How To Handle A Negative Review

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You open up your email and there it is. Your stomach turns, and you feel a wave of nausea run over you. You see that a client has left you a terrible review. You need to know that it's not the end of the world. You have a couple of choices, but how you choose to respond will make all the difference in the world.

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here's how to handle it

Kill Them With Kindness

  • I recommend first taking a moment to read the client's post and then give yourself some time away from it and let it settle.

  • Don't respond right away, especially if you have lots of emotions running wild! Don't react in haste. Instead, give yourself enough time to craft a compelling rebuttal.

  • Never use ugly words, call names, or point blame. Instead, do your best to show potential clients that you care. Yes, we all make mistakes, but use this as an opportunity to shine.

  • If something was done not entirely to the best of your standards and you are aware of it, reach out to them and extend a sincere apology for not meeting their standards.

  • If you are in the clear and the client is angry about something and taking it out on you, then address each point they make. Confirm that you did what was promised, referencing any contracts or agreements if necessary.

  • Make sure to respond to all reviews, good or bad. The fact that you acknowledge them shows potential clients that you care.

  • Always keep track of your emails, texts, phone calls and meetings so that you have records of every interaction with the client.

  • If you are getting quite a few bad reviews, you probably need to address something in your process and evaluate what you can do better. You cannot please everyone all of the time, but if you see a pattern, maybe this is a growth and development point you can address.

  • And, lastly: cheer up, get back up and get back to work!


Example

In this example a client reacts and a well-crafted response is provided:

I wish we could give her a nice one but worst experience! Takes your money and zero communication! Numerous stupid errors on invitations. Charges more at the end Numerous careless mistakes!!!! Received many recommendations from people we knew. So very disappointed!! She was ..so rude and could careless about the our wishes. She did deliver flowers but not kindly or with any customer service. Email me .....We have proof of the numerous rude remarks and errors. $$$$$

the response

After reviewing all the facts and data, I was able to craft this response for my client that ultimately led to the removal of the review from the forum.


Dear "Client"

We were thrilled to work with your daughter for her wedding day and so happy with the beautiful results. We were honored to be able to create a stunning design for this special day.

We regret that you were unhappy with our service.

I want to clarify a couple of things from your review so that your false claims don't mislead future couples:

1. Yes, we do require a deposit upfront. However, you were offered the opportunity to receive a discount if you paid your balance upfront. This offer was listed in our contract and proposal. You agreed to pay upfront, and in return, we gave you the discount.

2. The only error during the entire process was a spelling mistake on your daughter's invitation design, which we regret. Unfortunately, we missed it. However, you were required to approve the invitation. This requirement was made clear to you in our contract. Both you and your daughter approved the invitation with the error. We always hate to see an error like this, but it does happen. Additionally, we spend many hours reviewing details and taking great care to provide the best work. Carelessness is not how we work. Ever.

3. We charged more for items you and your daughter added on, but only after your written approval was received. You were invoiced and agreed to pay. Otherwise, we would haven't charged you.

4. We had a lot of communication with you, not zero. I have a record of all communications for every phone call, text, email, and in-person meeting and those are outlined below.

Early in April, we began to communicate directly with your daughter, the bride. We revised our contract to include her only. This was due to your behavior which violated our conduct clause in our contract. We requested that she communicate directly with us.

At this point, we were within our rights to void your contract due to your behavior. However, we believe in a bigger picture and wish to create great memories for our clients. When adverse events happen, we do our best to find a positive solution. We also recommend that clients keep their thoughts positive as well. As a parent, your actions and words are also creating memories for a sacred day.

I've included a sample of our communications with you and your daughter:

  • 7/8/2018 Inquiry Requested by Mother of the Bride/Initial Meeting with Mother

  • 7/11/2018 Florals and design were discussed with mother regarding daughter’s preferences

  • 7/11/2018 Proposal/contract sent

  • 7/11/2018 Call with Bride

  • 7/12/2018 Flowers Booked/Contract Signed

  • 7/13/2018 Questionnaire Sent

  • 7/20/2018 Working Timeline Sent

  • 8/2/2018 Invitation Proposal

  • 8/2/2018 Revised Proposal

  • 10/31/2018 Client Request For Meeting

  • 1/11/2019 Venue Meeting (florals and design were discussed in detail with client, planner, and venue. 1.5 hour meeting)

  • 1/16/2019 Initial invitation Designs Submitted To Client

  • 1/23/2019 Conversation with Client regarding changes and an additional crest design

  • 2/2/2019 Final Changes To Client for Invitations

  • 2/2/2019 Client Approval

  • 2/6/2019 Request For MailingList

  • 3/13/2019 Text From Mother

  • 3/13/2019 Follow Up Phone Call In Response To Text

  • 3/13/2019 Mood Board Provided To Client

  • 3/13/2019 Communication From Bride Regarding Mood Board

  • 3/19/2019 Printed Proofs Dropped Off To Client/Approved by text from

  • Mother: "Go ahead with printing:). They are perfect!!"

  • 3/20/2019 Invitation Production Timeline Communicated

  • 4/1/2019 In Person Client Meeting To Review All Design Details

  • 4/5/2019 Invitations Mailed Out

  • 4/8/2019 Bride Contacted Me Regarding Error

  • 4/9/2019 Email To Client About Options

  • 4/9/2019 Text From Mother at 7:30am

  • 4/9/2019 Text Response To Mother

  • 4/9/2019 Tex From Mother

  • 4/9/2019 Email To Mother

  • 4/9/2019 Email From Mother

  • 4/9/2019 Call To Bride

  • 4/9/2019 Text From Bride

  • 4/9/2019 Email To Bride Regarding Communication

  • 4/10/2019 My Husband had heart attack

  • 4/10/2019 Communication to all clients about my absence

  • 4/16/2019 Request for floor plan and itinerary from bride

  • 4/24/2019 Email From Planner with Additional Details

  • 5/6/2019 Email From Bride

  • 5/6/2019 Questions about flowers, we already covered in meeting

  • 5/7/2019 Email Reply To Bride

  • 5/10/2019 Email From Mother

  • 5/10/2019 Email Response To Mother

  • 5/12/2019 Email Response From Bride

5. Glad you received numerous recommendations for our work. We do try our best to create a beautiful experience for our clients as we truly love our work and the opportunity to serve couples on such a special day!

6. Rude behavior is not a part of our client treatment and never will be. We also don't wish to be treated rudely by our clients. We believe that the more significant and bigger picture is about love and do our best to treat everyone with respect and kindness.

7. We did deliver the flowers as instructed with extra hands to make sure everything was perfect. We greeted everyone — including all the wedding party and vendors — with a smile. We worked with the team to ensure everything was as perfect as could be.

As your daughter and new son-in-law made their exit after the wedding reception, we hugged them and wished them well! And, thanked them the following Monday for the opportunity to serve them on their wedding day.

8. As far as proof, you are not allowed to share my contracts or procedures with other people as this reveals our trade secrets and work processes, as well as violating privacy.

The negative review was taken down after my client posted this response. It takes time, patience, and humility, but ultimately it’s worth it in the end!


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