4 Tips for Handling Bad Yelp Reviews

If you want a good laugh, you don’t have to look much further than the internet’s giant treasure trove of funny Yelp reviews. But when your company’s reputation comes under fire due to bad Yelp reviews, it’s no laughing matter.

Why Bad Yelp Reviews Matter

The popular rating service is not to be ignored — Yelp listings commonly show up in the top results in search engines, especially for searches involving restaurants and service contractors. Also, research has shown that 88% of customers make purchasing decisions influenced by online reviews. So what are business owners to do when they spot a bad review? Here are some tips for handling negative Yelp reviews:

1.)  Claim Your Yelp Account

If you haven’t already, claim your business’s Yelp account. This will allow you to flag bogus or abusive reviews and respond to negative reviews appropriately. Claiming your business on Yelp also has other perks, like the ability to create a deal or mobile check-in offer on Yelp, which can boost business.

2.)  Flag Phony or Abusive Reviews

bad Yelp reviews

Business owners can click the flag button underneath a review on the bottom right to report abusive reviews.

Yelp prides itself on being an unbiased resource, so it does not allow business owners to remove their bad reviews outright or pay to have them changed or removed. However, Yelp does offer some recourse for businesses who notice phony, irrelevant, or inappropriate reviews on their Yelp page that are dragging their business’s star rating down or maliciously slandering their good name. Yelp reviews that contain threats, harassment, hate speech or private information about your staff can be flagged for removal. Yelp offers tips for flagging reviews here.

3.)  Respond Promptly and Appropriately to Negative Reviews

If a negative review against your business is legitimate, the smartest move is to respond to the review within 3 days of its posting. Not every complaint you see will be reasonable, but we still recommend beginning your response by graciously expressing your regret that the reviewer had a poor experience at your business in any regard and thanking them for their feedback. This doesn’t mean you should take the blame, but it does show those reading the review that you care about delivering excellent customer service.

In your public response, you can choose to respectfully clear up misunderstandings or address individual complaints. Most reviewers will appreciate hearing if you are investigating the matter or if you are making changes based on their feedback. If the situation that led to the review is complex, we recommend keeping your public response brief and simply inviting the person to contact your business directly to correct the situation. Then, send the reviewer a private message to address their concerns in greater detail. Last but not least, always thank the reviewer for visiting your business and invite them to come back and enjoy a better experience at a later date.

4.)  Do Not Respond to a Review When Angry

Negative reviews can get ugly, and it can be tempting to respond in an equally ugly tone. Don’t respond to the review until your temper has cooled and your emotions are in check. If you attack or respond disrespectfully to a negative reviewer, you may prompt them to write additional negative reviews or to rope their friends into writing bad reviews and giving you low star ratings, making the situation worse. Remember, you’ll never be able to please everyone all the time, and sometimes a polite and respectful tone is the best damage control possible. Those reading your business’s reviews will take note of how you respond and make judgments accordingly.

About LLC is a Seattle online marketing company offering cutting-edge digital advertising solutions including microtargeted advertisingpay-per-click management and mobile phone advertising. We also offer expert SEOcustom web design and online reputation management services, including help with local search, responsive web design and management of online reviews. Looking for help with ecommerce websites or  brandingContact us online or by phone at 425-822-8200.

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