Responding to negative reviews on Yelp

Will Responding to Yelp Reviews Help?

The answer is…Yes!  You are going to get negative reviews on Yelp, everyone does. It’s become an unfortunate part of running your business. Some of them will be from people who (unfortunately) had real concerns. Others will be fakes by trolls, competitors, or those people just looking to extort you. This happens to all businesses, but if you know how to respond to reviews on Yelp, you may be able to get some reviewers to change their reviews, transform some of them into advocates for your business, and you may even be alerted to issues that could seriously affect your bottom line if left unaddressed. For now, let’s discuss how to respond to Reviews on Yelp.

How to Respond to Reviews on Yelp

Before you can respond, you need to claim your Yelp account (it’s free and you can do it here). It is the only way to get some control over your listing.

Understand that this will be a time-consuming task. There should be someone at your business who is tasked with logging in daily or bi-weekly to address reviews.

There are a few things you can do to make your Yelp responses a bit more effective and increase your chances of having a Yelper update his or her review.


1. Take your Time

I know you’re hurt, you’re angry, you’re confused about what to do. You want to grab that Yelper by the throat and choke them until they eat their words. This won’t help (and probably will land you in jail). Close up Yelp, grab a glass of chamomile tea, and calm your nerves. Remember that responding with angry words will only give validity to the person who left the negative review. Never stoop to their level. Take a day or two before you respond. You don’t want to come off like Amy’s Baking Company. You always want to sound cool and collected. Ranting will only make you seem like an emotional wreck and this will reflect upon your business.

2. Get the Facts 

Read the review. See if you can figure out what day the reviewer came to your business. Speak with your staff and try to get as much information as you can. If it was a customer service issue, keep in mind that your team may try to cover up. We’re not saying not to trust your team, just to keep an open mind. What state of mind was the Yelper in when they wrote the review. All this information will help you to come up with your response.

3. Private  vs Public Response 

This depends on the situation. If the complaint is something simple and fixable, make it public. If the review deals with something sensitive, make your response private and try to take it off the platform.

4. Start With a Thank You 

I know you are upset, but this will not only make you look classy, it will also disarm the reviewer. It shows that you care for them, their opinion and your business. “Thank you for taking the time to share your opinion with the Yelp community. It is through your feedback that we can become a better business.”

5. Address The Criticism 

By addressing the criticism up front, it shows that you actually read the review and that you value the reviewer’s opinion. Do your best to get more information from the reviewer if the information was not given in the review. This shows them that you are willing and wanting to correct the issue. ***Look for patterns here, sometimes reviews can be quite helpful in finding negative patterns in a business such as a rude employee, or lack of features.


6. Be Honest 

Sometimes things go awry. If the reviewer is addressing a valid issue, acknowledge this and plainly state how you plan to rectify the situation for future clients. Something simple, like “We aim to make all our client’s experiences perfect. Thank you for bringing this issue to my attention. I have spoken with the employee who assisted you so that this does not occur in the future.” Another useful response can be: “CustomerName, I am sad to hear that you did not enjoy the tart. It is one of our most popular dishes, but maybe you caught us on an off day. I will make sure to taste through them when I get in today so I can make sure that was a one time issue.”

7. The Finish

This is your final chance to make amends, gain back that customer, and hopefully, have them update their review. Try something simple: “Next time you drop by, please ask for me so that I can make sure you receive the service I wish for all of our customers. Thanks again for your feedback”.


1. Flag it: 

Yelp allows businesses to flag reviews if they violate their Content Guidelines (the following comes directly from the Yelp website)

     Inappropriate content: threats, harassment, lewdness, hate speech, and other displays of bigotry.
     Conflicts of interest: Your contributions should be unbiased and objective. A review by a competitor would fit into this category.
     Privacy: Yelpers are not allowed to publicize other people’s private info including photos w/o permission.
     Personal experience: They can’t write reviews about someone else’s experiences.

How to Counteract Yelp

A great way to counteract Yelp is to be active on social media. Think of each social media site as its own mini search engine all of which allow you to control a bit of your message. For example, tourists will hop on Instagram and explore either locations or hashtags to discover new things. If you’re active, you give yourself a higher chance to be discovered.

How to Manage Social Media

Socialdraft is an all-in-one Social Media Dashboard. It is the most robust and simple tool for agencies and teams to effectively handle social media. With Socialdraft you can:

Schedule posts to Facebook pages, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn Business Pages, and Pinterest
Schedule posts individually, as recurring posts, or bulk upload them as CSV
Easily re-schedule with a drag & drop action
Schedule GIFs to Facebook and Twitter
Download content calendars as PDF
Keep an eye on your online reputation and easily share the good news to social
Find content on Instagram and easily schedule reposts not just to Instagram but to all other social networks
Engage on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin
Download reports for Facebook and Twitter
and tons more…

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