Customer reviews can be very influential when it comes to the growth of a business, and for some reason people read the negative ones first. Add the knowledge that 90% of the people who visit Yelp are just subconsciously looking for a reason not to bother. In other words, a negative comment can have a deep ripple effect. Here are some tips for responding to negative Yelp reviews.
Keeping calm should be your first response, because if someone is attacking your business it’s going to trigger emotions. The last thing you want to do is get personal in front of a big audience. Also take the time to read the review word for word. Studies show people typically rush through a paragraph and only take in the highlights. You want to have complete clarity on the situation before giving your reply.
The next step is to research the review and see whether it holds any substance. Maybe the reviewer overreacted or your business really did mess up, which is going to play a big part regarding the apology. It will also help to research the reviewer if it’s possible. If he/she has a reputation for being critical then it’s going to count in your favor. Unfortunately most reviewers prefer to stay anonymous, so this option might not always be possible.
Regardless of whether the reviewer is right, your response should come through as understanding and sophisticated. If the problem really was on your end then simply apologize and assure everyone that the issue has been handled. You also want everyone to know that it won’t happen again.
However, if the problem is on the reviewer’s side then apologize in a different manner. For example, start the message with “I’m sorry you feel that way…” With respect to the reviewer you can defend your point of view using the research you did. Always remember that a large audience will be reading your response. Getting personal with the reviewer is only going to scare potential customers away.
Yes, a negative review can be devastating, but if handled correctly it won’t have such a dramatic effect. People can look past one or two issues if they know the business owner won’t stand to let it happen again.
In the case of a negative review on Yelp it doesn’t really matter who’s wrong or right. It’s all about how you approach the matter.