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Learning from Negative Yelp Reviews: Keep Calm and Carry On

Social Sonar - Wednesday, October 17, 2012

surveyEveryone has an opinion, and people certainly aren't afraid to express them, especially on sites like Yelp. In fact, Yelp rewards some reviewers with elite status, which gives yelpers access to private parties and events. Yelp encourages reviews and highlights small business on their 78-million-monthly-unique-visitors site, however, negative feedback can affect potential consumers.

How can a small business turn negative Yelp feedback into something positive? Well let's start by suggesting you take a moment and walk away from your computer. After all, this is your business, and you've worked hard to create excellent relationships with your consumers. It would be unrealistic for anyone to say that you shouldn't get a bit angry or upset.

Once you've taken a few moments begin to read the reviews, ask yourself, "Do I see a pattern?" Are consumers upset about how quickly service was provided? Are they upset that a purchased item did not meet their expectations? Did the consumer feel they were met with rude behavior?

This is a perfect time to examine how you can improve as a business. If service is the consistent issue, think about hiring a few more employees to ensure your team isn't overwhelmed. Why not take this opportunity to talk to your team about the issues that have been brought up?

  1. Ask staff if they feel this has been a consistent problem.
    It's likely your customers aren't the only ones frustrated with a recurring issue.
  2. Start to troubleshoot.
    What are some reasons this issue is occurring?
  3. Ask for staff feedback.
    They work there too, and want the business to succeed. Many large companies like Google rely on people directly in contact with the customer in order to come up with ideas.
  4. Remain objective.
    Remember, objectivity is key in turning a negative into a positive. Seeing the issue from an outsider's perspective will enable you to come up with a solution.

Now that you've addressed the issues internally, and hopefully found solutions, it's time to reach out to the Yelp reviewer. Addressing the negative talking points the reviewer has indicated on their post is the best way to respond. Be courteous and thank them for their feedback. The consumer will be happy to know that you listened to them and will hopefully end up with a more positive opinion of your business.

Remember that negative feedback can be a good thing when taken constructively. It will improve your business and allow you to connect with consumers.

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