Very recently, I had an interaction with a customer that quickly went south. It’s funny how people will quickly point out that there are “two sides to every story” in these situations. I can honestly say that this client was mean, angry and entitled to both me and my assistant. After a couple of unpleasant interactions, I told her we would not be able to work together. I could not work with someone who was so rude. I want to mention that, at no point did I take her money or have a contract. She reacted by bashing my business on The Knot, Wedding Wire and Yelp. I can’t describe how heartbroken, disappointed and Impotent I feel about this. In one stroke, she dismantled an otherwise sterling online reputation. What she did ruins my faith in people. Without exaggeration, I want to close my shop and hide my face. My disappointment doesn’t lie solely with the customer, but is shared with these sites that enable customers to behave this way. There is no recourse and whatever damage she has done to my business. We all know not to protest too much but those sites are firmly on the side of trolls like this. I absolutely learned that I need to simply be better, nicer, more accommodating, but I also think this situation would have occurred regardless.
Do you have thoughts on this matter?
Dazed and Confused.
Dear D and C:
I feel your pain and I know how hurtful this must be for you. I cannot tell you how many bad things I have read about myself on the internet. I have been called all kinds of things and had my work insulted, one went so far to call it “vulgar”. I believe that sites like The Knot and Wedding Wire are both a blessing and a curse in that they offer clients to have a voice, but most of the people who take the time to use it are those few who are unhappy. Thus they tend to showcase one side of the story. What I will say is that it is perfectly acceptable to respond where allowed (Yelp has an area where owners can respond and quite effectively) and you can submit a complaint to the sites and explain that you feel this is defamation and why.
It sounds like you are a person who takes great pride in your work. I even loved what you said in your letter about what you learned: That you feel you need to simply be better, nicer, and more accommodating. I always look at these “bad reviews” as a reminder to be better, and obviously so do you. If I were you, I would allow myself to feel the hurt and then get over it and not give it another thought. This is one person and you clearly love what you do and have done it for people who appreciate your work. Please also keep in mind that you’re not alone in this. If you read what is said about most celebrities, you’d wonder how they got out of bed in the morning (or even survived).
As a businessman, you absolutely have the right to work with whomever you see fit and I commend you for protecting your assistant as well. This is just one opinion from someone who not handle rejection very well. As long as you keep giving stellar service, I promise that you do not have anything to worry about.
Dear Readers: What advice do you have to offer this gentleman? Should he call and confront this woman for telling lies or simply let it go?