So you got a negative Yelp Review! Now what do you do?  We are asked about this all of the time.  So if you are done screaming, let’s look at this non-emotionally.
In the case of one of our clients, this was their scenario:
  1. On Yelp, there were over 638 reviews, with an average 3.5 star rating.  This is really a great position to be in.
  2. Their reviews were not manufactured and are from an active Yelp community. This means that the reviews did not show up in a 3 day time span and overly glorify the business.
  3. There are overwhelmingly more good reviews than bad.

If you are in a similar situation and you just received a negative review on Yelp, how can we turn this into a positive?  Think about it from the Yelp community’s perspective.  If you had an experience that was really bad, so much so that you needed to tell the world about it, what could help pacify the situation?

  • It is absolutely, positively critical to engage and engage quickly.
  • Be honest, be sincere, and don’t be combative.

The bottom line: address the issue with the customer in the sincerest way possible; for example:

(Restaurant example)

“We are very sorry to hear that you had a negative experience at our establishment.  It is our goal to make sure that our guests have great food and a great time while dining with us. Please contact the restaurant and ask for “MANAGER”, as we would love the opportunity to make it right.”
By reacting quickly you will have addressed the issue without admitting guilt or being defensive.  This makes the customer feel better, and also lets the Yelp community know that you care about what goes on in the social realm and your establishment.

Things to take into consideration with regards to comments from “Yelpers ” include: what type of poster is this? Is this an avid poster?  Do they have an active profile?  Do they have any friends?  Active Yelp users realize that there are people who post who are either fakes or are just on an emotional binge.  In the case of one of my clients, the poster had a new profile, two reviews,  no picture, no friends, etc. Who was this poster?  We don’t really know.  By addressing  issues quickly, and in a non-combative nature, we can eliminate the sting of negative comments.

I would recommend coming up with a set of proactive responses for different situations that can be tweaked slightly so you don’t sound like a robot.  Be sure to comment on both positives and negatives, so that you don’t look like you just knee jerk when somebody says something you don’t like…  Lastly, I advise you to investigate whether there was any warrant to the claims, and do whatever you can to correct those issues for the future.

Whether you are brand new or established on Yelp and receive a negative comment, don’t be discouraged.  Promote feedback from your clients and grow your Yelp Ratings, organically.  If you are doing what you need to, you will have a nice, natural growth on Yelp!

I hope this helps.