positive change.

How to navigate Negative NPS

Negative NPS" refers to a negative score on the Net Promoter Score (NPS) scale, a widely used metric to gauge customer loyalty and satisfaction. The NPS is calculated based on responses to a single question: "On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?" Respondents are categorized as Promoters (9-10 score), Passives (7-8 score), and Detractors (0-6 score).

The NPS itself is calculated by subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters. The resulting score can range from -100 to 100. A "Negative NPS" means that a company has a higher percentage of Detractors than Promoters, indicating that more customers are dissatisfied and unlikely to recommend the company's product or service, which can be a concern for the business's reputation and growth potential.

Identify Areas for Improvement

Negative NPS (Net Promoter Score) can be particularly illuminating, offering a unique opportunity to enhance program effectiveness, student engagement, and ultimately, stakeholder loyalty.

To illustrate let's take an skilling organization FutureSkill Acadmey, who is focused on "Improving Job Skills for the Future"

Their theory of change is "A lack of job skills training and development opportunities leads to a lack of readiness for the future job market."

Stakeholders: job seekers, employers, education and training institutions

These surveys allow FutureSkill Academy  to understand how their initiatives influence stakeholders' awareness, attitudes, and behaviors towards job seekers, employers or skilling organizations. By analyzing the data gathered through pre and post surveys, especially with the aid of AI-driven text analysis tools like Sopact Sense, organizations can gain actionable insights.

FutureSkill Acadmey - Upskilling Program

Here's how leveraging a negative NPS can be beneficial in this context:

  1. Targeted Curriculum Improvements: Negative feedback can pinpoint specific areas within the curriculum that may be lacking or not meeting learners' expectations. This insight allows educational institutions or skilling programs to refine their curriculum, making it more relevant, engaging, and aligned with industry needs or academic standards, thereby enhancing the learning experience.
  2. Enhanced Teaching Methodologies: A negative NPS can highlight issues not just with the curriculum but also with teaching methodologies. It encourages educators to adopt more innovative, interactive, and learner-centered teaching approaches. Personalizing learning experiences based on feedback can significantly improve student satisfaction and outcomes.
  3. Improved Learner Support Services: Feedback indicating a negative NPS may often point to inadequate learner support services, such as mentoring, career counseling, or administrative support. Enhancing these services ensures that learners feel supported throughout their educational journey, improving satisfaction and loyalty.
  4. Building a Community: Negative feedback often emphasizes a lack of connection with the institution or program. Addressing this can involve creating stronger community ties among students, alumni, and faculty through networking events, clubs, and online forums. A strong sense of community can enhance loyalty and encourage word-of-mouth recommendations.
  5. Fostering a Culture of Continuous Feedback: Utilizing a negative NPS as a catalyst, educational institutions can establish a culture of continuous feedback and improvement. Regularly soliciting and acting on feedback demonstrates a commitment to excellence and responsiveness, which can boost stakeholder (students, educators, employers) confidence and loyalty.
  6. Addressing Specific Stakeholder Concerns: For skilling programs, specifically, a negative NPS can reveal discrepancies between the skills taught and those valued by employers. Engaging directly with employers to understand their needs and adjusting programs accordingly can increase the relevance of skilling initiatives, enhancing participant and employer satisfaction.
  7. Marketing and Positioning: Turning a negative NPS around can be a powerful narrative for marketing the program. Sharing stories of how feedback was used to make substantial improvements can attract new students who value responsiveness and a commitment to quality education.
  8. Strengthening Alumni Networks: Engaged and satisfied learners are more likely to become active alumni, contributing to the program's network through mentorship, recruitment, and donations. A focus on improving the NPS can lead to stronger alumni networks, which are invaluable resources for current students and the institution itself.

By addressing the root causes of dissatisfaction that lead to a Negative NPS, skilling and education programs can significantly improve the quality of education, enhance learner satisfaction, and build a loyal community of alumni and stakeholders. This approach not only rectifies current shortcomings but also positions the program as adaptive and committed to excellence, key qualities for long-term success and reputation in the competitive educational landscape.

Negative Customer Feedback Examples

Below are detailed examples of negative customer feedback tailored to specific contexts: reskilling programs, coaching services, entrepreneurship building, and water social enterprises. Each example includes how to identify key issues and leverage Sopact Sense for analysis.

