Yelp reviews are critical to sharing your business with others and helping raise awareness about what you have to offer. Great reviews can help attract visitors to the area to your business, let them know what you offer, and even make you one of the top destinations for visitors in your area. Poor reviews, on the other hand, can be incredibly detrimental to your business. Yelp reviews have the potential to make or break your business--which makes it critical that when bad reviews that you believe to be questionable appear, you take action quickly.
What Do These Questionable Reviews Look Like?
The reviews that you may be concerned about are reviews of your business that are questionably or unnecessarily negative, potentially created by people who may never have even visited your business. Other such reviews may present a caricature of what actually occurred when a customer had a less-than-perfect experience at your business.
You can't guarantee that every Yelp review of your business will be positive. In many cases, in spite of your best efforts and your best customer service, you may earn that bad review: an employee made an honest mistake that negatively impacted the customer, for example, or the customer felt that your product or service wasn't up to their expectations. Other reviews, on the other hand, may come from individuals who have no reason to leave the negative reviews but may instead be motivated by an apparent conflict of interest (e.g. they appear to be a competitor or former employee), or from customers who mistakenly review your business instead of the one for which they intended to leave a bad review.
Unfortunately, many people have started to realize just how much a negative review has the potential to hurt a business, and they may be willing to set honesty aside to hurt the individual or company that is the target of their anger.
What Should You Do About a Questionable Bad Yelp Review?
Found a bad review that you have reason to believe is questionable on your Yelp page? There are several things you can do to help get such reviews removed.
Step One: Claim Your Yelp Business Page
By claiming your Yelp Business Page, you can report reviews that violate Yelp's Content Guidelines. Each report is evaluated by Yelp, and if violations of their policies are found, the review may be removed.
Step Two: Build Your Case
You can, of course, report the review to Yelp as soon as you see it, or you can first gather some helpful information that will help explain your request for the review to be removed. For example, it would be helpful to consider if the review is from someone with an apparent conflict of interest (e.g., they appear to be a competitor or a former employee), is primarily about someone else’s consumer experience, appears to be plagiarized from another source, is about a different business, or contains hate speech, lewd commentary or threatening language.
Step Three: Report the Review
As you hover over the review, you should see a grey flag. This flag will allow you to report the review. Once you open that menu, you have the opportunity to communicate your concerns about this review to Yelp. Start by explaining why you want to report the review. Lewd language or threats of violence may get Yelp's attention sooner, but if those things aren't included in the review, be honest about your reasons and label it appropriately. Be honest: often, it may be as simple as "it was posted by a competitor or ex-employee," or, "it does not describe a personal customer experience." If this is the sole reason your review needs to be removed, select it!
Include all the information you've collected about the review. Once you've submitted your case, it's out of your hands: the Yelp staff will have to decide whether they agree with your reasons for wanting the review removed, and then they'll have to take it down, if necessary. You may need to wait patiently for that hoped-for resolution.
What If a Bad Review Isn't Removed?
When a bad review isn't removed, what comes next? According to Yelp, you have a couple of different options:
Respond in public. You can add a response to a bad review that will help other customers see that you're making an effort to fix the problem and make things right. This can help prevent many of the negative associations from the bad review, especially if the reviewer remains negative.
Respond through private message. In some cases, you can take the conversation from the bad review to a private message. This might enable you to get more information from the reviewer and, in many cases, troubleshoot a solution that will lead them to take down the review on their own.
Should You Go to Court Over a Bad Yelp Review?
In general, you shouldn't need to go to court to have a Yelp review taken down. In fact, going to court can actually draw unwanted negative attention to your business, which is the last thing you want!
Are you struggling with questionable Yelp reviews that have the potential to draw negative attention to your business or prevent you from attracting the customers you need? Instead of you implementing Yelp’s best practices for removing them, let a certified agency such as Digital Standout handle it while you focus on your business. Contact us now for information on how we can help.