What to do when you get a bad review on Yelp or Google

Few things ignite the ire and contempt of business owners like a bad review on Yelp or Google. Just imagine, the customer now has the perfect forum to vent his or her bad experience to the world- albeit completely biased or inaccurate. What’s to stop any wacko in cyberspace from going on a rampage and destroying your business’s online reputation. Or better yet, what’s to stop your competitors from doing it?


You might breathe easier knowing that Yelp and Google have sophisticated methods of distinguishing authentic user reviews from reckless abusers. But what about a negative review posted by a real customer who’s walked away dissatisfied? What should you do when you receive a bad review on Yelp or Google?


First, understand one thing: If you’ve been in business long enough, you’re bound to get at least one bad review. No organization runs absolutely perfectly, and the nature of the internet is such that the power to voice complaints and concerns is now at everyone’s fingertips.


Negative reviews and comments are really just constructive feedback about how customers feel about your products or services. The key is to utilize a negative experience as a positive opportunity to strengthen your relationship with the customer, while demonstrating your commitment to satisfaction and a job well done to potential customers. By listening to reviews, you are able to highly customize and target your organization to meet your clients’ needs exactly.


DO NOT argue or retaliate. Responding in such a manner will only make you or your organization look petty and foolish to onlookers, no matter which party is in the right. Relax, take a break and try to examine the situation realistically. Remember that one bad review is not the end of the world. If everyone stopped patronizing businesses because of a single Yelp review, the entire world economy might collapse.


Note: If you think the bad review on Yelp or Google originated from a disgruntled employee or a competitor, you can “flag” the comments, but try not to use this method too often, or your account will be flagged.


Reach out to the customer and understand more about the problem by commenting on their review. Doing so may uncover a serious problem with the inner workings of your organization, allowing you to rectify the situation before it affects other customers. Let the customer know that you’re open to their comments and suggestions and you’re glad to have the opportunity to make amends. No matter what the outcome, they will be much more likely to do business with you again if you establish a dialogue with them.


Apologize for the inconvenience and make a peace offering. Do not underestimate the value of an apology. Saying you’re sorry can go a long way with customers. Offer to refund any money or to complete the next service for free. If you’re successful, the customer may update their post and give your business a great review. At the very least, you’ve shown other potential customers that you’re absolutely committed to a satisfactory outcome in all your business dealings.


Encourage your regular customers to review your organization. People tend to take to sites like Yelp and Google reviews when they’re unhappy with your service. Why not ask your regulars to post positive reviews. This would offset any negative reviews that you might receives. It also demonstrates that missteps in your business transactions are the exception and not the rule.