It’s now easier than ever for customers to see what others are saying about the businesses they are planning to visit. Your customers trust the opinions and thoughts of other members of their community and take them into account when deciding whether or not to give you their business. Because of this, it’s important to monitor and manage what customers are saying about you on review sites like Yelp.

Regardless of how hard you try to keep every customer satisfied, chances are, at some point, you may experience a bad Yelp review. What’s the best way to respond when you see a less-than-stellar assessment by one of your customers?


Stay calm.

When customers are looking up reviews on your business, most of the time, they won’t base their opinion on one negative review. If the majority of your ratings are in the higher range, they will most likely take the majority opinion as truth. Bad reviews should be addressed and handled, but don’t give them more weight than they deserve.


Should I respond to a bad Yelp review?

When you give a public response to a bad review, it shows your customers that you care about their feedback, that you are engaged with them, and that you take their concerns seriously. While it may be tempting to ignore a bad review and hope it fades into the background, your proactive response may actually shine a positive light on your business in the end.


How should I respond to a bad review?


  • Remain professional. If a customer is taking the time to leave a review on a site like Yelp, you can assume that they are most likely strong-willed and opinionated. It may be tempting to defend yourself against their claims, especially if you don’t agree with what they are saying. In your response, do not fall into an argument with the customer. Follow the same guidelines and procedures you would if you were dealing with them face-to-face.
  • Offer a solution. Try your best to offer a solution to your customer in response to their complaint. Don’t just assume that what they are saying is completely unfounded. Rather, show that you are responsive and that you are working with them to fix whatever they perceived to be the problem.
  • Use the feedback to take action. Bad reviews are always difficult to read as a business owner. Rather than denying that a problem exists, use a bad review as an opportunity to evaluate what you could be doing better. Address any problems you become aware of and do what you can to quickly implement solutions. If you take action, chances are, you won’t receive the same complaint again.



When should I flag a review?

The point of sites like Yelp are that they give customers a space to post honest and varied opinions about businesses. For this reasons, Yelp will not remove negative reviews just because they paint a business in a negative light. However, their Terms of Use describe some situations in which reviews may be flagged for review and potentially removed from the site. You should report a review if:


  • There is a conflict of interest. If a disgruntled employee or competitor is using the site for the purposes of slander, report the review.
  • The review doesn’t deal with the consumer’s own experience. Yelp is a place for firsthand accounts and reviews. If a reviewer is discussing somebody else’s experience or not focusing on their own encounter with your business, you may be able to report it.
  • The review includes inappropriate language or material. If the review includes threats, vulgar language, or hate speech, Yelp will most likely remove it. A review should also be reported if it reveals private information about employees or other customers.


For more information about Yelp’s terms of use regarding what types of reviews are appropriate, click here