Reskilling Programs

Problem Statement: "The mismatch between reskilling programs and job market demands is a challenge faced by individuals seeking employment because of outdated curricula that do not align with current employer requirements. This results in a workforce that is not adequately prepared for available job opportunities, leading to higher unemployment rates and underemployment among program participants. It creates a need for updated, market-relevant reskilling programs that closely match the skills employers are actively seeking."

Feedback: "The reskilling program felt outdated and disconnected from current job market demands. It didn't equip me with the skills that employers are actually looking for."

What to Look For: This feedback suggests that the curriculum may not be aligned with the evolving needs of the job market. Identifying the specific skills perceived as lacking is crucial.

Using Sopact Sense: Employ the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to gauge overall satisfaction with the program's relevance. A closed-ended question could be,

Three Steps for Gathering Effective Customer Feedback

"How relevant do you find the skills taught in our program to current job market demands?"

Additionally, ask an open-ended question like, "Which specific skills do you think were missing or underemphasized in our curriculum?"

Analyzing responses in Sopact Sense can help identify necessary curriculum updates. Further segmentation by student demographics or career interests can pinpoint areas for improvement.

Coaching Services

Problem Statement: "Generic and non-tailored coaching sessions are a challenge faced by individuals seeking personal and professional development because of a one-size-fits-all approach that fails to address specific goals and challenges of each client. This results in less effective personal growth and professional advancement, limiting individuals' potential to achieve their objectives and contribute fully to their fields. It creates a need for more personalized, actionable coaching that aligns with individual development goals."

Feedback: "I found the coaching sessions to be generic and not tailored to my personal development goals. I was hoping for more personalized guidance and actionable feedback."

What to Look For: This feedback points to a need for more customized and actionable coaching approaches. Understanding the areas where clients feel underserved is essential.

Using Sopact Sense: Utilize the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) to measure satisfaction levels with the personalization of coaching. Ask a closed-ended question like,

"How personalized did you find our coaching sessions?"

An open-ended follow-up could be, "What specific areas would you like more tailored advice or strategies on?"

Use Sopact Sense to analyze responses, focusing on themes that suggest areas for enhancing customization. Segmentation by client goals or backgrounds can reveal more detailed insights into personalization needs.

Entrepreneurship Building

Problem Statement: "The lack of practical, real-world application in entrepreneurship programs is a challenge faced by aspiring entrepreneurs because of an overemphasis on theoretical knowledge without sufficient mentorship or practical experience. This results in entrepreneurs who are ill-prepared for the realities of starting and running a business, leading to a higher failure rate of startups and a waste of resources. It creates a need for entrepreneurship programs that integrate real-world experiences, hands-on projects, and mentorship opportunities to bridge the gap between theory and practice."

Feedback: "While the entrepreneurship program provides good theoretical knowledge, there's a lack of practical, real-world application and mentorship opportunities."

What to Look For: This feedback highlights the gap between theory and practice in entrepreneurship education. Identifying the types of practical experiences and mentorship participants find lacking is key.

Using Sopact Sense: Apply the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to assess overall perceptions of the program's balance between theory and practice. A relevant closed-ended question might be,

"How well does our program integrate real-world application into the learning experience?"

NPS provides a benchmark but lacks detailed insights into customer opinions. So, why not directly inquire for their thoughts?

An open-ended question for deeper insights could be,

"What types of practical experiences or mentorship opportunities do you feel are missing from our program?"

Analyzing these responses in Sopact Sense can guide improvements in program design. Further analysis by participant demographics or business stages can tailor enhancements more effectively.

Water Social Enterprise

Problem Statement: "Insufficient maintenance and sustainability of water projects are challenges faced by communities in need of reliable water access because of inadequate planning and investment in the long-term operation of these initiatives. This results in frequent disruptions in water supply, negatively affecting health, sanitation, and economic activities within these communities. It creates a need for sustainable water solutions that include robust maintenance plans and community involvement to ensure the longevity and reliability of water access projects."

Feedback: "Your efforts to improve water access in our community are commendable, but the maintenance and sustainability of these water projects are lacking, leading to frequent disruptions."

What to Look For: This feedback indicates problems with the long-term sustainability and maintenance of water projects. Understanding the frequency and causes of disruptions is critical.

Using Sopact Sense: Leverage the Customer Effort Score (CES) to evaluate how easy it is for communities to report and resolve water project issues. A closed-ended question could be,

"How easy is it to report issues with water projects?"

An open-ended question might be,

"What suggestions do you have for improving the maintenance and sustainability of water projects?"

