How To Respond To A Negative Yelp Review & Tips For General Responses
For a business, managing any negative Yelp review means RESPONDING to any negative Yelp review. You should have a protocol to know how to respond to a negative Yelp review, but there are two approaches you should always take.
If you do both of these all of the time, it is likely to help your Yelp presence greatly (and eventually help your business).
How To Respond To A Negative Yelp Review
Always Be Timely
Today, people expect a business to reply back to a negative Yelp review within 24 hours of posting.¹ How does your business stack up against this expectation?
With some planning and preparation, it’s not difficult to achieve this critical part of Yelp review management. Schedule time to check your reviews regularly and you should be set.
If you don’t have the time yourself, then consider delegating this responsibility to trusted employees and/or consultants.
Always Be Kind
Being kind doesn’t mean being a pushover. It just means dismissing the temptation to throw things back in people’s faces and stooping to their level if they’ve been petty or unfair in their review.
Determine to always show:
Solutions to the problem
We’ll use auto repair as an example.
“If you’d have shown up on time for your appointment, we wouldn’t have taken as long with your car’s brake job.”
The above is not the right response if you’re trying to be kind to Mallory, a customer who waited in the lobby with a screaming toddler for longer than expected because she showed up late for a brake service appointment. She rated her the auto repair shop 2 stars and specifically named the wait as her biggest complaint.
First, the auto shop should respond on Yelp as soon as the team spots the review. And the response should be kind, unlike the bad example above.
Check this out instead:
“We are so sorry your experience was less than satisfactory, Mallory. We don’t want our customers to wait for extremely long periods for their cars, which is why we work hard to honor our appointments by taking care of them on-time. This is a big priority for our customers as well. Our current process is to hold an appointment for 10-minutes before we take the next customer.
“If you are delayed more than 10 minutes, we treat you as one of one of our walk-in customers and take care of your vehicle on a first come first serve basis. We are very sorry for the inconvenience on this occasion and hope you understand our reasoning for being punctual about our process. In the future, we’d suggest that if you are running late for your appointment, please give us a call and we’ll try our best to accommodate you.”
Customers know that unexpected things happen every day in business, and the above response shows a humble and positive attitude on your part while thoroughly explaining your appointment process and your reasoning for having such a process.
Chances are that Mallory will see your response and acknowledge that you’re showing a good-faith effort to keep her business. If she responds positively to your answer, you stand a good chance that she’ll come back for a second try.
Once a customer’s feedback has been acknowledged and possibly rectified, ask them to consider editing their old review to reflect the mended relationship and/or delete their original review completely. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to do this once their concerns have been met.
1. Remember that this is your opportunity to make things right. A negative review isn’t a death sentence for your relationship with that customer.
If a customer brought a complaint to you in person, you would try to make it right. The same goes here—despite the impersonal nature of online reviews, it’s not over just yet. You can turn this situation around!
2. Remember that replying to a reviewer is also replying to the public and your prospects. Any time you reply to a review in a public forum, you’re not replying to just the one reviewer.
You’re speaking to everyone who reads the review and your response, including potential future customers.
Just like in our response to Mallory above, a response that politely explains your policies shows the reviewer AND your prospects that you care about your customers’ schedules and you work to complete appointments on time.
It shows you aren’t shady or neglectful and have taken steps to ensure this problem won’t happen to the next customer. Prospects who see this will be eager to do business with you because you’re exhibiting what they’re looking for on Yelp – great customer service, professionalism and reliability.
3. Remember to move quickly and resolve a negative review ASAP. Talk to your team about what happened. Get all the details you can and respond accurately.
Some steps to follow:
- Apologize and thank the reviewer.
- Stay calm and as pleasant as possible.
- Take the conversation offline (handle further discussion with a phone call).
How To Respond To A Negative Yelp Review: Silver Lining
On the bright side, a negative Yelp review can shed some light on a problem employee or a process that isn’t working as well as you had hoped, and provides insights you need to correct that issue.
Independent review platforms such as Yelp aren’t going away any time soon, so it’s important that you use negative reviews as an opportunity to improve your business.
Marketing Smarter on Yelp
So you’ve got the basics down on review management. Ready to make your Yelp profile work smarter for your business?
A large part of monetizing Yelp and getting new customers from the platform comes from making your Yelp business profile bulletproof. Get expert tips below!
¹Source: Local Search Association Insider