How to Properly Handle Negative Yelp Reviews
How a business responds to a negative review on Yelp has the power to influence the way consumers perceive the company and even impact their purchasing decisions. However, not just any reply will suffice. When responding to a negative review on Yelp, it is critical to strike a balance between satisfying the reviewer and representing your company in a positive light.
Here are 4 steps to help you properly handle a negative Yelp review:
1. Read the Review
The first thing you should do is read the negative review very carefully to gather important details that will help you decide how to appropriately respond.
2. Investigate the Review’s Claims
Once you’ve read the review carefully, look into the details discussed in the post to determine the best way to handle the situation. Here are some questions to consider when investigating the credibility of a Yelp review:
Do you have record of the reviewer as a customer?
If you have proof that the reviewer was never a customer, you can work with a Yelp representative to flag the review and have the post filtered or removed. A Yelp review can also be flagged if it contains inaccurate information. To dispute a review, provide a Yelp representative with as much relevant information as possible.
Does the review identify specific employees?
If the Yelper mentions a specific staff member, it is important to discuss the situation with the employee before responding. There may be more to the story than what is posted, and it is important to be fully informed.
How active is the Yelp user?
Not all Yelp reviewers are created equal. If a reviewer does not have a big following or a long history, their credibility will not hold as much weight in the Yelp community. Regardless, it is important to follow-up with a response in a timely, professional manner.
3. Respond to the Negative Yelp Review
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to write a response to the negative review. When replying, the goal is to be sympathetic toward the reviewer, while also posing your business in a positive light. Use the customer’s dissatisfaction as a way to show professionalism in how you resolve the conflict. It’s critical to remember that you are not just writing to that one person. Acting defensive or arguing with the reviewer could belittle your professionalism and reflect poorly on the company. Other Yelpers visiting your page will likely be impressed with your quality customer service and compassion in spite of a nasty review.
Here’s an example of a proper response to a negative review:
Sample Negative Review:
“I would not recommend this business to anyone. The service was fine, but when I went to pay my bill I learned my insurance would not be accepted, even though I was assured that my procedure would be covered before my appointment. Unacceptable. Avoid this business at all costs!” -John Smith
We are very sorry to hear that your recent experience was not satisfactory. Thank you for bringing this to our attention, as we consider your input extremely valuable. Here at [insert business], we value comprehensive care and quality customer service. We will look into your billing records immediately and do our best to address this issue as quickly as possible. Please call [Stephanie] from our billing office at xxx-xxx-xxxx at your earliest convenience so we can assist you with this matter and with any other concerns you may have. We hope to hear from you soon.
4. Prevent the Situation from Escalating
Responding to a negative review within 24 hours is one way to prevent the situation from escalating. A timely response shows your concern and emphasizes quality customer service. However, if you suspect a reviewer is not going to react well to any response, you may consider sending them a private message. Encourage the Yelper to contact your business directly, this allows the situation to be resolved offline.