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Industry professionals can all relate to the ultimate heartbreak in dealing with the fallout of a disappointed customer.
You’ve put so much time and energy into making sure your client’s wedding daydream became a reality—only to be hit with a negative online review. First, take a deep breath and realize it happens to the best of us. In fact, planners and vendors might find themselves in a client’s crosshairs now more than ever due to the rise in canceling, postponing, and rescheduling currently taking place in the wedding industry.
“Receiving a negative review can be heartbreaking, but I promise, you will survive,” says Sarah Chancey, founder and wedding planner mentor at Chancey Charm. “Remember, one client’s opinion does not define you. There will always be a negative review. It will not break your business!”
But what do you do in the days after getting hit with this negative opinion? Here are some tips on how to handle the situation and recover with grace.
We know, that’s hard to do. Your first instinct is going to be to respond immediately so you can defend your business before others see the review. Don’t, says Meghan Ely, a wedding publicist at OFD Consulting. “I like to remind clients and colleagues alike that if the review was posted very recently, the odds are that you won’t have hundreds suddenly flocking to see it. Give yourself a day to think through your next steps, and how you plan to respond.”
Reach Out Offline
Before you write a response online, get in touch with the client and make amends offline. It might even convince them to take the negative review down.
Even if you know you’ve done nothing wrong, you should still offer an apology to the client for their negative experience.
Write a Response
If the client still won’t take down the review, then you should address it online. “You almost always have to respond to the review, so that future visitors to the site can have both sides to the story,” says Ely.
Don’t Get Emotional
Although you’re likely hurt, it’s important to write a thoughtful and non-emotional response. “It’s important to stick to the facts,” says Chancey. “Taking out the emotion will keep your response professional, which is really important when potential clients read it down the road,” she explains.
Ask for a Proofread
Once you’ve written your response, Ely recommends running the response by a trusted staff member or colleague—ideally someone not connected to the event so they have limited bias.
Contact the Wedding Site
Most reviews are posted on a third-party site, so if you believe the review is fake or particularly outlandish, don’t hesitate to reach out to the company immediately and take steps for it to be taken down. Be prepared to show any proof—emails, contracts, etc.—to prove that the review is unwarranted.
Reach Out To Other Clients
Now would be the ideal time to touch base with past couples and request that they post a positive review. As Ely explains, more than likely, the review isn’t going anywhere so best to flood the page with happy couples sharing their great experiences.
Remember, people are smart. Most potential clients will be able to see through a negative review that is overly emotional or dramatic. So once you’ve posted your response, let it go and focus on the positive relationship you have forged—and will continue to develop—with brides and grooms.
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