The best way to avoid a bad review at Yelp! is to do everything in your power to NOT GET ONE.
But bad reviews are a fact of life on the Internet. Oftentimes (and hopefully) they are rare, but it’s impossible to keep all your customers 100% happy.
And the crazy people… well, you know how they work.
So lets say you get a bad review at Yelp!. Consider the following:
If you don’t have one already, create and login to your Yelp! account.
You must “claim” your business listing in order to respond to reviews with a direct message, a pubic comment, and to report or dispute a review.
Next, go to the bad review at Yelp! and to the bottom right of it you will see a little flag where you can “report” the review.
Follow the prompts and have a response ready to submit. Keep it short, to the point, professional, and emotion free. Don’t tell Yelp! they HAVE TO remove it – it’s their decision, not yours. Think: DIPLOMACY.
It’s pretty difficult to have a bad review at Yelp! removed UNLESS it is factually incorrect, slanderous, or clearly misrepresents something.
Opinions by reviewers are allowed. It’s very difficult to get opinions removed.
Reviews that smack of racism, anything that might be considered hate speech, defamation of character, or general allegations should be reported and have a good chance of being removed.
Reviews that are clearly mean-spirited in nature also have a good chance of being removed, if you report them.
Yes, Yelp! does remove reviews that violate its guidelines and have been reported. I’ve reported reviews several times for clients and have been successful in getting a review entirely removed from a company’s Yelp! profile.
If you can’t get a review removed, responding to bad reviews is generally considered a BEST PRACTICE.
It VERY important to keep your response professional and emotion free. Also, keep it as short as you can.
Here is what Yelp! is looking for in reviews as well as a link to their full guidelines below it.
From the Yelp! Website
The best reviews are passionate and personal. They offer a rich narrative, a wealth of detail, and a helpful tip or two for other consumers. Here are some additional thoughts for conscientious reviewers.
Personal experience: We want to hear about your firsthand consumer experience, not what you heard from your co-worker or significant other. Try to tell your own story without resorting to broad generalizations and conclusory allegations.
Accuracy: Make sure your review is factually correct. Feel free to air your opinions, but don’t exaggerate or misrepresent your experience. We don’t take sides when it comes to factual disputes, so we expect you to stand behind your review.
Review updates: Review updates should reflect a new experience or interaction with the business. Don’t tell the same old story you’ve already told. If you’d like to add new insight to an old experience, just edit your review instead of creating a new update.
See the full list of guidelines and frequently asked questions about Yelp! at this link.
Also see Yelp! Do and Don’t for Businesses
If you need help with Yelp! and/or responding to a bad review, open a Help Desk ticket for support.