In our latest webinar, we chatted with three incredibly successful Easy Weddings suppliers about all things reviews. They shared valuable insights like why reviews are pivotal to business growth, how to ask for them, advice on dealing with negative reviews, and so much more.
Here, the business owners from Lala Design, A Stand-up Celebrant and Just Fake It Bouquets share their top 10 tips to help increase your review count and achieve that 5-star rating on your Easy Weddings storefront.
Why are reviews so important for business success in the wedding industry?
Unlike most other service industries, weddings don’t lend themselves to repeat customers. Businesses provide a one-time service, so there isn’t really a second chance at a transaction. Without that return customer base, social proof is vital, says Lala Macnab of Lala Design.
“It almost is the cherry on top. You might have three or four of us that you’re choosing between, and it’s the reviews that will be the deciding factor whether or not you are choosing me or someone else. That’s why reviews are so important,” she added.
As Lee Seymour of Just Fake It Bouquets says, reviews are an important way for wedding service providers to build trust with potential future customers. “But if you’ve got great reviews, and they add to these great reviews, it’s the word of mouth. They’ll tell their bridesmaids and their friends, and their mother will tell their friends – it’s the flow-on effect,” she said.
1. Be Genuine
Reviews are a kind of “an online street cred,” says A Stand-Up Celebrant, Paul Bonadio. That’s why it’s so critical, as a service provider, to be yourself. Whether that’s in your initial interactions with the couple, throughout their wedding journey, or when you’re asking for a review, be sure to infuse your personality into all your communications.
2. It’s All About What Happens Beforehand
Paul is a strong believer that a good review comes from the preparation that you put into your work before the service is even delivered. That includes that genuine communication, as well as the time, effort, and little extras you add to building those relationships with each of your couples.
3. Make It Easy
Ensure your couples know exactly where to go to leave you a review. That might be on your Easy Weddings storefront, a Google review, or on your Facebook page. Paul suggests prompting the customer to leave a five-star review on Easy Weddings and encouraging them to copy and paste the review onto Google.
If the customer doesn’t have a Gmail account to leave a Google review, the celebrant will usually ask for a Facebook review instead. However, he says it’s important not to overwhelm them, but instead make the process as simple as possible. When you first ask a customer for a review, provide them with a direct link so they can go directly from your request to the review form in one click.
4. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
If you’re new to the industry and haven’t had the chance to work many weddings and therefore haven’t got many reviews on your website, Easy Wedding storefront or Google reviews page, don’t worry — Paul says. “If you’re starting out and haven’t got many reviews, they will eventually come. It just takes some time.”
Lee agrees: “We’ve all been there — we all had one single review before. Persist. Keep chipping away at it and reviews will come.”
5. Ask the Right People
Anyone can leave a review, of course, but make sure the couples who are/were beyond excited about your product/service are taking the time to bring your overall rating up. When emailing couples to ask for reviews, if you feel as though a couple had a bump in the road or wasn’t as happy as they should have been, perhaps avoid asking them for a review.
However, if you know a couple who has been absolutely thrilled with your product/service, definitely ask them for an honest review. Better yet – ask them to share some lovely photos that capture the magic, which can be reshared on your social media channels as Real Weddings, as Lala suggested.
6. Give Them a Reason
Instead of telling your couples “this would really help me and my business”, Lee suggests phrasing it in a way that makes them want to help other couples. Remind them how hard it was for them to find the perfect suppliers for their big day. This might entice them more because they can truly relate to the situation and they’ll feel like they’re helping other couples, not just you as a supplier.
7. Think About Your Reputation
When dealing with negative reviews, keep in mind that the way you respond to reviews (good or bad) is public. “Just remember: your reputation is more important than being right online,” Lee explains.
Even if someone is wrong in their review, try to be civil and explain that you’d be happy to take this offline and discuss the matter further. Be the bigger person to ensure your brand and business don’t suffer.
The best approach is to deal with negative reviews head-on, and straight away, Lala advises. Acknowledge publically that the concern is unusual, but that you’d like to resolve the issue offline. If it helps, she suggests smiling while you’re responding – even if you’re fuming on the inside. “Don’t answer it in anger or frustration,” she warns.
8. Build a System
Lala’s biggest tip is to add a reviews process to your internal systems — whether you do a fortnightly check-in with couples, or perhaps on a Sunday night, regular updates and check-ins are pivotal. In the past, she has sent out review requests as a bulk MailChimp mailout but found the impersonal approach didn’t align with her personalised service during the customer’s journey. Lala found more tailored requests resulted in a far better response rate.
In that same breath, make sure you’re constantly updating your reviews. Lala says “we have fresh reviews coming in constantly. If your reviews are a year old, that’s not acceptable — it needs to be three to six months tops.”
10. Respond to Every Single One
Reply to all your reviews as they come in. Lala explains that this allows potential future customers to see her connection with her couples and entices them to enquire and book with her. Seeing that personal touch and bond between you and your couples is nothing but a positive for all future prospects.