Negative reviews on Yelp are not bad. A healthy mix of both positive and negative reviews builds trust in a way that a perfect record can’t. Some business owners may even post fake positive reviews. Potential customers often look specifically for negative reviews to check out what kind of problems a company has, and more importantly, how that company responds. Your response to these not-so-great reviews shows how your business interacts with customers.
If you never respond to negative reviews, other potential customers may just assume that what was said it true. And you certainly don’t want that. You want readers to see that you take customer satisfaction seriously, and you value your business.
Occasionally a review might violate Yelp’s terms of service, and in that case you can flag it for the support team to evaluate.
Never respond in anger to negative reviews, even if they are way off base. Some negative reviews on Yelp are rude, offensive and downright callous. If you answer in a hostile manner, it sends a message to customers to steer clear of your establishment. Never insult the customer—even if they insulted you. Avoid making excuses. Yes, there are some who will write insanely offensive comments, but just remain diplomatic and poised. Even with the comments that are over the top.
Acknowledge the comment and respond
Responding to both positive and negative reviews show customers that you care. Offer a solution in response to a negative review, or reach out to that person and offer them 20% off their next meal or service. Ask for suggestions on how you can improve and make things right. Apologise for failing to meet the customer’s expectations. You can also defend your company without sounding aggressive. Point out your company’s goals and expectations. Strive to maintain a positive image in your response.
A well thought out response could possibly gain back the business of that customer that originally left the negative comment.
Yelp gives you the option of sending either a private message, or posting a public response which will be visible to any Yelp user. Keep your response short and to the point. The quicker you respond to these comments, the better. It shows you are timely and effective.
Remain polite and professional
Stay diligent and use proper grammar and punctuation. Your response will reflect on your business, so keep your tone friendly and polite. Avoid sending a response that sounds automated and bland. Customers will pick up on this and it will affect their opinions of your company. Your response should be specific—make it clear that you read the original negative comment carefully.
Learn from the review
Sometimes a negative review may have some truth to it. No one wants problems within their restaurant or business, but no one is perfect. There may be something within the review that could help improve your operations. Perhaps a customer experienced cold coffee or slow service. Take their concerns and address those areas within your business. By fixing areas of concern, you will make your customers much happier. Don’t shake off every negative comment, just the preposterous ones.