The internet is akin to a battlefield, especially when fights break out and trolls come out to play. While this is prevalent on social media, this mentality also exists on review sites like Yelp. While customers do give valid and positive reviews with constructive criticism thrown in, let’s face it, Yelp is a minefield of negative reviews and trolls. If it’s your business that’s being bitten by the negative review bug, don’t fear. Here’s how to respond to negative reviews on Yelp.
First, make sure you’re calm
Before you even begin typing a response to a negative review, make sure you’re in the right mindset. It’s normal to be rattled at negative comments or even angry/frustrated. But the one thing you can’t do is let that reflect in your reply. Take a few deep breaths and some time away from your computer screen before going back and replying.
Pay attention to details
According to the Search Engine Journal, when crafting your reply, take note of details such as the tone (perhaps it comes off as funny or sarcastic than angry), when and where the negative experience happened, how it happened and if there was anyone else involved (such as someone mentioning the name of the waitress that served them for example). Learning these details will help you craft a better reply than something written off-the-handle or hastily.
Make every reply to a negative comment unique
In other words, don’t always use a standard form letter reply to every negative review. Not every customer’s complaint can be fixed with just an apology and a thanks for the feedback. You need to tailor the reply to what the customer’s problem is. It will show them that you are paying attention to them and their specific problem, not just replying for the sake of replying. Who knows, this might compel the negative reviewer to reach out and thank you for paying attention to their problem and caring enough to reply. It’s worth a shot.
If possible, research the problem the customer is having
This is where combing the reply for details helps. According to the Search Engine Journal, if the review mentioned people by name, “ask for their take on the situation. Talk to the departments involved, and determine if there were extraordinary circumstances that could have explained the problem. Look closely for issues you can explain, or causes for the complaint, so you’ll have something to discuss in your response.”
As mentioned above, reviews can’t just be replied to with this. You have to also include your research and how to please the upset customer. But as the Search Engine Journal says, “start off [the review] with an apology.” Like your replies, these should also be said in a unique way. For example, if the reviewer is unhappy about a new change, you can say you’re sorry they feel that way. Or if the reviewer is clearly upset about something you know happened on you or your business’s end, apologize by saying you’re sorry that happened to them and state it won’t happen again and compensate for the problem if possible.
Find out if the reviewer can be pleased
If it’s possible, look into the Yelp reviewer as Search Engine Journal suggests. Read the other reviews they’ve made. Are they always negative? Always positive with a few negative? All negative with a few positive? If you find while looking through the reviewer’s other reviews that they all have the same negative tone to them, it’s here where you just write an apology and thank you. Likely, nothing else you say or do to look into the problem is going to change these people’s minds. Sometimes, people are just always going to be picky and unsatisfied. But if you find a reviewer has a mix of positive and negative reviews (or if their first negative review was for your business), take the time to fix the issue. It might make a difference.
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