How to Deal With Negative Yelp Reviews

By Alan Safai, Friday, February 28, 2014
Bad online reviews and displeased customers

Bad reviews never feel good. They also never look good, especially for a small business. A one-star review on websites such as Yelp can be the deal-breaker for a potential customer. They are repellants for many, and even a single one-star review can put doubt in a person’s mind when they are considering you for business.

It is not the end of the world to have a negative review on your page. Many companies have Yelp pages that feature these blemishes, but they continue working anyway. Criticism comes with operating a business, but there are things you should and should not do when dealing with negative online reviews.

Approach Situation From Both Sides

It is easy to think that a negative review is somehow a personal attack and that the writer is out to get you. At first glance, the review could seem childish and even misguided, as if what they are saying makes no sense and that you are completely in the right. No one else has complained, so this person is just trying to start something

Perhaps what you consider to be fine is unacceptable for someone else. As a business owner, you will need to remember that. If you are a sandwich shop, it is very possible that someone will not enjoy your sandwiches and perhaps find them terrible. This does not mean that you have to change how your business operates, but it certainly helps to be in someone else’s shoes when reading Internet comments. Gaining perspective will help you understand your customers better and give you knowledge on how to make their experiences more enjoyable.

Respond Professionally

Your first thoughts are probably filled with frustration and indignation, and your second thoughts might be the things you would say to put that reviewer down.

Acting on these thoughts is ill-advised. In fact, it is hard to think of something worse you could do in this situation than comment back with a nasty message. It might feel good to vent and to write a comment that expresses your frustration, but definitely don’t do that. A one-star review is an annoyance – a one-star review with a company’s angry, rude response is tantamount to business suicide. If you’re looking for a quick way to lose customers, look no further.

If a negative review really bothers you to the point where you would write a rude response, don’t deal with it immediately. Go focus on other work and come back to Yelp in a few hours, maybe even the next day. You will want to return when you are not as irked and can handle the review professionally as any business would.

Look over the negative review with a level head. See what problems the customer experienced, and try to open a dialogue about fixing them, if possible. Not only will this help relations with your customer, but it will also shed light on the situation for other readers and show how committed you are to providing a quality experience to everyone.

By reaching out to the reviewer and responding with courtesy and kindness, you show readers that you are willing to fix any mistakes you make as a company. This dialogue and extension of an olive branch will go a very long way for customers, and even a simple apology will make them think better of you despite any issues they may have had.

Take Back Criticism

Something that may get lost in this entire ordeal is that the negative reviews might have some merit. Here is an example:

“We were dissatisfied with the quality of customer support from this company, and we did not feel like we were given their full attention.”

With this review, the client is making a fair claim: they were not given proper treatment. As a small business, you would want to make sure that each and every client is given the respect and attention that they deserve if you do not already. These comments and reviews require a look at the situation, and perhaps a glance at other past clients. How was business handled with them? Did you do anything different than usual? What could you do to improve?

Not all negative reviews, however, are the result of your poor actions or misdeeds. Some people blow certain things out of proportion and give poor reviews when they are probably not justified. Take each one with a grain of salt, but make sure not to ignore them. If you start seeing a pattern, then perhaps something in your company needs a second look.

While you would hope that the customer would take up any complaints with you directly instead of online, some people will go ahead and write reviews that paint your company in a poor light. Make sure not to let them get to you, and always work to act diplomatically and professionally with any reviewer.

Posted in: Internet Marketing, Marketing, Social Networking, WWW Learning Center

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