We’ve all heard the stories of that one customer that posts a very negative review of a business on a review site (yelp, the knot, wedding wire). “Oh my goodness! My reputation is ruined. I am finished. How could she have said that?” Maybe you have personally been affected by something like this.
We’re going to assume for the purpose of this discussion that you have a top-notch business and this is an outlier in your reputation. We’re also going to make the assumption that most of our clients are “the best in the world” but that every now and then we do have that “one wacko” who sends our season in a whirl. What is a wedding pro to do? What are you to do with this blemish in your otherwise spotless record?
It’s important that if your business is featured on any rating sites to make sure you follow your reviews closely. Reward and thank those people that have given you high marks. Their word is worth gold and you should do everything to shower them with love and attention. And, for the occasional Sour Sally my recommendation is this:
- Be Graceful
Remember that you are in the public arena… the way that you response is often more valuable than what it is that she or you say.
- Leave Emotion at the Door
It’s easy to get upset by things like this but remember that this is only one customer’s opinion. If you stand beside your product, do not let this phase you. It’s easy to start pointing fingers when you are angry or sad. This only makes you look worse.
- Resolve to Resolve the Issue
Talk to your client offline about the review and express a deep desire to correct the problem. If you are earnest (and have left emotion at the door) you will be able to communicate openly and the client will soften their approach.
- If Appropriate, Show Resolution
If it is appropriate, share with the online community how you have worked to resolve the problem. Keep in mind that no one likes excuses, so steer clear of sounding like you are full of them (regardless of who’s at fault).
Don’t Shy Away
I was terrified when Wedding Wire first went online, “Oh my God, my once-in-a-year- wacko-client will get on there and say bad things about me.” I’ve told you before that we survey all of our customers and am proud of our reputation. But it’s that one bridezilla that always scares me. One rotten apple spoils the whole barrel, right?
Well… maybe not!
Fortune Small Business Magazine recently had an article that you can read here that shows how even bad product reviews can boost sales. In the article, a retailer takes a risk by posting products to a review site. Even though there are those occassional bad reviews, the good far outweigh the bad. And, ultimately people want to be able to comparison shop. In other words, the marketing benefit of being exposed to these “comparison shoppers” far outweighs the threat of a bad review. It also gives the retailer a great opportunity to interact with clients and potential customers.
Seth Godin also talks about this in his book Tribes: “When I get a bad review, my feelings are hurt. But, it’s not enough to ruin my day because I realize that my book got noticed. Most people loved it. A few people hated it. I realize what a badge of honor it is to get a bit of criticism at all.”
Maybe it’s true what they say… bad press is better than no press? Well, I don’t know if I’d intentionally take my business down that road… but it helps know that I don’t need to lose sleep over something like the occasional poor review.