Best Practices For Negative Reviews on Yelp

Last month alone, Yelp had 210,115,440 visitors to their site. We don't need to tell you how important it is to be on Yelp. Most likely you're already on Yelp. SMB's can use Yelp to their advantage.

"72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations."

Yelp is a powerful tool for both consumers and business owners. Business owners can use Yelp to respond to customer issues and complaints and see what works and what doesn't. Yelp can provide insight on how to better their services and pinpoint problems before they arise. Businesses also have free publicity and brand awareness from having a Yelp page.

Consumers utilize this powerful tool to make informed purchasing decisions and provide feedback on their experiences. 93% of consumers who research on review sites typically make purchases at the businesses they look up.  This invaluable tool gives consumers the power to voice their opinion on a business. That being said, Yelp, coupled with the consumer voice have the power to run your business to the ground or raise it to the highest levels of success. It is up to you as the business owner to decide how you will handle reviews on Yelp.

Nothing feels worse than receiving a negative review. You may feel like you've been punched in the face. We care about our businesses and as business owners it hurts when someone says something negative about it. How do you respond to a negative review? How you handle the review can really shape how consumers see you.

Here are some best practices when it comes to responding to negative reviews on Yelp:

Think before you respond: Take some time to think about how you want to respond. You don't want to say anything rash because you are upset about the negative review.

Try to understand their side: Your reviewers are human beings, they have feelings and sensitivities. They are vocal and want to be heard and understood.

Sometimes simple is better: Keep it simple, sometimes it is better to just thank them for their feedback.

Private message vs. public comment: Decide whether what you say will be public or private before forming the message. Sometimes it is better to handle the reviewers complaints on a more personal level. Make initial contact on a public sphere and then private message to develop a deeper understanding of their review. If you are able to develop a genuine human relationship, you may have a chance to change the reviewers perspective.

Keep your cool: Don't lose you temper, be condescending, or rude. NEVER tell them they are wrong and that their opinions are not valid. It is very easy to copy and paste  your message and make it viral.

Basically, don't do this:


Opportunity to learn: A negative review isn't bad. It allows you to see where problems lie in your business and how you can better serve your customers. Reach out to your reviewer and try to find out what could be done better and personally apologize for their experience.

Here's a business owners advice on responding to negative reviews:

Negative reviews happen, use them to shape the success of your business instead of hold your business back. 

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