Photo by Yel, Inc.
Reviews can make or break any business, no matter if it is a large or small business. One of the most popular reviews sites is Yelp, where customers can leave a rating based on their experiences. The reviews left by former customers can help influence other people. Good reviews will bring you additional customers, but those negative reviews can scare away potential customers.
Negative reviews bring down your overall rating, and all Yelp users can see the overall rating as well as each individual review. If a potential customer is trying to decide which restaurant to visit, they may decide to check their Yelp app to check out the nearby restaurants. They will find a few local ones with the highest ratings, then check out the most recent reviews. If the most recent reviews are negative, they are likely to opt for another restaurant with no recent negative reviews.
Yelp and other popular review websites are here for the long run. Many people depend on them to help make decisions. However, there are ways for business owners to protect themselves, here are some ideas:
- Be Proactive About Reviews
There aren’t many ways to get negative reviews removed, but being proactive about your Yelp account is a great tactic. Claim your business so you can respond to reviews. They want to see companies that respond to negative reviews. Offer incentives to customers who place reviews on Yelp; they may get a free appetizer or a discount on their next purchase.
Also, use social media to encourage customers to write reviews on Yelp and on social media. Offer the same or different incentives. Your goal should be to bury the bad reviews with mounds of great reviews. Yelp users are more likely to visit your business if they see an overwhelming amount of positive reviews and a small number of negatives.
- Ask the Customer to Remove the Review
This is the easiest, but also the hardest, way to get negative reviews removed. When addressing the customer, try to do it by phone or email and be as polite as possible. Place a comment on the review asking them to contact you. The goal is to try to find a way to fix or resolve the problem. If you can find a way to fix the problem and they are satisfied, ask them to either remove or modify their review letting other Yelp users know you did your best to resolve the issue.
- Violating Terms of Service
Yelp doesn’t allow reviews containing personal attacks, derogatory, or attacks based on a disability, race, ethnicity, religion or other factors. If a customer calls your customer a harsh name or makes a defamatory remark, you can report the review as a violation of TOS. Also, any foul language can be a reason for removal.
- Point out the Truth
If a customer makes a false accusation, politely correct them. For example, if they claim that your business uses a certain product, kindly correct them and link to the product you do use. Most Yelp viewers are going to notice a company who takes the time to comment and understand the reviewer is making false claims.
- Involve a Lawyer
Although rare, there are times when someone may try to damage your business with repeatedly posting negative reviews. It could be an employee you fired or simply a person with a grudge. In these circumstances, it may be helpful to employ the use of an attorney who understands internet law. There are ways to ensure this person can do no further damage to your reputation. Also, if you find that this person is trying to harm your business purposefully, there may be ways to get the negative reviews removed.