Combating Negative Reviews

Business By sweetlayers Updated 1 Dec 2010 , 7:14pm by Herekittykitty

sweetlayers Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 1:27am
post #1 of 26

About 2 weeks ago, I mis-scheduled a kids birthday cake. His mom was MAD to say the least.

However, I gave her a full refund as soon as I realized it which was at 11pm that night when I checked my emails and phone again.

In addition, I still made the cake, delivered it, wrote her an earnest letter of apology and gave her a coupon for a free $75 cake that doesn't expire until 12/31/2011.

Nonetheless, the evening of the mishap, she posted a negative comment about my company on every website you can imagine saying that I took her money and did not show up and was a "killer of children's dreams". (That to me was a little dramatic but she's the client so I'll go with it.) Plus she threatened me. (Which was actually kind of comical.)

In addition, some other cake person in the area posted to one of her complaints saying how they were so sorry for her troubles and that they would love to serve her better. icon_evil.gif (Should that tick me off? Or is that how the competition is supposed to play?)

So should I respond to this last complaint to defend my company and my attempt at reconciliation with this order online? Or should I just leave it alone? Should my company reply to the cake person that got all up my kool-aid? Or should I just get over it? Thanks in advance.

Yes, her complaint was valid, but I did nNOT KEEP HER MONEY. I don't want people thinking 'm a thief.

25 replies
BlakesCakes Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 1:36am
post #2 of 26

Given all that you've done to make it right, I'd call her and politely request that she rescind the negative reviews. If she refused to do so, then I'd write a short, factual rebuttal stating that I made a mistake and that this is what I did to mitigate it the best I could--AND I'D VOID THE FREE CAKE CERTIFICATE (telling her in writing that I'd done so).

As for the competition's comments, I'd ignore them. They're clearly scrounging around for business in the most immature of ways.

JMHO
Rae

cakegirl1973 Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 1:57am
post #3 of 26

Although I would ignore the competitor's comment, I would be irked that they stooped that low. I know that things are slow this time of year (cakewise), but that seems pretty low to me.

I remember reading in a thread (that I can't find now) an artfully written reply that indydebi wrote once to someone. You may want to PM her and perhaps she can point you to the thread.

Hang in there!

indydebi Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 2:11am
post #4 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakegirl383

Although I would ignore the competitor's comment, I would be irked that they stooped that low. I know that things are slow this time of year (cakewise), but that seems pretty low to me.

I remember reading in a thread (that I can't find now) an artfully written reply that indydebi wrote once to someone. You may want to PM her and perhaps she can point you to the thread.

Hang in there!



Is this the one you're thinking of? http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-694237-respond.html+review

OP, just remember to keep any responses positive, stating what you DID do.

-K8memphis Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 2:22am
post #5 of 26

Yes defend yourself. And yes void the coupon.

No emotion--just the facts--short & professional.

Good for you.

cakegirl1973 Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 2:24am
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by cakegirl383

Although I would ignore the competitor's comment, I would be irked that they stooped that low. I know that things are slow this time of year (cakewise), but that seems pretty low to me.

I remember reading in a thread (that I can't find now) an artfully written reply that indydebi wrote once to someone. You may want to PM her and perhaps she can point you to the thread.

Hang in there!

Is this the one you're thinking of?

OP, just remember to keep any responses positive, stating what you DID do.




That's the one! Thanks, Debi--you rock! thumbs_up.gif

jenmat Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 2:27am
post #7 of 26

"here at xxxx bakery, we take great pride in always following through with our clients. Sometimes, mistakes do happen, and in this case a full refund was given accompanied by the cake in question, as well as a certificate for a future order. XXXX bakery apologizes for the inconvenience and will continue to go above and beyond to make things right with all of our customers."

That totally stinks. I was one who had a bad review, and being the chicken I am, I just pulled my listing off the site instead of getting in a pi$$ing match with the customer. But I think this one warrants a rebuttal!
And whoever that stinker was that offered to serve the lady better, I think she can HAVE that customer!!!

cupcake_cutie Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 2:41am
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jentreu

"here at xxxx bakery, we take great pride in always following through with our clients. Sometimes, mistakes do happen, and in this case a full refund was given accompanied by the cake in question, as well as a certificate for a future order. XXXX bakery apologizes for the inconvenience and will continue to go above and beyond to make things right with all of our customers."

