Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: No. 95

The Question:

I keep hearing stories of other floral designers receiving low ratings on The Knot, Yelp, etc. for circumstances out of their control or circumstances that have been misconstrued in the review. I’ve even heard of fellow designers getting a 1-Star rating from people they never worked with. Is this an inevitable part of doing business in this tech-driven age? I’m worried it’s only a matter of time until this happens to me. Is there a way to prevent it? How would you handle it if it happened to you?

Expert Panel member Fleuropean 5

The Answers:

This has never happened to me but I guess I would probably be very upset if it did. If this happened, I think I would use the opportunity to post an answer to the low rating / bad comment that is usually offered to the business owner. Also, I would keep reminding myself that when I select a vendor on the internet, even the best ones always have a couple of bad ratings, and that does not prevent me from finally deciding to work with them, because I am aware that there are wrong ratings or really bad intentioned people out there whose sole purpose is to harm…

Laetitia Mayor (Floresie)

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I would actively work to counterbalance the reviews both by providing the best service possible and by asking your clients and customers to leave a review for you. Make it easy for them to do it by providing them with links, etc.

Clare Day (Clare Day Flowers)

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Online reviews are just plain nerve-wracking! I think we all have this fear in our minds even when doing our very best work. You never know when a client has unrealistic expectations or demands of your services. I do admire those who respond to poor client reviews in a diplomatic manner. I think it’s the best way to handle this situation and allows others to see that you stand behind your work.

Beth Zemetis (Blush Floral Design)

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I (luckily) don’t have any online ratings going for my floral business, so I can’t comment on the negative feedback within the Knot/Yelp/Google communities… but I do struggle with retaining a 5-star customer service rating in my Etsy shop (for ribbon). There is definitely that pressure to provide excellent customer service (which, of course, we all want to do)… but sometimes you get THAT customer. The one you know you could never make happy. The one who, even if you give it your all, will still be unhappy because their expectations are unrealistic or circumstances out of your control will lead to disappointment. Back in the “old” days, feedback spread through word of mouth… and most people could probably gauge the validity of that feedback based on the mouth it was coming from. In the virtual world that we live in, the anonymity of online activity has the potential to result in more brazen attacks and a blurred line between whose reviews we can trust and not. The only way I have reacted to public negativity (only happened a handful of times out of 1500+ sales and 300+ reviews) is to politely and professionally voice my side of the story and express my regret at their dissatisfaction. What else can you really do?

Emily Avenson (Fleuropean)

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I don’t believe there is any way to prevent less-than-stellar reviews. My best advice as you get rolling with client reviews is to remember that you should read all reviews with humility and openness to try to make sure your business is at its very best. The client is not always right, but you surely need to make sure you are actually “hearing” any criticism that comes your way. Learn what to take to heart and what to let go. I think it’s human nature to get immediately defensive if you receive negative feedback. But even the truly nutty people sometimes have a grain of good to impart. Once you’re sure you’ve done everything in your power to make the situation “right” for the customer with a complaint and everything in your power to ensure a similar situation won’t pop up again (i.e., streamline an internal process that caused the glitch), then learn to simply let go. Don’t let negative reviews get under your skin any more than necessary. Easier said than done sometimes.

Jennie Love (Love ‘n Fresh Flowers)

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This is a fear of mine as well and I do believe that a bad review is inevitable. While we do our absolute best to make sure everyone is happy (and currently we have all fabulous reviews), I realize I am getting closer and closer to my day. Expectations are getting more and more unrealistic and soon none of us will be able to keep up. All we can do is do our best and hope that if someone wrongly accuses us of poor product or service, that someone in the industry will stand for us if we need a reference or assistance in fighting a bad review. I wish I had better news on this front but sadly it is a concern of mine as well.

Holly Chapple (Holly Heider Chapple Flowers)

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Image: Fleuropean

2 thoughts on “Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: No. 95

  1. Aliison Ellis

    Excellent post, Amy! This is something florists fear and it’s out of our control…which is why we have to just do our best and know we’re providing a quality experience. Awesome topic. Thanks!

    Reply

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