Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

April 1, 2019 The struggle is real

Your hurtful reviews have human consequences

Renee Diaz

Can you imagine walking into work and opening your email to see your company sent out your annual review to everyone? Or, you walk into the breakroom and are smacked in the face with your review and comments from your coworkers plastered on the wall? Congratulations, you basically just received your first online review!

As a small business owner, receiving a negative review is similar to the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. It's uncomfortable. You want to know every detail of the transaction; you want to give your staff a moment to explain themselves; and you want to talk to the customer to find out what you can do to make the situation better.

We receive reviews all the time – so many positive ones and a handful of negative ones. I am learning how to better deal with the negative ones while trying to turn the reviewers experience into a positive one.

We live in a world where people are comfortable from behind their keyboards bashing one another, rather than discussing the incident privately. It is easier to threaten small businesses with negative review than accept what they can do for you, understand the mistakes made and give them another chance.

I'm sad to say that The Queen's Cups – and many other businesses my friends own – get threatened more than you may think. Once, because I would not refund a family 100 percent, they decided the only way they would feel better about the situation is to bash my business on every social media platform. Better yet, they told me to make sure I checked it out when I got out of work that night.

Yes, I own a business, and yes, I am supposed to have tough skin. But I am also human, with feelings. I do not think it's fair for anyone to talk to or treat someone else that way. The customer may always be right, but the customer does not have that right. I have many stories about threats and negative reviews definitely written with malintent.

If you are reading this, you may have experienced something similar yourself. The reviewer definitely did not care to leave anything to make my business better, but it is more of a way to get back at us. We all see this type of behavior everywhere.

But, the truth of the matter is, I know The Queen's Cups is not perfect. I do not want to be perfect. I want us to grow and get better every day!

Just recently, we heard a few times our vanilla cakes were dry and crumbly. I appreciated this feedback and over the past two weeks, my bakers have experimented with new recipes. One of my bakers recently tried six different recipes with a variety of baking techniques, and we all fell in love with one. We tested it over a four-day period. I am thankful for that feedback because we were looked at how we were making our cake, learned from it and created something much better. Now, we find ourselves eating way more cake than normal and are happy we found a solution for our customers.

This column is not to prevent myself – or any of my friends' businesses – from receiving negative reviews. This column is meant to show the other side. We are all trying to make and provide a living for others. We are trying to build strong leaders in our community through high school and college students. We are going to make mistakes. You should make that uncomfortable phone call, or send an email, to the businesses and tell them about your experiences. Give them a chance to right their wrongs and improve their products or services.

But put yourself in the shoes of the 16 year old with her first job, as the cake decorator who spent three hours making your cake and whose heart sinks after she finds out you did not like it. Put yourself in the shoes of the employer with 20+ employees who is hoping to make payroll. Remember we all have feelings and deserve respect no matter which side of the counter you are on.

Renee Diaz is the owner of The Queen's Cups bakery in Worcester, which generated more than $1 million in revenue last year.

Sign up for Enews

WBJ Web Partners


Order a PDF