Critiques and Criticism: Achieving a 5-Star Rating on Yelp

Author: Erica Feher | August 23, 2013

You are familiar with the concept of customers telling only one person when they have a good experience with a business, but telling 10 people when they have a bad one. Yelp has become the go-to platform for such consumers to warn about or promote businesses they’ve worked with. Having negative reviews can have a harmful effect on your business and turn away potential new clients. Since businesses are at the mercy of Yelpers, what can you do to protect your reputation?

If there is a negative review written about your business, first consider if you recall doing business with that person and whether the review could have been posted out of malice. If you have record of who the person is, reach out to them via phone or email to talk about their experience working with your company. Eventually, the conversation should lead to kindly asking them to remove the review. If you don’t have any record of the individual, you can privately message them through Yelp, letting him/her know that your business’ online reputation is very important and you are expressing concern for any wrongdoing. Perhaps you can offer something in return. For retailers, this could be a discount offer during their next visit.

If, after a few days, they do not respond or remove the post, you can post a public comment in response to the review to tell your side of the story and offer any apologies on behalf of their bad experience. Also keep in mind, the negative review must be from someone who is an active Yelper. The comment will likely get removed if they’ve only Yelped one or two times.

If the above efforts don’t work, the next best step is to obtain more positive Yelp reviews. Consider former clients, vendors, etc. who might be willing to provide a review. Offering to draft the review for their approval takes the burden off their shoulders and provides you the opportunity to craft the message about your company. If the negative review remains, the positive reviews will help counter the negative.

Since Yelp is consumer-oriented and ranks very high on the search engines, action should be taken to maintain and increase your business’ rating in an effort to achieve five stars.

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