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The Yelp Effect: How to Deal With Negative Reviews

by Lee Evans  |  
December 22, 2016
  |  2,060 views

All businesses are on Yelp—whether they like it or not. And, true, managing your Yelp page can be quite the headache, but it can also be an excellent platform for reaching potential customers and gaining new ones.

Of course, negative reviews on Yelp are a concern. There are a few things, however, that you can do to mitigate the damage of a bad review without spending too much time.

First of all, though, don't necessarily take these reviews at face value, since a good number of them could well be fake. In fact, the occurrence of fake online reviews led one reporter to create a fake company called Freakin' Awesome Karaoke Express (FAKE), merely based on paid social reviews. The company's popularity grew quickly, even though it did not exist.

The other side of the coin is the very real, emotionally charged negative review. For many, the motivation to review a company comes from an extreme experience, most often when they feel as if they did not get their money's worth.

Dealing with such reviews is tough, but the first step is not to take any of them personally; receiving a negative Yelp review from time to time is inevitable.


Use Yelp's Tools

Though bad reviews can reflect poorly on your company and detract from you efforts to gain new customers, you can mitigate the "Yelp effect" by using the tools the platform provides:

  • If a negative review violates Yelp's guidelines, it can be reported and taken down. That doesn't happen too often, but if a review contains profanity or looks like it might be fake, report it and let Yelp deal with it. If you need help figuring out how to, and if you should report a review, read Yelp's FAQ. If you can't get the review taken down, see the next steps.
  • Yelp allows you to reply to reviews, offering you an opportunity to make amends with unhappy customers. Offering a solution for a negative reviewer might result in having the user replace the negative comment with a positive one. Moreover, making an attempt to make amends show that your company cares about its customers.

    Even if the customer responds in an angry and stubborn tone, their complaints may be disregarded by other readers. Why? Because you, as a representative of the company, acted kindly and were willing to help solve the customer's problem online. The key is that the customer was heard.

Responding to Negative Yelp Reviews


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Lee Evans is a co-founder and the CEO of SurveyMe, provider of a mobile feedback and survey app.

LinkedIn: Lee Evans

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  • by Bill Lennan Thu Dec 22, 2016 via web

    The other big area to keep in mind when responding to reviews is the optics to other people.

    We want happy customers - but we also want to show anyone who looks at the review how much the business cares.

    Showing that the business cares is just as important as converting a single frustrated customer.

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