Reputation is everything in the events industry, whether you own an event rental business, a wedding planning business, or anything else where people are relying on you for a special ocassion. A good rep can garner referrals, earn clients’ respect, and position yourself as a thought leader. All of those things equate with increased revenue, but it begs the question: How do you build and maintain a positive reputation?
Nowadays, your first impression is often through your website or social media presence. For this reason, it’s essential for your reputation to speak for you as you don’t get a chance to sell yourself in person. Fortunately, there are a number of strategies you can use to build a solid online presence that showcases your talents.
Ask For Reviews
When you’ve provided someone with top-of-the-line services, don’t hesitate to ask for a review. More often than not, happy clients are more than willing to write a glowing review for you. Explain the power of reviews and the value of referral business to your clients as their events wrap up, and don’t be afraid to be persistent. “When couples do their research, one of the top things they search for is reviews. They want to make sure the vendors they choose are going to be reliable and provide high quality services. Having good reviews on your side is invaluable to your business,” says Keith Phillips of Classic Photographers.
Engaged couples are notorious for disappearing once they jet off to start married life, so set a reminder to follow up a few weeks after the wedding when things have started to slow down.
Earn Press Features
If you don’t have a press page on your website, it’s time to start pitching yourself to media outlets. Seeing your name in lights isn’t just for the thrill; it’s a great way to develop third-party accountability. “Being quoted as an expert source in other publications, both B2B and consumer-facing, is an important part of continuing the conversation and ensuring my brand stays front and center,” shares Brittny Drye of Love Inc. The more media hits you earn, the more your online reputation will spread to prospective clients and partners.
Don’t Panic Over Bad Reviews
There’s nothing worse than receiving a 1-star review on an event you worked hard on. Transparency is always best, so take some time to think of a response strategy. “It’s critical to respond to negative reviews, acknowledge the issue, fully understand what could have been done better, and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused,” explains Larry Fox of Blooms by the Box. “It’s important to empathize with the customer, make them feel heard, and use the opportunity as a learning moment to improve your process.” In your response, push them to contact you directly to handle the resolution privately, whether it’s a financial refund or a heartfelt apology.
Take Feedback to Heart
Even if you’ve responded to a negative review, the shock can still weigh heavily. Rather than get down about the criticism, consider it a learning lesson. “I look at all feedback as constructive. It’s impossible to please everyone, so if and when you do receive negativity, it’s important to absorb it and understand the concerns, but don’t let it consume you,” urges Drye. “Take what you need out of it to create a better version of yourself or product and then let it go.”
Whether the feedback was positive or negative, remember that increasing your customer service efforts as a response can make for a huge payoff. Sandy Hammer of AllSeated says, “A company's reputation begins with customer service, and I continue to reiterate to my team that it's essential to do whatever it takes for the customer. In fact, each week, our team shares their favorite live chat stories from the site.”
When it comes down to it, much of your reputation is how you carry yourself. If you project confidence and knowledge, your reputation will surely follow suit.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.