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How To Tackle A Negative Yelp Review
Published Wednesday, September 17, 2014

When you’re in business, bad reviews come with the territory. Regardless of honest effort and a sincere commitment to customer service, the time will come when you will face a less than ideal online review. This negative comment may feel like a punch in the gut to a small business owner. The good news is that there is always a solution.

Customers love Yelp because so many companies don’t moderate the reviews, giving more power to the consumer. But those Negative Nancys can add up, if you’re not getting positive reviews to “push down” the nay-sayers.

If you get a negative review on Yelp, keep these things in mind:

  • Burying your head in the sand isn’t going to make the bad review go away. Attack it head on.
  • Always begin your response by thanking the reviewer for their business and their feedback.
  • Keep replies short, sweet and to the point.
  • Respond in a timely fashion. Stay tuned in to what people are posting on Yelp, and anywhere else online.
  • Some people just want to complain, BUT if there is a legitimate issue that needs to be addressed, tell that customer what your action plan is to fix it. Explaining the changes you’re making, or have already made to remedy the situation is the best way to build trust.
  • Be calm and professional in your response from a raging customer. Take a deep breath and remember that these are paying customers and your goal is to salvage that.
  • Flag any false reviews. False reviews are not permitted on Yelp and can be flagged for removal. Reviews that are hearsay or share misleading information are candidates for flagging.
  • The best way to redeem yourself from a bad review is by seeking out loyal and happy customers to write a great one. Never be cheesy or overbearing by offering free gifts or rewards for their review. Simply ask your most consistent customers/clients if they would be interested in leaving a review. Educate your loyal followers on where to go to post a review. If you’re offering an awesome product or service, it should not be difficult to redeem yourself from a negative comment.
  • Remember, Yelp is not the only option for small businesses looking to improve ratings and customer interaction. Consider checking out other review sites like Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Yellow Pages, Facebook, and more. And if you haven’t set up alerts to track your Twitter mentions, do it now. Knowing what consumers are saying about you and your business is key to growing and improving.

Jenn Boutwell is a Sage One brand ambassador and team building virtuoso. Professionally she is known for building strong teams and organizing complex situations. She is passionate about making small business owners’ lives easier so they can spend more time on what they are passionate about. When she’s not running between meetings, she’s running half-marathons and training for a full marathon.

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