If you're running a retail business or consumer-facing business in today's digital world, you know how important customer feedback is.
It's not just a pat on the back or a slap on the wrist. No, sir! It's the lifeblood of your business, shaping your decisions, steering your course, and influencing your success.
And where does this all-important feedback often show up?
You guessed it - Yelp!
Those star ratings and reviews can make or break your business, turning potential customers into loyal fans or sending them running for the hills. So sit tight because in just the next few minutes, we'll dive into the rollercoaster world of Yelp reviews and how to handle them like a champ!
Understanding Concerns about Negative Yelp Reviews
Let's face it, negative Yelp reviews can send chills down any business owner's spine. And why wouldn't they? Your reputation is on the line, and in the age of the internet, word spreads faster than wildfire.
Prospects Read Reviews Before Buying
Look at the table below for search terms for a website that sells direct-to-consumer dental mouthguards. People are searching for reviews about this business. And they are searching for review for your business, too.
But the common worries that plague businesses regarding negative Yelp reviews are many and varied. Some fear the potential loss of customers, others dread the damage to their online reputation. There's also the worry about a single negative review tarnishing years of hard work and dedication. And let's not forget the concern that competitors may be behind those scathing reviews (more about how to report a fake review in a bit).
But here's the real kicker:
The ramifications of NOT addressing these concerns can be far more damaging. Ignoring negative reviews doesn't make them disappear; it simply makes your business appear indifferent to customer feedback.
A bad review left unanswered can create a snowball effect, deterring potential customers who might think you don't care about their experiences.
In the end, it's not just about the negative review itself, but how you handle it that counts.
So, instead of losing sleep over those one-star ratings, let's roll up our sleeves and turn them into opportunities for growth and improvement. It's time to embrace the challenge head-on!
How to Get Bad Yelp Reviews Removed
The semi-bad news is that regardless of whether or not you’re a Yelp advertising customer or not, the only way you can get rid of bad Yelp reviews is if the review itself is inappropriate and violates the Yelp TOS (terms of service), in which case you can report the review to Yelp and it will be reviewed for possible removal.
Here’s the actual process…
Reporting a Review on Yelp for Takedown
Not all reviews are created equal, and sometimes, they may violate Yelp's Content Guidelines. If you come across a review that seems inappropriate or fake, you can report it to Yelp for possible removal.
Here's what constitutes a violation of Yelp's guidelines (you can read more about Yelps guidelines here):
- 1Inappropriate Content: Offensive language, harassment, or hate speech.
- 2Conflicts of Interest: Reviews written by the business owner, employees, or competitors.
- 3Privacy Violations: Sharing private information about individuals without their consent.
If you have a review violating these guidelines on your Yelp profile, follow these steps to report it (you will have to have claimed your page and logged in to report it):
- 1Click on the ellipsis to the right of that review
- 2Choose Report Review in the drop-down menu
- 3Choose a Reason from the drop-down
After you report a review, Yelp's moderators will evaluate it against their guidelines. If it's found to be in violation, it may be removed. But often, they leave reviews in place.
So what can you do if Yelp refuses to take down a bad review?
Other Actions You Should Take
Responding to Negative Reviews
There's an art to responding to negative reviews and mastering it can make all the difference.
A professional, timely response not only shows that you value customer feedback but also that you're committed to resolving issues and improving your services.
It's a golden opportunity to turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal one, and potentially win over others who see your thoughtful response.
When crafting your response, keep these guidelines in mind:
Now, let's look at a case study that perfectly illustrates the power of an appropriate response.
A local café received a scathing review about their slow service during peak hours.
Instead of ignoring the review, the café owner responded promptly. He apologized for the long wait, explained that they were short-staffed that day, and invited the reviewer back for a complimentary meal. This response showed their commitment to customer satisfaction, transparency, and willingness to accept responsibility.
The disgruntled customer revised their review, praising the café for their excellent customer service, and became a regular patron.
Remember, a negative review isn't the end of the world. It's how you respond that counts!
Use AI Chat to Write Review Replies
In the fast-paced world of online reviews, responding swiftly and effectively is essential. This is where Artificial Intelligence (AI) chat can come into play, helping you craft professional, personalized responses in a timely manner. You can use any number of free AI Chat services, including Chat GPT.
Example Prompts You Can Use for AI Chat (i.e., Chat GPT):
Using AI chat to craft professional responses to negative reviews can be as simple as providing the right prompts. Here are a few examples and explanations on how to guide the AI in adopting your preferred tone and style.
Prompt: "AI, draft a response to this negative review: 'The service at your restaurant was extremely slow, and the food was cold when it arrived.' Please write in a polite and empathetic tone."
By specifying the tone as "polite and empathetic," you're instructing the AI to approach the situation with understanding and respect, while remaining professional.
Prompt: "AI, respond to this negative review: 'Your product broke within a week of purchase.' Write in a confident and solution-oriented style."
In this case, you're asking the AI to exude confidence in addressing the issue, focusing on solutions rather than dwelling on the problem.
Prompt: "AI, craft a response to this review: 'I found your staff to be rude and unhelpful.' Use a sincere and apologetic tone."
Here, you're directing the AI to acknowledge the customer's dissatisfaction and offer an apology, conveying sincerity in the response.
Remember, the key is to be explicit about the tone and style you want the AI to adopt in its response. This will help ensure that the AI's output aligns with your brand's voice and values, while effectively addressing the customer's concerns.
Benefits of using AI Chat:
Limitations when using AI Chat to write your responses:
- 1Lack of Human Touch: While AI can mimic human-like responses, it may not fully capture the empathy and understanding a human responder can provide.
- 2Contextual Understanding: AI might miss nuances or misunderstand complex language, leading to potentially inappropriate responses.
AI chat can be a valuable tool for managing your Yelp reviews, but remember, it's a tool, not a replacement for genuine, human interaction. Use it to assist and enhance your response efforts, but always keep the human touch front and center.
Encourage Positive Reviews
Encouraging satisfied customers to leave positive reviews is an excellent way to build your online reputation and attract more customers. Remember, however, Yelp specifically states that you should never ask for reviews (you can read more about that here). So, if you ask for reviews, proceed at your own risk and be discreet. But here are some strategies:
- 1Ask for Reviews: Sometimes, all it takes is a simple request. If a customer expresses satisfaction with your product or service, ask them to share their experience in a review.
- 2Send a Follow-Up Email: After a purchase or service, send a follow-up email thanking the customer and asking them to leave a review. Make sure to include a direct link to your review platform to make it as easy as possible.
- 3Create POP material like table tents, and in-store signage creating awareness about leaving a review.
- 4Use Marketing Automation: With marketing automation, you can provide a simple survey to a customer before prompting them to leave a review. If they respond positively, then, and only then, you can provide them with a link to leave you a review. If they response negatively, that option is not presented to them.
A final word of caution about requesting reviews.
Yelp's heavy-handed algorithm buries many reviews that never see the light of day. Nobody knows precisely what this algorithm is looking for, but I do know if reviews are unnatural, they will be hidden and not shown.
For example, if too many reviews come in too quickly or at a pace that is unnatural, they will likely be flagged and not shown.
If Yelp can't confirm if the person actually was at the location, the review might not be shown.
There are hundreds of reasons why reviews will not be shown. So, proceed with caution and at your own risk of encouraging reviews. Often the best course of action is to ensure you have great customer service and a great product to start with. And use your reviews as feedback to improve.
Let me know what your experience has been with Yelp reviews in the comments below.