This morning my email blew up with this news story about a venue which charged a $500 fee for either the wedding couple or one of their guests posting a bad review on Yelp. We have all had our share of dealing with someone online who was seemingly unreasonable, but to me this was no way to handle getting a bad review (in fact turns out that now that the story has gone viral, they have received enough bad ratings that they are currently a 1 star venue down from 4 stars. One of the ratings stated: “Negative review posted- invoice me” – supposedly for the $500 charge).
Ever deal with someone who wants to go off on you online for the whole world to see (who I call the Digital Dumb Ass)? Since the advent of the internet, there has come a group of individuals who are loaded with low self esteem that like to hide behind their computer screens and be loud. These sad individuals cannot do this face to face with people and due to their lack of courage try to compensate for their shortcomings. Interestingly enough, these individuals seem to feel as though they have a true power, but let me share a secret; they only have power when you allow them to have power.
There are some legitimate complaints about bad reviews online. These bad reviews seem to rock our worlds and we take it very personally. If we are able to honestly look at ourselves and determine if we deserved the bad review, we can dust ourselves off and resolve to fix the problem. If the bad review is not deserved (legitimate complaint on your part) that is when it gets dicey.
If you look back at the mindset of the person who likes to bare their weirdness for the world to see, you will potentially see a few things.
1) They don’t have the courage to approach you about their problem.
2) They feel they cannot approach you or it is futile to approach you about the problem
3) They are trying to extort (or gain leverage) or are simply dishonest about the situation.
You are normal to be angry and frustrated about going public with their problems (which is 90% of the cases I have heard of – the couple doesn’t even try to resolve her problems, and just goes straight to the internet to start broadcasting ). You’re fighting like crazy to get the word out there about the good that you provide and you understand that it is human nature to be drawn to the negative rather than the positive.
Let me add this; I understand your pain and have lived this same situation. I have found that if you stay focused and stay on point to get more business, you will find it. Fact is these bad reviews should only happen every once in a while, not all the time. You should almost expect a bad review from time to time- not because you deserve it, but because of the mindset of the millennial wedding couple. They feel empowered through the internet and may try to throw darts from time to time.
My suggestion is that you do one of the following three things with any complaints.
1) Connect immediately and try to resolve the complaint. If they will not connect back with you or you cannot find a comfortable resolution, in most cases you are allowed to rebut their claims on the site where they left the complaint. You can then post that you try to address the issue, but they refused to come to the table/ that you always strive to provide the best, how you want to phrase it.
2) Ignore the claims. Sometimes you draw more fight out of them and the attention will escalate. Some people are truly unreasonable, cannot be reasoned with and simply will not change their mind. At that point, what’s the point in putting any effort out there?
3) Use a third party to help try to negotiate. I have in the past put in my contracts a clause that include mediation if either party is not satisfied. This could potentially include that you mediate before going public with any inflammatory or disparaging claims (connect with your attorney before you do this to insure you have the right language).
Fact is, you will never please all people all the time. If you do your best and deliver as you promised, you are doing your job. Your business and your ego will survive, though it hurts at the moment.