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Handling Negative Yelp Reviews

Yelp has proved to be a great service for promoting your local business’s service and products. (Though its newest foray into paid listings has more questionable benefits, as we’ll discuss later.) It’s an easy way to benefit from great word-of-mouth by your customers and show off the excellent customer service you provide.

That is, of course, if you’re receiving positive reviews. If you’re getting hit with negative reviews — whether fair or unfair — on your Yelp site, that can throw a serious monkey wrench into the process. People naturally pay more attention to negative reviews than positive ones, and you don’t want those criticisms to define your business to potential customers.

What can you do if you get negative reviews? That depends on the particular review. First, let’s focus on reviews that are unfair or violate Yelp’s terms of service.

In this case, you have two options: You can go to yelp.com/contact and select Questionable Content. This isn’t the fastest option, but you will receive a direct reply from Yelp’s customer support team. Alternatively, you can flag the review. This will be handled more quickly, but you won’t receive a response regarding the issue’s resolution.

Let’s say you receive a negative review that you can’t necessarily contest through Yelp. Perhaps the reviewer has a legitimate gripe about your business, or perhaps it’s simply a matter of miscommunication.

One option is to reach out to the customer through a private message. Always be positive and professional when you do this. You can note any positive aspects the customer mentioned, apologize for the problem, try to rectify the issue and welcome the customer to try your services again.

Another good option is to make a public comment on the review. Again, this should always be positive and professional. You can address the concerns noted and specify any changes you’ve made to address the problem.  How you respond to the review will go a long way in determining how other visitors think of your business, so a calm, diplomatic response is highly advised.

Also, keep in mind that if the comment reads like it was written by a troll, visitors are savvy enough to recognize that. When it’s been reviewed enough times, every great business will still get a handful of one-star reviews. You don’t have to respond to every one, but when you do, be sure you’re the one taking the high road.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask us for help. We’re trained in knowing how to handle negative reviews in a manner that can turn negatives into positives.

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