Nothing has ever captured US more perfectly than that saying. We work hard and we have succeeded because we have worked hard. We have genuinely worked every wedding or event you see on our profile. We have real clients with real feelings and wedding days and they have real opinions and memories about those days. They are real.
Unfortunately not everything you read on the internet is real and it's definitely not a REAL CLIENT MOMENT. A few years back we fell victim to a horrible round of reviews from someone we still to this day have never even met.
We never had a reason to even think of review sites and what they could do to (or for) a business. We never signed up for one, we never advertised on one... we never asked to be a part of one. Turns out you don't need to be asked - anyone ANYWHERE can sign you or your business up for one and say whatever they would like and never have to be held accountable for those words or prove they are true. This is exactly what happened to us and there is nothing we can do about it.
Imagine you are a small business that's excited to be out in the world making your mark. You are a small business that is in it for all the right reasons, you absolutely adore your clients and man you are just so grateful for the chance to live out your dream and do it well. To do it right. To end your day feeling like you are making a difference and making people feel amazing.
Now imagine at anytime someone wanting to have that same success but they are not willing to put in the same time, passion or drive as you comes along and sees you have a good thing going and they view you as the dreadful word, competition. So they sprint to the top by attacking (because that's absolutely what it feels like) and breaking down what you have built while hiring and recruiting others to build up what they have not.
We never saw it coming. We never had a chance.
- Never saw the Yelp account which was set up for us without our permission and then the posting of fake reviews from their family and friends one after another claiming to be real clients with serious billing issues coming. In our opinion this is the WORST thing we can imagine happening to someone and we would be mortified.
- Never saw the Wedding Wire account that was set up just like Yelp was without our permission and the SAME copy and pasted reviews put on there.
- Never saw the fake claim to the BBB with a copy and pasted complaint coming - which we have successful fought and it was closed and deemed untrue however it still exists out there on the internet as if it's real or happened.
As if that wasn't bad enough our blogs were copied and ripped off, our pictures were stolen and used and our website wording and graphics were used on their website all to look like a reputable company that had put in all the time, passion, love and care. But it wasn't, it was fake. Fake like everything else. When we realized the extent of all this it seemed ludicrous, why on earth would someone go to all that trouble to attack one local company. But it wasn't just us, it was 8 others that we know of and who knows how many countless others.
The worst part of it was all the clients that booked them that then got scammed out of THOUSANDS of dollars. Never had a planner show up the day of, never had the attention they were promised. This whole company was a mirage and then poof it was gone. I'm not sure how long they thought they could keep it up without actually having to work a wedding... but they didn't even stay afloat for 6 months before everything was gone offline and they disappeared. I wish all their lies and the damage they created could have been cleared away as easily as deleting a website and waiting for the search engines to refresh.
Out of all this we stayed true to ourselves while MONTHLY we go to battle sending the same emails to these review sites BEGGING with them to remove these reviews.
- they agree they seem scripted
- they agree they have seen the same thing posted on another business page that also complained
- they agree it doesn't line up with the THIRTY FIVE 5 STAR reviews we do have
- they agree this is unfair and it shouldn't happen
- they don't and won't remove them because they can't prove they were not real customers
- they understand it's unfair but it's freedom of speech
- they don't believe that a real company can actually have so many 5 star reviews that are real
- they will continue to block our 5 star reviews and only show the 1 star reviews because currently they seem more relevant and realistic based on their "super amazing custom built algorithm"
- they are so sorry we are going through this and to help they can absolutely clean up our page if we pay $850 a month in advertising and become a client of theirs (insert intense pain here)
- If you're going to have a review based website and that's all your company does than it needs to work both ways. I'm all for freedom of speech and clients and customers having a place to openly speak about their experience. If any of these things HAD HAPPENED with one of our clients I would 100% stand by it and own those mistakes and become better for them. Period.
That being said - if a business doesn't have the option of removing their page or not opening one than that business has to be allowed to have just as loud of a voice as the customer. If the business contests a review and claims it's false that customer should have to PROVE by credit card statement or officially signed contract they were indeed a customer. If they can't... that review is deleted. Simple as that.
- You can't believe everything you read on the internet. You just can't. There are some shady business owners out there, we have worked with some of them, we all have! However if something doesn't add up, ASK!
- We talk to our future clients on email, than on the phone and then again with our proposal and contract. You get a true sense for who we are, what we do, what we charge etc instantly.
- We are always 100% transparent with our services and our entire billing system is done ONLINE and through another company entirely, we don't even know how you paid. We are not involved in the payment process at all so it's impossible for us to re-charge or charge more money period.
- We have real past clients that are happy to be referrals for us at anytime. Any company that does not have this to offer you is not a company you want to be a part of.
This issue has been going on for so long now that our current clients all understand it's something that shows up online.
We don't have a single client that can say this happened to them and that makes this the hardest for a small business owner that has their entire heart in their business. Online it tells a different story and there is not a single thing we can do about it, it seems.
We know our work speaks for itself. We know our clients speak for themselves and how incredibly happy they are. We know the 35+ glowing reviews that are hidden are real and honest and amazing and they make us feel so amazing and remind us about why we do what we do.
Most importantly WE SPEAK FOR OURSELVES. We connect on the phone and talk from our hearts and souls and clients can feel that. You can't steal that. You can't copy and paste that into a website and pretend that it belongs to you. Our real clients know that, feel that and see through it right away.
For all of you in the same spot where you are feeling bullied by someone in the industry, or are battling local vendors that feel threatened by what you offer... SPEAK FOR YOURSELF. Your real clients will find you, they will feel you and they will love you. If they don't... they were not your meant to be clients anyway.