This article is contributed by Steven Peters.
is an online review site that allows customers to leave reviews about businesses they’ve visited. They can leave both a ranking out of five stars as well as a detailed review. There are no requirements that need to be met in order to write a review, and the site is free to use. Plus, users can write their reviews anonymously.
As a business, you know that it’s possible you will receive a bad review on Yelp. It’s possible that it can be a real complaint, and it’s even possible that the review is completely bogus. That’s right, bogus. Unfortunately, since the content on review sites come from anyone, some people take it upon themselves to write fake negative reviews for their competition. They do this in hopes of getting people who visit the site to choose their business instead.
Whether the bad review is fake or not, you would still rather see it removed from the site instead of kept online for all current and potential customers to see. Contesting a fake review on Yelp is not easy to do, but the following tips can help you give it your best effort.
Know when Yelp will help
Yelp makes it clear that they will not arbitrate disputes, so you can complain and complain as much as you want, but in most cases, the review will stay on the site. The only way that Yelp will intervene is if the review violates one of their content guidelines
. If the review contains inappropriate language (threats, harassment, bigotry, etc.), is a conflict of interest (the review was written by your employee, friend, relative, etc.), contains promotional messaging, isn’t relevant to the business, publicizes private information or uses copyrighted content, Yelp will step in and have the review removed.
Contact the reviewer
If the bad review does not violate the content guidelines, then it’s up to you to try and remedy the situation. The first thing you need to do is reach out to the reviewer and ask them to remove their review from the site. If they’re very upset with your business, getting this done may take a very long and detailed apology as well as a meaningful gesture on your part, but even then, there’s no guarantee the review will be removed.
Post a response
If you’re not getting through to the reviewer or if they refuse to remove the review, make sure that you post a response to their negative review apologizing and offering to fix the situation. This may make the reviewer happy to know that you’re taking the right steps to remedy the situation, but it will also show other people who visit the site how you handle yourself. If they see that you took the time to make it up to an unhappy customer, they’ll be more willing to try your business in spite of the negative review.
With the Internet at the fingertips of your customers, it’s important to know that you will one day have to deal with a negative review. You can use these tips to try and contest a bad review on Yelp, but you can also try to diminish them from happening by providing the best service to all of your customers and asking happy customers to leave you positive reviews. Having a number of positive reviews will surely outweigh the few negative ones, and this improves your overall online presence.
Steven Peters is a businessman and review management expert. He likes to gives advice about review tracking tactics and Yelp tips for business.
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