That totally stinks. I was one who had a bad review, and being the chicken I am, I just pulled my listing off the site instead of getting in a pi$$ing match with the customer. But I think this one warrants a rebuttal!
And whoever that stinker was that offered to serve the lady better, I think she can HAVE that customer!!!




Exactly! thumbs_up.gif

homebasedbaking Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 2:44am
post #9 of 26

Indydebi this is great advice and I agree totally. It would also be good for all to remember that once you post something out on a forum (freedom of speech) and/or on the Internet it is not so easily removed and if you willingly attempt to impact another persons ability to make a living (effecting their income), legal action can be taken. I know of a famous cake designer who experienced this in NY and won her case because she took screen shots of negative comments that were later removed (too little, too late). If you have an issue with someone take if off line, never post anything negative since you really don't know when it will come back and well...you know, bite you.

thin4life Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 3:09am
post #10 of 26

How about telling her you are going to sue her for defamation of character if she doesn't remove the comments? (even though you probably would never do that)

costumeczar Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 3:20am
post #11 of 26

I agree with responding to say what you did, be factual and keep it businesslike. (I have a blog post scheduled in the next few weeks about negative reviews, actually.) It isnt' a terrible thing to have one bad review on websites, unless it's the only one there. A lot of people don't believe sites that only have good reviews.

I was reading a business website where they say that bad reviews are an opportunity to show off your customer service, so you could look at it that way. Only if the site won't let you respond to a reiew should you ask to have it taken down, and then only if she's slandered you or misrepresented what happened. Just respond telling your side of what happened.

sweetlayers Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 7:40am
post #12 of 26

Sorry for the delay in my reply. I went to sleep as I'm sure many of you have as well. But is this OK to post?
***
Again, I'd like to offer my sincerest apologies with regards to the improper service my company offered you recently. Thank you for taking the time to communicate your disdain about your experience.

I certainly hope the complete and no hassle refund, along with the fulfillment of the order, and voucher for free services in the future proved that loyalty and commitment to our clients is important.

As always, it was my pleasure serving you.

*****
Just want to touch base before I make a bad situation worse.

pixiefuncakes Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 8:27am
post #13 of 26

I would drop the part about her disdain and maybe word it - thank you for your valued feedback (just to remove negativity).

By being professional and business like you are proving to whoever reads the forums that you are sincere in wanting to make amends. The customer may come off spiteful if she continues slamming you. Leave it at that and be dignified.

tinygoose Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 9:55am
post #14 of 26

[quote="cupcake_cutie"]

Quote:
Originally Posted by jentreu

"here at xxxx bakery, we take great pride in always following through with our clients. Sometimes, mistakes do happen, and in this case a full refund was given accompanied by the cake in question, as well as a certificate for a future order. XXXX bakery apologizes for the inconvenience and will continue to go above and beyond to make things right with all of our customers."

!




thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

brincess_b Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 10:38am
post #15 of 26

id take out this bit 'As always, it was my pleasure serving you.' cause if i was her that would just p me off! and is it the truth? not her fault, but i bet realising the date was wrong, making the cake and now reading her comments has been a nightmare!
xx

TexasSugar Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 2:41pm
post #16 of 26

I wouldn't void the coupon, if it was posted before you talked to her. She was upset, and had the right to be, and probably posted while she was upset and not taking the time to step back from it and calm down.

If I had scheduled a service that I was counting on, I'd be pretty upset too, and if I wrote a review at the time, you'd know how upset I was. If I stepped back and waited, the review could be totally different.

So if the review was posted before any conversations, then I would still offer her the coupon, because a service was promised and not delivered and you were trying to make it 'right' with her.

7yyrt Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 3:33pm
post #17 of 26

jentreu's reply seems spot on, to me.
-
To those advocating threatening legal action...
According to the Original Post:
The customer posted those comments after the party and before the OP realized it at 11pm... So at that point the OP DID take her money and did NOT show up.
That was true, and the OP would have no legal leg to stand on.
However, if the customer continues to post the OP took her money after a refund was issued, that is a different kettle of fish; but those original ones are not actionable.