Use Sopact Sense to process the feedback, identifying common issues and suggestions. Segmenting the analysis by geographic location or community size can help pinpoint specific challenges and tailor solutions more effectively.

Improve Customer Satisfaction

By addressing the issues raised in negative feedback, you can improve customer satisfaction. This, in turn, can lead to increased customer loyalty and retention.

Stay Ahead of the Competition

Negative feedback can also provide insights into what your competitors are doing better. By understanding where you fall short, you can make necessary changes to stay ahead of the competition.

How Can Feedback Analytics Help?

Sopact Sense is an AI-driven qualitative analysis product that can help you translate data from negative feedback into actionable insights. Unlike traditional qualitative analysis tools, Sopact Sense uses bottom-up theme recognition, meaning it identifies themes from the data rather than defining them upfront.

Automated Theme Recognition

Sopact Sense uses natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning algorithms to automatically recognize themes from your data. This eliminates the need for manual theme definition, saving you time and effort.

Identify Key Themes

Sopact Sense not only recognizes themes but also identifies the most critical ones. This allows you to focus on the most pressing issues and prioritize them for action.

Understand Sentiment

In addition to themes, Sopact Sense also analyzes sentiment in the feedback. This can help you understand the overall tone of the feedback and identify areas that require immediate attention.

To obtain actionable insights from data, there are various techniques that can be employed. One of the most common approaches is using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) question. However, while this is a widely used approach, it can only provide a general indicator and does not provide specific details about what influenced the user's rating. For example, it cannot explain why a user rated a 6 instead of a 2.

Asking questions directly to stakeholders can be a more powerful method, as long as you have the proper tools to gather deep insights. By using tools like Sopact Sense mentioned in the article, you can analyze open-ended feedback and gain a better understanding of the specific factors that influenced the stakeholders' ratings. This technology utilizes natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning algorithms to automatically recognize themes and sentiment from the feedback, providing a more accurate analysis. This approach allows you to uncover key insights and take appropriate actions to address the issues raised by stakeholders.

Visualize Data

Sopact Sense provides visualizations of your data, making it easier to understand and analyze. You can view sentiment analysis, word clouds, and other visualizations to gain a better understanding of the feedback.

How to Use Sopact Sense to Turn Negative Feedback into Actionable Insights

Now that we understand how Sopact Sense can help, let's explore how you can use it to turn negative feedback into actionable insights.

Step 1: Collect Feedback

The first step is to collect feedback from your stakeholders. This can be in the form of surveys, reviews, or social media comments. Make sure to collect both positive and negative feedback to get a well-rounded view of your social purpose organizations.

Step 2: Upload Data to Sopact Sense

Uploading data to Sopact Sense

by Dan Nelson (

Once you have collected the feedback, upload it to Sopact Sense. The platform supports various data formats, including CSV, Excel, and text files.

Step 3: Analyze Data

Sopact Sense will automatically analyze the data and identify key themes and sentiment. You can view visualizations of the data to gain a better understanding of the feedback.

Step 4: Identify Key Themes

Using Sopact Sense's theme recognition feature, you can identify the most critical themes from the feedback. These themes will help you understand the main issues and areas for improvement.

Define key themes based on pattern analaysis

Step 5: Understand Sentiment

In addition to themes, Sopact Sense also analyzes sentiment in the feedback. This can help you understand the overall tone of the feedback and identify areas that require immediate attention.

Sentiment analysis gives how stakeholder feels

Step 6: Take Action

Based on the themes and sentiment identified by Sopact Sense, you can now take action to address the issues raised in the negative feedback. This could involve making changes to your products or services, improving customer service, or addressing any other issues that may have been highlighted.

Create new theme based on bottom up approach based on patterns found and analysis

Who Can Benefit from Feedback Analytics

Feedback Analytics can benefit organizations of all sizes and industries. Whether you're a small startup, social enterprises, nonprofits, membership organizations or a large corporation, Sopact Sense can help you turn negative feedback into actionable insights.


Negative feedback can be a valuable source of information and insights for social purpose organizations (SPO). By using Sopact Sense, an AI-driven qualitative analysis product, you can translate data from negative feedback into actionable steps for your SPO. This can help you identify areas for improvement, improve customer satisfaction, and stay ahead of the competition. So, don't let negative feedback bring you down. Instead, use it to your advantage and take your SPO to the next level with Sopact Sense.

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