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What Can Business Owners Do About Negative Yelp Reviews?

Negative Reviews

Like it or not, Yelp has a lot of power for small businesses. For some companies, Yelp reviews contribute to their success. For others, negative Yelp reviews have greatly harmed their reputation. Customers are more than ready to speak up and report publicly about their experience with a business, and sometimes this isn’t pretty. For whatever reason, people tend to post bad reviews more than good ones.

Managing Yelp reviews can feel like fighting an uphill battle, but there are things business owners can do to turn things around when those negative reviews appear.

Learn From It

As a business owner, the first thing you should do when your company receives negative Yelp reviews is to learn from it. Before you get angry and start typing to defend the business, take a moment to appreciate the fact that you’re getting a sense of the public’s opinion of your company. If they’re complaining about a server, perhaps you should be observing that server more closely. If they’re pointing out that your place is dirty, it may be because you actually have a problem. Customers won’t usually complain in person, but they have no trouble doing so online. Take this as feedback and use it to improve.

Apologize And Offer Something

If an actual customer has been to your business, had a bad experience, and left a negative Yelp review on your page, the best thing you can do is to reply with a well-written apology and an explanation that hard work will be put in to improve the mistake. Business owners can respond publicly or privately to a user on Yelp, but many of them choose to do so publicly so that other readers can see that they haven’t ignored the poster, and that they care about their customers’ experience. Some business owners offer a free meal, drink, dessert, or discount to win back the customer’s approval. Very often, this gives the customer who left the negative Yelp review incentive to edit their review to be more positive.

Report Reviews That Violate Yelp’s Guidelines

Many times, a negative Yelp review for a business is left by a user that hasn’t even been to the business that they’re complaining about. These false reviews can be left by competitors, bots, or third party services. If you’ve received a negative Yelp review that violates the Yelp content guidelines, the best thing to do is to flag the review and report the user to Yelp’s admin through the Yelp Business platform ( Explain why you’re suspicious and send them the link to the user’s review so that they can see it. If the review goes against Yelp’s guidelines, they typically remove it.

Encourage Happy Customers To Leave Reviews

The key word here is encourage. You shouldn’t come right out and ask a customer to leave a positive review (Yelp frowns on this). What you can do is display a “Find Us On Yelp” sticker in your business so that people will be reminded to leave reviews. And if a customer compliments your product, food, or services, you can reply with something along the lines of, “We’re so happy you’ve had a good experience! Perhaps you can leave us a review.”

Bonus Tip: Always Have Great Photos

Many Yelp users bypass reviews altogether and only concentrate on the photos a business displays. For this reason, it’s very important to have professional-looking photos promoting your business, as well as nice photos of smiling employees to combat any negative Yelp reviews about the staff. Hopefully you’ll have both good reviews and great photos, but having great photos will only help!

At Alecan Marketing, we use the most effective strategies to help businesses stand out from their competitors. When it comes to combatting negative Yelp reviews, these are the best practices. For more information on our marketing services and digital strategies, contact Alecan Marketing Solutions today.