You get an email that tells you Xavier Z. reviewed your business. You’re thrilled because you know Yelp is a powerful marketing tool, a service that vouches for your service. An estimated 18 million people visit Yelp every month. A study by Michael Luca at the Harvard Business School shows that an increase in star ratings on Yelp reviews leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue. Every review helps.
But then you read Xavier’s review and you realize that his review does not help. It hurts. He’s snarky, vindictive, unfair, cruel, and downright dishonest—but none of that matters because his review is the first thing people see. It’s glaring from the computer screen, warning all who look on your page to stay away.
You keep a cool head. You don’t stoop to his level. You take a deep breath and realize you want to know how to remove negative reviews.
At Matador Solutions, we deal with negative Yelp reviews and other issues companies face in the battle to save face. We specialize in reputation management. These are a few of the tips we’ve picked up along the way.
1. Are There Any F-Bombs?
Yelp will remove negative reviews if they cross the lines of common decency, meaning the reviews are littered with expletives. However, if they are simply not true, Yelp does not delete them. It becomes a matter of one person’s word against another’s.
The best thing you can do is convince the other person to change their words. It may take time and effort, which is why we’re here to help, but if you choose to do it yourself, it’s always a learning experience.
2. Be Human, Be Diplomatic
You are smarter than people who sit around and complain. You’re a builder. That’s why you run a business. When addressing Xavier Z. on Yelp, you want to be as constructive as possible. You do not want to go on the offensive. That will make his complaint a moral battle. Instead, you want to do the unexpected: dismantle his attack with kindness.
Every time we at Matador Solutions reach out to an angry customer on behalf of a brand partner, we do our best to see it from the customer’s eyes. Whether or not his review is founded in truth, it is a wake up call and it is helpful. Perhaps there was a minor lapse in service. Sure, it’s overblown in the review, but there is something to learn. Treating the situation as an opportunity instead of an inconvenience will pay off enormously in the long run.
At Matador Solutions we believe that compassion leads to great customer service. Acknowledge his experience and apologize for whatever role your company played in it. Whether or not it is true, it’s what he feels.
Sometimes, people just want to be seen and heard. Engaging people in a dialogue that acknowledges where they’re at breaks the ice. It also humanizes your brand. Xavier probably would not have gone ballistic had he known that there was a human behind the brand.
So be a human! Figure out what you can do to help and make his experience better. Work with him. Address his message publicly and do what you can to resolve the issue. Talk with him. And when he feels better, ask him to reconsider his evaluation. You’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty. He’s likely to reconsider.
3. Be Proactive
At the same time, we realize that we’ve got to step it up a notch and reach out for positive reviews while we soothe the angry customer. Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to convince a person to change a review.
While you’re dealing with negative reviews, you can invite positive ones. You can do so by delivering the excellent customer service you’re known for. You can also skillfully request Yelp reviews.
If you bury a bad review, it won’t cause as much damage in your overall rating or your prospective customer’s first impression of your business.
If you have any questions about reputation management, please contact Matador Solutions. We’re here to help you do what you do best—run your business! We’ll help with the politics of perception.