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Photography business reviews – how much do they matter?

Mark Lait

Mark Lait

I want to talk about that feeling you get when you get a notification saying that someone has left you a 1 star review, tearing your business to pieces.

I don’t know how much of this you’ve experienced but it’s not a good feeling, especially when it is completely opposite to the interaction you had with that client … You think, ‘oh no, how’s this going to affect my business?’ but the truth is it probably won’t.

I’m an advocate of leaving my reviews on so that people can get a balanced view of our business … you’re never going to get all 5 star reviews if you’re playing by the rules so just accept that. Leaving our reviews on shows that we’ve got nothing to hid,  but when you see a review like this, all you can do is respond professionally and in the words of ‘Steven Covey –  seek first to understand, then to be understood’ your response should never be emotional and always seek to clarify the facts, even if you know that what they have said is untrue, there are many ways to respond which make observers question the initial review anyway.


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If you respond with something like ‘we’re sorry that you are dissatisfied with your experience, what can we do to correct this?’ or ‘we noticed your review varies from the feedback you provided on the day we would love for you to contact us on xxxx xxx xxx to find out where the discrepancy is’

When you say things like this, it shows the observer that you have made an effort to address the reviewer’s concerns, 95% of time, they’ll never reply, they won’t call you because they’re only brave behind a keyboard but don’t worry about it – life goes on,  they were most likely just blowing off steam,

If your response is there, it’s there forever and people can always see that you’ve been a responsible business owner, some businesses won’t turn their reviews on due to the amount of negative feedback they contain but you know what? they’re still making money,  whether they have their reviews visible or not, people are still using their business, I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t have them on, I’m just saying that they don’t seem to make a lot of difference to the end result.

Do you look at reviews and does it affect your decision to use a business or service?

Personally, I’ve been on both sides but I don’t think you can rely on them … let me give you an example.

I wanted some plastics manufacturing done once and the company, which was close by, had one and a half out of five stars, so, based on that I went somewhere else but on the other hand – I engaged a company with nothing but five star reviews to build a website for me once – they didn’t adhere to the design brief I gave them and then sued me for not paying them.

It turns out that all of their reviews were written by their staff, probably under fear of termination if they didn’t do so, the other thing to consider is that people pay for poor reviews to be written about your business so that they can gain a competitive advantage, while the internet is a great thing but it’s also an evil thing.

The bottom line from my point of view is, either turn them off or don’t worry about them, in all the years I’ve been running my business I’ve only seen one comment where someone said they wouldn’t use our business because of the review they read, the person who left the comment was obviously looking for something to hate which means she was like the reviewer, but we don’t want people like that in our studio anyway so she qualified herself out – thanks for that!