3 Tips to Handle Negative Yelp Reviews for Local Businesses

Since its inception in 2004 Yelp has joined the leagues of Google and Facebook in terms of providing unbiased local business reviews, based on public opinion.

The online platform has the ability to sway the opinion of online community.

According to a customer review survey performed by Brightlocal, an SEO and local citation website 92% of customers read online reviews to determine whether a local business is a good one. 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. And, not only is maintaining positive reviews online important for the reputation of your business, but it is also considered a ranking factor for Local SEO.

This guide is mainly for Yelp, but it extends further than that. Yell.com is just as important, and then there are niche related review sites such as WhatStorage for reviewing local self-storage companies. There’s us for generating online reviews. You should apply the same advice laid out on this article for whichever review platform is important for your business,

So you can see why businesses strive hard to get as many good reviews as possible.

However, getting a bad review is sometimes inevitable no matter how thorough you are in your business dealings.

When you get a bad review it might be a genuine review or a deliberate effort to sabotage all your business efforts. It hurts to get bad reviews as we are only human but, the way you respond to it can make or mar your business.

This works perfectly when you follow Chicken Soup for the Soul Author, Jack Canfield’s formula for success. It goes like this

Events + Reaction = Outcome

He went further to explain that events are things you cannot change like a bad review. But your reaction to an event would determine the outcome.

Here are some tips on dealing with negative Yelp reviews for Local Businesses.

1. Treat every negative Yelp review as urgent

Yelp prides itself on being unbiased when it comes to business reviews.

If you get negative Yelp reviews that are false and baseless. You could start by clicking on the flag icon on the bottom right corner to report abusive reviews.

This would be taken up for evaluation by Yelp’s user support team. If the review turns out to be genuine, the best is to handle it professionally by responding promptly and appropriately.

Businesses can respond privately or publicly. If the issue is a complex one, supply a simple answer and ask the person to contact you for more help.

Redeem yourself by responding publicly, this goes a long way to show that you value your customers.

Replying publicly is highly appealing because it shows that your business has your clients best interests at heart. It also demonstrates that some action has been taken to address the reviews. Negative reviews can help you improve on your business when you take it in good spirit.

2. Diplomacy

Be sincere and empathize with customers. In a bid to calm customers and resolve their problems with your product or services. You must not be too eager or too lax. Apologizing excessively may make you appear in a bad light. Assess the situation as quickly as you can. Do some background check on     the reviewer, this can help check how to respond to the negative comment. You don’t need to give a long list of excuses. Write your response in a concise and clear manner so that the reviewer and other people would understand

3. Learn and grow from there.

Certainly, bad reviews indicate that you have a dissatisfied customer. A business with glowing reviews and no bad comments can seem suspicious to customers. Having a few bad reviews shows that your business is genuine. It’s okay to have bad reviews as long as it doesn’t outweigh the good ones. Show positivity as, its a bad idea to get into an argument that drags on with customers. This could present you in a bad light and  show you as petty and unstable. People monitor progress and would notice if you made changes in effect from reviews. This can reveal you as a flexible business person willing to adapt and learn from mistakes. Remember that potential customers can see your response and this would definitely influence future decisions. Situations can be different and should be handled differently. Look at successful businesses similar to yours and monitor how they handle negative reviews on Yelp.

A bonus tip – Ask Why You Got a Negative Yelp Review

It’s always good to ask the reviewer why they gave you a bad review. This allows them to fully express themselves and helps you to improve your business.

In conclusion, a negative Yelp Review isn’t the end of the world. If you handle it properly, it might help you grow a strong business. What are your favorite ways of dealing with Negative Yelp Reviews? Let me know in the comments

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