Dear Miss Communication,
It happened–I got a terrible review online, and I’m heartbroken. I’m so afraid this will damage my business! The client had a terrible experience with weather and a timeline that didn’t work on her wedding day and now she’s taking it out on me. What do I say? Can I do anything? Can I get her to take it down?
Awwww…come in close, Sad Photographer—I’m giving you a virtual hug. This situation stinks, and I’m really sorry you’re going through it. But, after the shock wears off, it’s time to put your business boots on and get to work.
This is an absolute phone call scenario. You need to speak to or meet with the client to hear what’s on their mind. While it may not be an entirely comfortable experience, honest feedback about you, your business or how you made your client feel is GOLD for a business owner. If you can prevent that scenario in the future, you are taking steps to avoid a negative review in the future as well.
Can you ask the client to take it down? Yes, if you think the client will be agreeable to it once you’ve had a heart-to-heart. Will they? If they wrote it and meant it, they may be unwilling to change their opinion.
Photo by benstevens/iStock / Getty Images
If the review is clearly untrue, unwarranted and damaging to your business, point this out to the client in a calm and non-defensive manner. If they won’t change it, you can contact the review site and submit a request to have the review removed, depending on the site.
But your best strategy? Use the letter in the workflow section of the Wedding Photographer’s Inbox Solution to solicit reviews from your most loyal and loving clients and ask them to post in either a site where you’d like to gather a collection of reviews or the site that houses the bad review. Building a library of strong positive reviews will show your future clients that one negative review is likely the odd one out.
Here’s a message to reach your client, acknowledge the review and make a date for your phone call or meeting.
Thank you for taking the time to review my studio’s wedding photography services on ONLINE SITE. It seems that your experience wasn’t 100% positive, and I’d like to learn more about it. Yours is the first one I’ve received that isn’t a FIVE-STAR OR OTHER SUPERLATIVE review, so I would be exceptionally grateful for your feedback.
I value the opportunity to improve my business and customer service. Could we have a phone call or coffee at a time that works for you and PARTNER?
What to say online to counter a negative review?
Some review sites will allow a response to reviews, both negative and positive. I don’t encourage it, but here are a few things to keep in mind if you choose to answer a review in a public forum.
- Even if the site allows it, consider whether responding is a wise course of action.
- Stay calm and don’t be defensive. Be polite and be a good citizen of the Internet.
- Don’t respond when you first see the review. Instead, take some time to calm yourself and to work on an appropriate response that reflects well on your business.
- Ask at least one other person not affiliated with your business to read and honestly review any response you plan to put online.
- Use this as an opportunity to highlight the qualities of your business.
SAMPLE COPY TO RESPOND TO A NEGATIVE ONLINE REVIEW
I’d like to apologize for your experience with OUR STUDIO at your wedding. I’m very sorry you didn’t have a positive experience at your wedding with a member of our staff. We have been STUDIO TAGLINE HERE (DESCRIBE HOW YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE KNOWN) for XX years, and we haven’t had feedback of that nature before. I appreciate your comments, and will be in touch with you to see how we might be able to address your concerns in person.
Was this a helpful scenario for you? You’ll find this one and more than 74 other helpful scenarios and email templates in our Wedding Photographer’s Inbox Solution, available in the store at Pencil & Lens!