Business Owners: What Not to Do with a Bad Yelp Review

Date April 7, 2010

Yelp Business Owner Response

In January I reviewed a local restaurant on Yelp (an easy way to find, review and talk about what’s great – and not so great, in your area). I admit, I wasn’t too thrilled with the service at the time of writing my review. We waited for over a half an hour just for initial service, and in my opinion that goes far beyond ridiculous. So with my review, I laid out the facts. You can see it here, if you like. The business owner logged in today, April, and responded directly to my review with the comment you see above.

This business owner was obviously angry but also doesn’t seem to understand how reviews work. You have to start with good service and good product in order to get a positive response and good reviews. Not everyone is going to have a good experience, or even the same experience. This owner’s comment on my review has only reinforced my service complaints.

If you own a business and someone gives you a bad review, don’t react. You need to respond. Here’s what you need to do. Take a step back and calm down. Once you have your head on straight, take some time to think about what it is this person is really saying in this review. While some people can exaggerate an experience, there’s likely some truth within what this person has written. Take their complaint and see what you can do to improve your product or service for your next patron. At that point, I’d recommend extending a coupon to the person who wrote the review and ask them to come in for an improved experience.

What it comes down to is this, you don’t want to lose customers. Someone can have a bad experience, and as an owner you’re in the business of service. So work on the best customer service that you can. If something went wrong, make it right. Invite the patron back once you’ve got your ducks in order. Make sure to give them a reason to come (discount) and start a conversation that shows you care.

Doing all of this can help to create a raving fan of your business, rather than a lost customer and a review that turns others away from your business. If the owner whose business I reviewed had done this, I’d have gone back to Yelp and written an update saying something along the lines of what they did and “Hey things have changed! I love it now! You should all go!” But no, I’m left with a bad taste in my mouth about this restaurant. Prior to today I still ordered carry out. With this lovely response from the owner, I will no longer be a patron of any kind.

Remember, respond and don’t react.

3 Responses to “Business Owners: What Not to Do with a Bad Yelp Review”

  1. Tweets that mention Business Owners: What Not to Do with a Bad Yelp Review | Kim Fenolio -- said:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kim Fenolio. Kim Fenolio said: Business Owners: What Not to Do with a Bad Yelp Review Or any review! [...]

  2. Mat said:

    I agree with you on responding and not reacting to a bad review, but, as some business owners are complaining about, sometimes these reviews are false and put your business under a negative light.
    Business owners should be prepared to manage this threat. I came across an interesting company here Its name is Propadoo and it focuses only on collecting positive testimonials and streaming them in the social media environment. Businesses can find it a useful tool to fight bad reviews.

  3. Good Idea: How (and Why) to Claim Your Business On | Being Cheryl: Cheryl Harrison said:

    [...] Visit in the future to make changes and track your visits and reviews. Be sure to contact everyone who reviews your business – thank them, let them know you appreciate their opinions and concerns, or try to rectify a negative experience. Just think before you write. [...]

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