-K8memphis Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 3:37pm
post #18 of 26

Yes and no about the coupon. I mean if the cable guy doesn't show up the first time, the second time do we get a refund on the service call? Do we get coupons for free service going forward? Or do we wait yet again and then pay the bill on time or get disconnected.

If the car isn't ready when the repair guy says it will be what do get?
We get to wait!

ccr03 Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 4:11pm
post #19 of 26

i wouldn't void the coupon. That opens the door for her to trash you AGAIN for canceling the coupon and rightfully so in my opinion.

I'd defend yourself. Apologize again for the error, say you were happy to still be able to issue the refund and provide the cake and hope to see her again when she redeems her coupon.

-K8memphis Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 4:28pm
post #20 of 26

Ok wait --I'm not getting it.

Ok I went back & re-read SweetLayers posts. So SL knew or did not know the client complained online before she made everything as right as possible? Well that doesn't really matter I guess.

SL, did you put a response to the original complaint? I din see it.

And I've changed my mind about rescinding the coupon. I got the chronology all mixed up. Client keeps coupon is my vote.

sweetlayers Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 6:13pm
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis

Ok wait --I'm not getting it.

Ok I went back & re-read SweetLayers posts. So SL knew or did not know the client complained online before she made everything as right as possible? Well that doesn't really matter I guess.

SL, did you put a response to the original complaint? I din see it.

And I've changed my mind about rescinding the coupon. I got the chronology all mixed up. Client keeps coupon is my vote.




No, I won't be voiding the coupon. That stands and I'm fine with it. However, I did refund her money at 11pm that night when I realized I missed her party. In addition, I called her that night around 11:30pm and apologized about the mix up. I had to leave a voice message.

In addition, I baked, sculpted and delivered the cake to her albeit late. Plus wrote her a letter of apology and spoke with her several times to apologize as well and set up a new delivery time.

The complaints were written between the time of the party and 11pm the night the delivery was supposed to be made. So I understand why she wrote what she wrote when she wrote it. My question is is it ok to respond to this one last review which was commented on by another caker in my area? If so, how should the response read?

jason_kraft Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 6:18pm
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetlayers

My question is is it ok to respond to this one last review which was commented on by another caker in my area? If so, how should the response read?



I would definitely respond to the customer's review by reiterating the facts and highlighting everything you did to make things right.

Do not address or even acknowledge the other caker's response to the review. I don't think the other caker's comment was out of line given the facts available from the review, but there's really no need to respond directly to the comment-- your actions and the response to the customer's review should stand on their own.

-K8memphis Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 6:22pm
post #23 of 26

I would only respond to her complaint. Too much drama otherwise.
With all you've done to make this right you deserve to have that information out on the air waves.

Nobody gonna do it for yah!

And I would encourage you to ask your client to update her complaint--like if you think she's in a good mood like when she cashes in the coupon or something.

I forgot a cake date once. It is the worst feeling on the planet. Lucky for me it was before electricity was invented and no one could plug in their computers & complain publicly.

jason_kraft Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 6:22pm
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by 7yyrt

However, if the customer continues to post the OP took her money after a refund was issued, that is a different kettle of fish; but those original ones are not actionable.



Even if they were actionable, any positive outcome from a libel suit would be more than outweighed by the hit to your reputation. No one wants to buy from a business that sues their customers.

sweetlayers Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 6:37pm
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonkraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by 7yyrt

However, if the customer continues to post the OP took her money after a refund was issued, that is a different kettle of fish; but those original ones are not actionable.


Even if they were actionable, any positive outcome from a libel suit would be more than outweighed by the hit to your reputation. No one wants to buy from a business that sues their customers.




Yeah, I wouldn't even think of it.

Thanks guys. Can I just say it again......I LOVE YOU ALL! icon_biggrin.gif

Herekittykitty Posted 1 Dec 2010 , 7:14pm
post #26 of 26

It's been bugging me while reading this so have to post.

Did she seriously just sit around all day waiting for the cake to be delivered without ever calling you to see what the hold up was? Really?! I'd have been on that phone after 15-20 minutes past the delivery time to find out what was going on. Hell, I'm so a/r I probably would have called the night before to assure myself everything was on schedule. Overcommunication - love it. icon_smile.gif

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