Ask The Mompreneur: Negative Online Review? Advice From The Trenches

By Jennie Wong
The Charlotte Observer.

This week’s column features an interview with Christina Britt Lewis of The Redesign Company, a Davidson, N.C. home design firm.

Q: Getting a bad online review can feel devastating. I know you recently went through this experience and came through it in one piece. Can you share your story?

A: Entrepreneurs are artists. And artists take it personally. That is why receiving a scathing review hurts so much. We pour our hearts and souls into our work. Our work is a gift we feel compelled to give back to the world. When somebody criticizes our gift we question the worthiness of our gift and we question the worthiness of ourselves. It hurts. I launched The Redesign Company with my therapist husband in 2004. Together, we help people love what they already have all over again, and we are not just talking about the sofa.

As all entrepreneurs know or will know soon enough, we can’t please all of the people all of the time. We just can’t. When we found ourselves unable to please a new client not too long ago, I called to apologize, gave her a full refund, and sent a handwritten note wishing her well and apologizing once again.

And we all lived happily ever after.

I mean, and then she left us a scathing review on Houzz. Houzz is our most important online presence. More new clients find us there than anywhere else. Houzz reviews are a big deal for us.

My reaction was to:

I cried and sang “Shake it Off” into a spatula in my kitchen. More than once.

I wrote to the powers that be at Houzz and asked them to remove the review. I explained that we refused to take on her project and fully refunded her deposit. They explained that anybody you even talk to about a project is free to leave a review. I explained that by their policy my mother, the lady in line behind me at Trader Joe’s, and my hairdresser are free to leave a review. I have not heard back from them and the review still stands.

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