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The MBA Bride | April 18, 2014

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Empowerment 101: How to help other brides avoid bad wedding vendors

Community of Brides

As a bride, we all have felt powerless against a wedding vendor who has given us a bad experience.

Going to court for poor experiences doesn’t seem like an option – in most instances, the costs outweigh the benefits. But you do have power, business-savvy bride. You have the power to help other brides not choose the vendor with whom you had a bad experience.

Brides rely on the vendor’s past performance to predict the their performance in the future. We obtain information on past performance by word of mouth, review websites (The Knot, Wedding Wire, Yelp, etc), and even blogs. Thank you, Mr. Internet, for making this easier than its ever been before. Reviews via the Internet work in the favor of business-savvy brides and of vendors with solid customer service skills. For those vendors with poor customer service, well, they had it coming, didn’t they?

I’ve had a bad experience with one of my wedding vendors, so I’ll share a quick story. My mother, bless her heart, has agreed to help me with securing room blocks for my wedding. There are four hotels in our small town, one of which is a new Hyatt Place in Riverhead, NY. When I say new, I mean fresh out of the box. My mother went to the construction site in June of 2011 to secure a 20-room block for our guests. Just two weeks ago, my mother received a call from from the Sales Director, Tony, who said he overbooked the hotel and now want to bump my guests to a neighboring town…29.2 miles away. My guests would have to travel 45-minute to my venue, which otherwise would have been a 5-minute trip. When we asked for some reprieve and for him to honor the contract, he simply stated that it was out of his control and he could only offer us 10 rooms, despite the fact that he signed a contract giving us 20. That room block contract meant diddly to Tony, clearly.

As a business-savvy bride and Mother Of the Bride (MOB) with a good sense of alternatives, we took action. First, my mother and I went ahead and booked an alternative room block at a competing hotel in the area to assure that our out of town guests have a place to stay. As such, the Hyatt is missing out on $10,000 in room revenue for the wedding, the $5,000 in room revenue for my bridal shower, and the revenue associated with our European honeymoon, which is estimated to cost $6,000+, according to All About Travel. But it goes beyond that – as a business-traveler, I will not stay with a Hyatt because of I fear I would get bumped at any point – clearly, their system is unreliable. In essence, the Hyatt is missing out on my lifetime customer value of much more than $21,000 this year alone.

Business-savvy brides are a part of a community of larger brides and we have a duty to our fellow females to locate, mark and create awareness around customer service experiences that are significantly below our expectations. So here are five things you can do to make other brides aware of your bad experiences:

  • Facebook/Tweet it. Share with your friends on FB and your followers on Twitter your experience. On Twitter, you can hashtag (#) your topic to categorize it for your followers. If the business is a larger one, you may be able to directly contact the corporate parent (aka @Hyatt) for support in resolving your issue.
  • Blog it. Just like I did here. Tell your followers and any others who will listen about your experience. Make sure your blog is public and searchable so other brides can read about your experience and become aware of the problematic vendor.
  • Yelp it. Yelp is a place to advise people about your experiences with local businesses. I use it to provide your feedback about local food vendors (see my review on a local bagel store) and rate your experience. But you can rate your experiences with non-food vendors as well. Honesty is the best policy, but be sure to keep your comments polite and honest without derogatory remarks – simply state the facts.
  • Local forum it. Just about every major area has an online resource/forum for brides to connect with one another, share reviews, and learn about local vendors. As an example, Boston has Beantown Bride and Long Island has Long Island Weddings. A simple google search will reveal your support forums and places for you to make other brides aware of bad business practices where it is relevant. Doing so allows you to help others while you share your story.
  • BBB it. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) creates an ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers can trust each other. On their website, you can ask for dispute resolution assistance or even file a complaint against the business for their lack of performance or lack of integrity.

 

We all know that bad news travels faster than good news. One of my professors said to us for every praise report, there are 7 bad experience reports. So while you contribute to your community of fellow brides by letting them know about bad vendor experiences, make sure you tell them about the good ones too.

What other ways can you share news about a business via the Internet? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Photo Source: 2020stock.com

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