5 Ways to Combat Negative Reviews on Yelp

You’re going out with a bunch of friends and you are looking for a place to eat after a long game of softball. You whip out your smartphone and search for nearby restaurants. You find a couple of suggestions that you run by your buddies and the first thing they ask is, “what do people say about them?” In other words, people are already programmed to weed out the establishments with the weaker ratings.

It’s a love-hate relationship. As a business owner, every positive review, you feel like patting yourself on the back, but you will agonize and get yourself upset for each negative post. This just happened to a new client of mine and he was very upset about it. It seems that when people have negative things to say, they seem to go right to “Yelp”. Negative reviews affect a business’s overall “star” rating and this is the first thing Yelp users see next to your listing. As an avid social media moderator, I know firsthand that what customers have to say about your business, can influence others. Good reviews bring in new business. Bad reviews could keep potential and existing customers away. It happens to many businesses, but Yelp is going to be around for the long haul, so I thought it would be nice to suggest some ways that I help businesses combat their negative reviews. Enjoy.


Own your Yelp. It’s very important to “claim this business,” on Yelp. By doing so, you’ll be able to respond to reviewers, or “Yelpers,” who have given you a weak rating in a public forum so that future visitors can see that you’re working to amend any issues.
  2. Fix it and research. After learning about the situation, it is important to fix the issues both internally and externally whenever possible. Here is an example, a client was very unhappy with a pizza delivery, and had called the establishment to complain. Your management staff had done its best to rectify the situation, but it still does not mean that the client will not speak about their experience online, or on social media. Make sure that after you fix the issues internally, it is important that you research a bit externally online, to make sure that the person complaining is well taken care of as well on social media platforms as well.
  3. Flag any false reviews. False reviews are not permitted by Yelp and can be flagged for removal. A false review can be a post that is hearsay or even one that is misleading.
  4. Get the most out of Yelp. As a business owner you can subscribe to an array of tools on Yelp that can help bring more customers through the door. With more Yelpers utilizing your products and services, this creates an opportunity to boost your overall rating. You can also partner with Yelp to participate in events where the majority of those attending are active on Yelp. Put on your best efforts forwards and watch your Yelp rating grow over time.
  5. Create a social following. Build your reputation through other social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram. If your business can build a community and establish itself within local social groups, active Yelpers are more than likely to be lenient and go a little easier on negative reviews.

pc-leafPeggy Hiemer is one of the content team managers at Apple Pie Design. Follow her team on Facebook and on Twitter