4 Tips for Responding to Negative Yelp Reviews

While Yelp is a wonderful marketing tool, it must be navigated skillfully. Yelp provides valuable information for potential customers, allowing them to share their experiences with your business. This is great marketing when the reviews are positive; however, some reviewers may not share comments or perceptions that shed a great light on your business.

Should you find yourself in this situation, remember that reading a negative Yelp review about your business doesn’t mean your company is scarred for life or that you can’t recover its reputation. Use this opportunity to present yourself in a positive way with these four tips:

Keep Calm and Breathe

When reading a negative review, you may feel angry and defensive, as negative reviews sometimes feel like personal attacks. There’s also the possibility for false reviews from competitors, disgruntled employees, or personal enemies.

Your first instinct may be to express anger, put the reviewer down, or discredit them publicly. While it may release tension at the time to defend yourself, it will likely result in further repercussions to your brand image.

It’s always best to breathe, allowing yourself time to calm down before responding to a negative Yelp review. Even if it’s fabricated, a public response (or private–as it may be copied and shared) holds influential power over your brand voice. Refrain from responding to negative reviews immediately. Find a healthy outlet for releasing your energy, and allow yourself time and space to process the contents of the review.

Come back with a calm and centered mind. Even if you don’t feel angry, residual from your reaction may leak into your tone. It’s better to do nothing than to respond immediately in a way that’s less than polite and professional, or inconsistent with your brand voice.

Keep it Polite and Brief

Once you’ve taken the time to calm down and quiet your mind, respond in a brief and polite manner. Thanking the reviewer for their feedback and business is better than sounding rude, since the reviewer is a paying customer. Treating the reviewer like a human being, and connecting with them will go further than trying to defend yourself.

Report Any Changes or Updates

Negative reviews can be catalysts for positive change within your business. Hearing your customers out when they’re displeased offers opportunities for resolution. If there’s anything you can do to remedy their concerns, gain a second chance, or correct things for the future, do it.

Share this with the reviewer in a polite, professional way, and update readers on the measures you’ve taken to improve future experiences. This shows that you care about your end-users, and will do what it takes to keep them. This promotes loyalty and trust in your brand.

Contact the Reviewer Privately

While a public review shows everyone your response, contacting the reviewer privately allows you to remedy their situation, and potentially prompt them to remove or revise the review. If you can do something to make this individual happy, they may share this changed perception online.

In instances of fake reviews, do the same. If you’re certain the review isn’t legit, report it. Yelp filters reviews that seem suspicious or fake, however some may slip through the cracks. Keeping Yelp in the loop is a great way to help them maintain a safe and credible community.

Would you like professional advice and/or assistance from a digital marketing company? We’d love to help! From social media consulting to creating and managing your online presence, MySMN is here for you.


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