Best Practices to Responding to Bad Yelp Reviews

By Harris Roberts

So you got a bad Yelp Review? You can’t be everything to everyone. First, you need to accept it’s going to happen. Second, you need to act relatively quickly. Within 24 hours is a good rule of thumb. If you are a large brand you might want to create a social media disaster plan. Crazy things happen and you do not want to be sitting there scrambling to create a plan.

Most bad reviews on Yelp do not warrant pulling out the social media disaster plan. The goal is to professionally and quickly respond to the bad review.

Pro Tip: Make sure to start the message with the date you are responding. By default when you respond to a comment they do not show with the date. This shows that you quickly responded to the negative review.

  1. Decide if you are going to respond to the comment. If you think the comment is completely false it is best to send them a private message first. Often you can resolve the issue this way.
  2. Review the complaint and break it down into multiple issues. You are going to want to address each one in an honest and professional manner. You never want to argue with your customers online.
  3. Remember potential customers will be reading your comment and how you treat the complaint. Customers want to see that you are taking their feedback seriously and making changes.
  4. Write a draft message. You want to keep the message short and to objective points.
  5. Check your comment with a colleague and make sure you are being polite, honest, and human.

Yelp is built on a community of users. It’s a great place to get feedback from your customers. When a negative review is received it can feel like a personal attack. Often customers will give you a second chance once you start a conversation with them.