A negative review on Yelp is a real pain. You've poured your heart and soul into your restaurant business, and now a customer is wreaking havoc on your reputation.
In our social media-driven world, negative reviews can't always be prevented. But how you respond to negative reviews is under your control.
Here’s how you can make the best of a negative Yelp review and turn it into a positive teachable moment for you and your restaurant business.
Take another look at the review. How bad is it? Does it reveal a problem you already know you have? Most negative reviews center around things you can control: slow service, cold food, bad food, or rude servers.
Is there a common theme across all the reviews? If so, your customers are telling you something! Use Yelp as your ultimate feedback tool and take steps to fix the most common complaints.
First of all, always respond. It looks bad if someone reads an older negative review with no response from the restaurant.
Never get angry in your response. Ever. Instead, follow these simple rules:
Customers love personal attention, Yelp reviewers are no exception. They want to know you take their complaints seriously.
Even if you’ve never visited Yelp, chances are pretty good your restaurant is already listed. If you’ve been ignoring it, the information might be out of date or just plain wrong.
Here’s how to fill out your restaurant’s Yelp Profile:
One of the best Yelp responses on record was made by The Supper Truck in Albuquerque, N.M. The owner responded to a negative Yelp review in an endearingly lighthearted manner, by uploading into an “I’m sorry” song to Youtube.
A clever video has the potential to go viral, bringing positive attention to a business like this food truck, which has many glowing reviews .
It’s tempting to ask friends and family to leave positive reviews for your restaurant, but that’s not a great idea. Instead, focus on responding positively to customers who leave comments and make sure your customer service, and food, is great all the time.
Your approach to Yelp should be consistent with your other social media efforts. It’s a mistake when restaurants ignore their profiles on sites like Foursquare, TripAdvisor, and Urban Spoon.
Social media review sites can be effective tools as long as you are influencing your own brand, making sure the majority of the information online is correct, appealing, and positive.