5 Methods for Responding to Negativity, Complaints, and Bad Reviews on Yelp

yelp reviewsAs a small business owner, you will inevitably be confronted with a complaint or review at some point. While you can put your heart and soul into giving your customers the best experience possible, you can’t please everyone all of the time. As the saying goes, haters gonna hate.


Set Expectations

The easiest way to avoid disappointing customers is to set clear expectations up front. In my flash mob business, every time I receive a potential customer inquiry, I send them very clear documents explaining what we can do and can’t do. We never make a promise we can’t fulfill.

In general, I like to run my business with the motto “under promise, over deliver.”


Always Be Positive

On my blogs, I often write about controversial and heated topics. I encourage conversation and comments on both sides of the issue. But I always stay positive.

If you attack your customer’s views or tell them they are wrong, you will lose them. I always stay positive and constructive when discussing anything with a customer or reader regardless of the context they put forward.


Try to Rectify the Situation

When you get a bad review on Yelp, Google, or elsewhere, don’t attack the customer’s review and say that they are wrong. If you do, you will end up like this gem from Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.


Clearly, the answer isn’t to insult your reviewers on Yelp and Facebook and claimed you were “hacked” after the fact. If you have legitimate customer complaints, try to learn from the situation so you can avoid it in the future and help your customer have a good experience.

The best way to build a reputation is through good reviews and word of mouth advertising. You don’t want the worst case scenario where everyone is bad mouthing your business.


Get a Thick Skin

Haters gonna hate. Some people will not like you or your business no matter what. In those cases, you just have to brush if off and move on.

In many cases, they may just be someone who hates everyone. In others, they may be biased toward a competitor.

Here is a short guide from Yelp on responding to negative reviews. Here is another section from a larger article on Yelp for small businesses that discusses negative reviews.


You Can’t Please Everyone

At the end of the day, you should always do your best. You should try to make your business the best it can be and send customers away with a positive memory from a good experience. But you can’t please everyone.

In some cases, you are not the right choice. I have turned potential customers away before because I could tell I wouldn’t meet their expectations. That’s okay. Sometimes it is worth turning down potential revenue if it isn’t going to be a win-win for everyone.

How have you dealt with bad reviews and complaints in the past? Share your stories in the comments.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.

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