How to Properly Handle Negative Yelp Reviews

4 Steps to Respond to 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

Sample Response:

Dear John,

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.

Send this to friend


*By downloading the Insight, The Art of Tweeting you are also joining our newsletter.

Power Your Brand
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
* By downloading our insights, you are also joining our newsletter.
Power Your Brand
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
* By downloading our insights, you are also joining our newsletter.
Power Your Brand
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
* By downloading our insights, you are also joining our newsletter.
Power Your Brand
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
* By downloading our insights, you are also joining our newsletter.
Start Making Headlines Today!
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
* By getting the discount code, you are also joining our newsletter.
Sign up to receive 25% off
your first news release
distribution through PR Web.
Our phones are temporarily unavailable. Yes we paid the bill, no it's not the Russians. To contact us,please send
an email to
Phones Temporarily Down
Call Us Today:
Social media
Call Us Today:
Get our crisis management toolkit delivered to your inbox now

    Jonathan Balog
    Chief Communications Officer,
    Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake
    On The Marc Media has been instrumental in helping Goodwill elevate our mission and programs to new heights. Their exceptional work in recently launching our new adult high school in Baltimore stands as a testament to their unparalleled expertise in public relations. They didn't just secure interviews; they opened doors to influential national, local, trade, and podcast platforms, ensuring our message resonated far and wide. Their deep understanding of our mission, strategic PR approach, and storytelling is an enormous asset. Their team is responsive, creative and quick to adapt to changing circumstances. I’d wholeheartedly recommend them to any organization seeking a dedicated, results-driven PR partner.
    Kenny Kelley
    Founder, Silent Beacon
    As the founder of Silent Beacon, I've had the privilege of working with numerous partners and teams, but my experience with On The Marc Media has been unparalleled From the moment we began, it was clear that they were not just another PR firm; they were a group of passionate storytellers ready to dive deep into the essence of our business. Understanding the intricacies of a product like Silent Beacon is no small feat, yet the team at On The Marc Media grasped our mission and functionality faster than I could have ever expected. Their ability to digest complex information and turn it into compelling narratives is simply astounding. But what's most impressive is how they've managed to get our story in front of the right eyes. The news hits we've received have been spot-on, aligning perfectly with our target audience and business goals. It's clear they have a robust network and know exactly how to leverage it to benefit their clients. I can say, without a doubt, that On The Marc Media has been instrumental in amplifying our brand and propelling our business forward. Their expertise in public relations is evident in the quality and quantity of attention Silent Beacon has received. If you're looking for a PR team that will take the time to understand your business, craft a tailored strategy, and deliver exceptional results, look no further than On The Marc Media.
    Greg Maybaum
    Founder, Greg Maybaum Real Estate Closings
    I’ve been a pioneer and innovator among New York City closing attorneys for 35 years, but my branding needed a skillful refresh to reflect my experience, and I needed someone to transform my website into a tool that would help me prequalify prospects so I could make better use of my time serving upscale clients. On The Marc Media did an amazing job for me on both of those objectives. They reinvented my brand and created a style guide to ensure that my positioning, messaging and graphic design remains consistent going forward. And they not only changed the look and functionality of my website, they turned it into a semi-automated sales funnel that includes a detailed questionnaire that enables me to instantly understand the goals of each prospective client. On The Marc Media really cares. They have the marketing expertise to deliver incredible results and they’re continually evaluating their strategy to see where greater opportunities might exist. I highly recommend working with this team!
    Kimberly Wehle
    Professor, University of Baltimore School of Law
    Pro-active, media savvy, and extremely knowledgeable, On The Marc Media knows their stuff when it comes to PR. I’d heard that they were well connected and one of the best in the business. And after working with them, I can attest to that. Their team landed me dozens of media interviews, including several national appearances in record time.
    Dr. Dale Isaacson
    Doctor, DC Derm Docs
    As specialists in both cosmetic and general medical dermatology, we’ve devoted our practice to helping clients get the healthy body and appearance they need to lead happy lives. We’re also a business that needs expert marketing to let potential clients know we’re here to help them. On The Marc Media built a fantastic social media presence for us on all the right platforms and provided lots of sticky, eye-catching content to grow our following. They got us high-profile coverage in TV, print and online media. And they transformed our website from a static brochure to a business-boosting lead generator. They’ve also helped us use email marketing to keep our expertise and new treatments top-of-mind with prospective and existing clients. If you want your social media and marketing to glow like our clients’ faces, reach out to On The Marc Media!
    Diana Pohlman
    Founder, P.A.N.D.A.S. Network
    On The Marc Media helped us craft a compelling story and acquire critical media coverage that has exponentially raised awareness about P.A.N.D.A.S. across the nation. Their dedicated and professional team will bend over backwards to tell your story and make sure it is heard. Above all else, On The Marc Media shared our compassion and passion for the P.A.N.D.A.S. cause, which made them feel like real partners with a genuine desire to achieve our goals with us.
    Jason Smolen
    Co-Founding Principal, SmolenPlevy
    Marc Silverstein and On The Marc Media have ably represented SmolenPlevy these past years. The firm's needs are diverse ranging from marketing to public relations. Marc consistently develops a solution that is right for the target audience and within budget, assisting our firm in getting out the news of its reputation as a go-to law firm. Marc is highly regarded and highly recommended.
    Laurie Brunner
    Mainstream Management, LLC
    On The Marc Media has helped us entirely rebrand our business with market research and an integrated communications strategy. They've also increased our social media following on Facebook by 405% in just 6 months. On The Marc Media's hands-on approach sets them apart from other public relations and marketing companies, as they consistently go above and beyond to serve our needs—and in every instance have exceeded our objectives. They are true partners with my company, and we consider them a valuable extension of our team.
    Robin Wiener
    President & Founding Partner, Get Real Health
    We've been a proud client of On The Marc Media since 2011. They are a one-of-a-kind PR company. The OTMM team has a great balance of experience in front of the camera and behind it, and are a powerhouse as it relates to social media. We've seen all our marketing objectives and goals met because of our collaboration with OTMM. I would highly recommend them anytime, anyplace!
    VP of Communications, Dedalus Healthcare
    I cannot speak highly enough of On The Marc Media's exceptional partnership with Dedalus Healthcare. Their dedication, hard work, and unwavering commitment to our success have been instrumental in our journey. On The Marc Media not only understood our business goals but also helped us design a comprehensive strategy that perfectly aligned with our objectives.

    Their ability to adapt and remain nimble in a constantly changing landscape has been a game-changer for us. From social media management to media pitching, they have consistently demonstrated their expertise and determination to deliver real results. On The Marc Media truly embodies the essence of a trusted partner.