It’s no secret that reviews play a big part in being competitive in the wedding industry. Actually, in a broader sense, reviews have always played an important role for many businesses for years. Think of the restaurant critic in the newspaper or even movie critics. Back then one scathing review in the paper could put you out of business!
Fast forward to today’s marketplace and we see a shift in reviews. With the coming of the internet, also comes the opportunity for user-generated feedback. Meaning? Well, before the internet only a select few had the outlet to be able to review a product or service and have it published in a public forum, now anyone with a smart phone and half decent internet connection can be a critic.
Is this is good thing or a bad thing? There really are two sides to this. First, from the perspective from only having a select group of individuals (professional critics) review your business. While these people may be more “qualified” they are only one voice, no counterpoint. Pre-internet, you only got one published review, based on one person’s experience, good, bad, indifferent. If it was a bad review, there was no way to comment or even have happy customers offset that one bad experience that some pretentious jerk had anyway. It was the final word. Conversely, if it was good, you were good to go and would invite that pretentious jerk to a wine and cheese tasting.
Now, in the age of the internet, we have EVERYONE writing reviews on not just wedding businesses, but on restaurants, tanning salons, and everything in between. This can be problematic for the small business owner for a few reasons.
1. From a physiological standpoint, most small business owners are a least a little bit, control freaks. They have a certain vision and they want things executed a certain way. There’s nothing wrong with that, if that wasn’t the case, we would be working for other people instead ourselves. Having a review on your business on a third party website that you have no control over is not only infuriating because chances are, you not only feel the review is unjust but also because you have absolutely no control over the situation (sorry for the quadruple negative).
2. From a client expectations standpoint, it’s hard to make everyone happy. Especially when you had to jump through all these hoops to book the client in the first place. Now they expect you to deliver and then some on those promises. The truth is most clients are people who feel for whatever reason, you have wronged them and trashing you online is the only way they can be “righted” of the “wrong” you placed upon them. Does it resolve the underlying issue? No. Does is sure feel good to let it all out? You bet it does!
Not to mention, these people who are reviewing you are not professionals. They don’t know the context of the situation, they don’t know how things should be handled, they don’t know the industry norms for your business. How dare they critique me? I should go to their office and critique them, how would they like it? Ah, but we can’t.
Taking a step….
The truth of the matter is that when your client takes the step from consuming your product or service to writing about it online, they are taking the step from consumer to salesperson. Granted, we all want to have happy, nothing but nice things to say, raving salespeople but in today’s I want everything now, perfect world; that’s just not the case anymore.
Again, not all reviews are bad. Chances are that if you’re doing the right thing you have many happy clients who are pleased with your product or service. However, getting them to take time out of there day to review you is next to impossible.
So as a business owner, what can we do to control this rampage of unjustified online critiquing?
Well, check back here next week and I will share the key components of developing a review plan.