Yelp – either you love it or hate it. As a consumer, it’s helpful to read customer reviews when you’re looking for a local restaurant, mechanic, accountant or even dentist. But as a small business owner, the thought of customers being able to freely leave reviews, even false ones, while being protected, is sure to make your skin crawl.
No matter what you choose to do, be sure to read Yelp’s own guidelines for responding. There are a few options you have:
Reach out privately
Sometimes, an apology and offer to return to your establishment is good enough to convince a user who wrote the bad review to change it in an update. Reaching out privately shows that you care about your business and your customers’ experiences.
Reach out publicly
If there’s a common thread in your bad Yelp reviews, it might be time to take the comments to the public. Writing a composed, tactful and sincere apology shows that you’re not afraid to address some business flaws and that you’re working hard to make things better. Public comments from business owners show the human side of an establishment and can also help you get loyal customers on your side.
Flag Reviews that violate Yelp’s Content Guidelines and Terms of Service
Sometimes, it’s extremely frustrating to deal with a falsified review. There are many things you’re thinking about, even if it’s a competitor trying to sabotage your business. One option to deal with these types of reviews is to flag them and encourage others (employees, family and friends). While Yelp has a staunch policy on what reviews are filtered and not filtered, it’s possible to get a false review flagged.
Encourage more reviews from happy customers
If you have very few or one negative review, the best option is to tackle it head on… by encouraging more positive reviews. The ratio of good and bad reviews is important. While you can’t ask for reviews outright (and definitely don’t compensate for them), you can always encourage customers to visit your business on Yelp. Ask them how their experience was and through the subtext, they’ll understand that they can help your business out by leaving a positive review or tip.
Have any other ways to deal with bad Yelp reviews? Let us know what you think about Yelp: https://www.facebook.com/emarketed
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Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.