Bad Yelp Reviews: How to Handle Them Gracefully

How to handle bad yelp reviews

We show you the secrets to making sure that bad Yelp reviews don’t damage your business. It’s easy to get your business back on track!

So you received a bad Yelp review…

These days it feels as if almost everything is shared publicly. The barriers that were set in place even five years ago have muddled away into a vast open space of shared information. There is always a flipside, and the surge in public information is no exception. In particular; Yelp has provided consumers with the ability to share ‘real’ reviews for the people by the people. From dog-walkers to billion dollar corporations, most effective business strategies include taking time to focus on Yelp. We imagine most of you reading the Bizzy blog fall somewhere in-between dog walkers and Pepsi. We also think that in the course of your career you will face the dreaded negative review on Yelp. While no one looks forward to a public scolding, it is important to realize no one is immune to them either. Despite all of your best efforts, best practices, and best intentions, a bad review is likely inevitable. This post will focus on how to handle a negative review on Yelp and decrease the likelihood of a ripple effect.

First, take a deep breath.

Upon receiving a negative review it is important to not immediately react. What we do is often so much a part of who we are, and it is easy to take things personally thus triggering an emotional reaction. The best thing you can do is wait a minimum of 48 hours to respond.  Yelp, being an extremely public forum, is an unforgiving environment to knee-jerk reactions. Although your urge may be to reply to the review and clear your name, the opposite message is sent. Businesses who immediately respond to each negative review often seem desperate and defensive…

Think of Yelp like any other relationship.

Both parties ultimately want a positive resolution where the conflict is resolved and mistakes rectified. That being said, there are always going to be a small number of people writing bad Yelp reviews for the sake of writing a bad review. As mentioned earlier, the flipside of that scenario is that over-the-top negative reviews come across as such on Yelp. Its usually pretty easy to differentiate a bad day from bad service, and it is important to remember that as your business grows so does the likelihood of bad reviews. Rather than focus on the extreme, develop a big picture mentality that focuses on the main themes of the reviews rather than nitpick individually. (Or let us here at Bizzy do your marketing for you!)

When it is time to reply, respond to the original review in the most concise manner possible. The less you say, the better! Often times when one tries to explain a scenario it snowballs into a laundry list of excuses that won’t do your business any favors when a potential customer is quickly scanning Yelp. Instead: reply directly, apologize for their negative experience, and invite them to reach out via the companies contact info. The main thing to express is the companies overall tone…which should be positive despite a negative situation. It is also important to tailor the response to the issue. Do not confuse ‘consistent and concise’ with ‘canned and robotic.’ If you are simply going to cut and paste a response you are better off not replying at all. Yelp thrives on authenticity, don’t sabotage your credibility for the sake of a few bad reviews.

Takeaway – Bad Yelp reviews are manageable!

  • Don’t let bad Yelp reviews become something bigger than they are. These things happen. Like most things, a single review is in no way an accurate portrayal of an entire company. Instead, focus on the positive implications constructive criticism can lead to and use it to make your business better. Yelp offers invaluable insight and feedback into what is working and what isn’t. Even the worst review could lead to a positive change in the future.
  • Dedicate a certain amount of time each week to maintaining and monitoring your Yelp profile. Don’t ignore what people are saying about you. The good, the bad, and the ugly…it is all important. (Pro-tip: check out your competitors’ Yelp pages as well!)
  • A negative review isn’t all bad. Chin up! Focus on the positive. Onward and upward!

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