Yelp reviews: How to overcome the bad business review in four steps By Tania Stadnik September 22, 2015
Small-business owners work hard to build a brand reputation and get their business steadily off the ground. But what happens when a customer has a bad experience and vents in an online review forum like Yelp? Negative reviews don’t signify the end of your business. Learn how to respond to your critics and seek out positive reviews with these four tips.
When you’re notified of a bad business review, keep your cool. Take time to think about what was said and why the customer may be upset, whether you think they’re justified or not. Treat the situation as you would an in-person conversation, and follow your set customer-service processes. Even if the reviewer is completely off base, avoid the temptation to respond irrationally and immediately. Craft a response and have others review it before you post anything live.
When you (or another member of your team) is ready to respond to a review, do so professionally. On Yelp, you can choose to respond publicly or privately to a user. Do so at your discretion. When responding to a negative review, apologize and offer a solution to the client, and do it publicly so others can see that you care about your service quality. If you need more information from a reviewer, or need to discuss confidential information, respond privately to respect their privacy.
Consider appointing a member of your team to monitor Yelp reviews, and other online or social media sites for you. This way, one person is responsible for all online forms of customer service, and both positive and negative comments can be responded to in a timely and consistent manner. By being proactive in reading and responding to reviews you’ll not only learn how customers see you and the areas that may need enhancement, but it also shows clients that you care enough about your business to engage with them.
The best way to seek out positive online reviews is to proactively engage with your customers. Add a button on your website, email signature and e-newsletter that links directly to your Yelp page. If clients leave positive reviews using Facebook or Twitter, reply to them with your Yelp URL and ask them to share their experience. If you have a positive transaction with a customer in-house, ask them to consider leaving a review online. If friends and family are part of your clientele, ask them to post a review after one of their recent transactions. Similarly, if you have vendors that you do business with, ask them to leave a review, not as a customer, but as a company that you liaise with.
To avoid bad business reviews before they happen, start at home. Did a customer have a bad experience at your location? Mitigate the issue on-site before in makes its way online. Never let a client walk away unhappy; resolve the issue immediately and turn their poor experience into a positive one. Further, never pay or offer rewards for positive reviews. Not only does this hinder your integrity, but can also run the risk of getting your business banned from Yelp.
Make monitoring and responding to Yelp reviews (and other online comments) a regular part of your business practice. Invest ongoing time and effort into your online brand reputation; you won’t go from zero to 100 positive reviews in one day. However, if you reply to comments regularly and implement solutions to mitigate the negative feedback, you’ll be respected by your clientele and less likely to receive bad reviews in the future.See also:
About the author:
Tania Stadnik is Marketing Director at iCapital Canada, a hassle-free and flexible financing solution for Canadian small businesses. The company, which is committed to being Canada’s most reliable and responsive loan-alternative provider, frequently publishes articles relating to small business finance.