How to Handle Negative Client Feedback Like a Champ

September 28, 2022 Desiree Homer

New York event planners pride themselves on creating lasting and memorable experiences for their clients. So, when something goes wrong, or someone has critical feedback to offer, it’s hard not to take it personally. But there is a right and definite wrong way to handle negative feedback. And there are plenty of silver linings to consider should you encounter a less than stellar review online or otherwise. Here are tips to help you handle those sentiments like a champ.

Feedback and Online Reviews Matter

Before diving into how to manage reviews and feedback, it’s best to first point out just how important those opinions are to your business. Your clients will look for event planners they can trust, and it’s those online reviews that help them decide whether or not to call you. A BrightLocal consumer survey recently found that 82% of consumers actively read online business reviews. And as many as 97% of them read the responses to those business reviews, too. This data means not only is it important to establish a robust business review system. It’s equally important to make sure you’re responding to those posts, even the bad ones.

Don’t Be Afraid of Bad Reviews

No one wants a negative review in any form. But in today’s five-star, keyboard warrior economy, the occasional nastygram is just unavoidable. The truth is, unfavorable reviews aren’t necessarily bad for business. Here are some other myths worth debunking about them.

  • Poor reviews can actually help your event planning business.
  • Responding to negative feedback is pretty easy to manage with the right tools and strategies.
  • Unfavorable comments won’t necessarily convince others that you run a bad business.
  • It’s even easier to build up the great reviews to combat the occasional bad one.

Negative Feedback Is Actually Important for Your Business

No one really trusts a business that only has five-star reviews and glowing praise across the board. In fact, negative feedback plays an important role in the success of your event planning business. Recognize the silver linings associated with critical reviews and start embracing them.

Demonstrates Authenticity

The negative comments only lend more credibility to the positive comments. A few “mediocre” sentiments sprinkled in among the rave reviews shows prospects that you have nothing to hide when it comes to client experiences. Consumers actually find reviews more trustworthy when there’s an occasional bad one in the mix. It proves authenticity and solidifies that the reviews that are available are real.

Opportunities to Make Things Right

If something about your event planning service didn’t meet expectations, you’d want to know about it, right? Critical online feedback presents you with the opportunity to learn about improvements you could be making. And you have a direct opportunity to make it right with the reviewer who took the time to let you know about their dissatisfaction.

Show Others You Care

Even if you can’t change how one person feels about your services, how you respond and handle the negative feedback will show others you care about delivering the best experiences. Client prospects will see that you addressed the issue, tried to make it right, and genuinely value customer feedback. Even if you can’t fix the complaint at hand, you can convince new clients that you care.

SEO Improvement Even with Bad Reviews

Your goal as a New York event planner should be to increase the volume of reviews, testimonials, and online experiences regardless of their flavor. The poor reviews are just as SEO-strengthening as the good ones. In fact, more than 15% of your Google ranking factors are driven by the presence of your online reviews. Don’t hide the bad feedback, ever. Keep them all posted all the time, and at least get an SEO boost where you can.

They Might Be onto Something

You won’t be able to please every event goer or client. And those one-off complaints should be expected. But another benefit of having those not-so-nice reviews is that you can learn to spot trends. Maybe they’re onto something that leads you to realize a major improvement you can be making to your business model. If there are similarities among the critical feedback, it’s worth looking into to explore realistically what you could be doing differently.

How to Handle Critical Online Feedback

When you spot a bad review or event complaint, you’ll need to respond. Here are tips to help you develop a review response strategy, including the critical opinions you can’t do much about in the end.

Respond quickly, but not immediately. Take a moment to really evaluate the feedback and make sure you’re not responding out of frustration or anger. And you don’t want to appear over-defensive, either.

Professional conduct is the only way. Keep your acknowledgments, and responses polished with courtesy, professionalism, and class.

Simple and short all the way. Extend an apology, acknowledge the setback, and offer to make it right. Nothing more, nothing less, is the best way to handle negative feedback.

Don’t ignore them, and don’t respond more than once. Prepare to have a response to every instance of negative feedback. But once you do respond, don’t engage in any ongoing arguments or back and forth that could reflect poorly on your brand. 

Ask them to contact you directly. There will be some people who simply won’t be satisfied no matter how attentive you are. Always insist a negative reviewer contact you directly for discussion and remedy. Keep all other drama off the review platform.

If it’s legitimate, acknowledge it. If the client or event guest has a point, acknowledge it. Businesses can make mistakes. When the customer is right, though, others will see you recognize it. 

Don’t let negative feedback or reviews get you down. Consider these insights and start recognizing the power of a critical opinion. If managed correctly, you’ll be able to squeeze every benefit out of your review management strategy. 

For more event planning tips and business development insights, consider becoming an exhibitor at The Event Planner Expo 2022! Contact our team about remaining availability!

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