Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 15 years or so, you already know that people sometimes write reviews about companies they have done business with. You have probably read a few, while searching for vendors to hire for your event. Did good reviews lead you to hire a certain company? Did you click past companies because of a bad review? Chances are high that the answers to both are "yes."
In 2023, even 1 or 2 negative client reviews can easily sink a small business. Positive reviews can keep that same company in business. This all seems like common sense, right? I want to share some facts about online reviews you may have never considered.
People who have had some sort of negative experience are MANY times more likely to write bad reviews when compared to happy customers whose experiences were wonderful. Here's some food for thought: 98% of a company's clients may have had a great experience. However, MAYBE 5-10% will write reviews. Out of the 2% who had negative experiences, about 95% will write reviews and often do so on multiple platforms.
Let's put that in numbers: A company, as I described above, may have 200 past clients.
196 clients had great experiences with the company. But MAYBE 8 or 9 will write reviews.
Of the 4 who had negative experiences, chances are decent that all 4 will write reviews. In this case, it will show the audience that the company has a 50% rate of unhappy customers. Is this an accurate depiction of how this company performs? Of course not. However, most potential clients will likely pass them by.
On the other hand, there are plenty of fake reviews out there. If you are looking at a vendor that is a small business, who has 496 reviews and they have a perfect 5.0 rating (meaning that there are probably 0 to 8 negative reviews), be suspicious. Those of us who work within the wedding industry always want to do a GREAT job for our clients....but we don't always measure up. We are human. As hard as we strive for perfection, there are things we can ALWAYS improve.
And that leads us to a quick discussion about the importance of negative reviews, and how you can use them to see that business as a group of human beings. False negative reviews are out there. We've had multiple.....they are fairly easy to spot (when I reply to these, I do annotate that I have never had dealings with this "person"). Also remember that there are 2 sides to every story. Once, I upset a client because I refused to commit a felony by forging papers....I did not include "my side" in my response because we make a point to NEVER deinegrate clients. I'm sure you get the picture.
Look how vendors respond to negative comments....are they instantly defensive? Or do they viciously attack the client who wrote the review? Do they simply ignore negative reviews? Our general rules to respond to negative comments are as follows:
As the "lead," I accept responsibility for all negative occurances, even if one of our other officiants was responsible. The buck stops with me.....no run around.
When clients write negative reviews that are constructive, we work to find what it was in our system that "broke down".....and we make changes to prevent the same occurence from happening again.
We LISTEN to the client and avoid negating their experience.
We do our very best to try and make things RIGHT!
To conclude, please do your best to write constructive, helpful, honest comments.....good or bad. For each 5 star review we receive, it saves us about $200 in advertising costs (thus, helping to keep our costs for future clients down)....and as I said above: that's much better than a tip!! We all despise asking clients to write reviews. We feel that it should be something voluntary. However, as marketing stands today, we MUST ask for reviews. If we don't we risk going out of business.