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How to Handle a Bad Review on Yelp

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You’re building your business from the ground up, getting customers, improving your customer service, working on marketing and much more. But what happens when someone leaves a bad review on one of your many social media platforms and review communities like Yelp? These negative reviews may only reflect a single experience from a single customer, or the review might not even be 100% accurate, yet they can play a long term impact on your business.

So how do you deal with a negative review on Yelp? There are not very many options available to you to handle negative reviews, but there are still ways to get around it if it’s harming your business.

Ask Politely for the Review to Be Taken Down

You can potentially have a negative review taken down by asking the dissatisfied customer directly to remove it. Not all customers will be willing to take it down, which is why it’s important to approach the conversation carefully and as politely as possible.

Having a conversation with them can help you to gain insight as to why they left a negative review in the first place. They may have had a bad experience with your business, but the outcome at the time was outside of your control. Talk with the customer, figure out what went wrong and look for ways to remedy the issue.

Customers will be more willing to take down a negative review if their problem is remedied and they feel like they have been genuinely listened to.

Consider a Lawsuit

If a reviewer still refuses to take down a negative Yelp review despite your best efforts, you may be able to take it to court. Taking anything to court is not always ideal, but it may be the most effective solution for your situation.

Consider the case of  Hassell v. Bird (Yelp, Inc.). Hassel found negative reviews on Yelp and despite their best efforts to have them removed by attempting to communicate with Bird. For Hassell’s situation, Hassell was able to prove that the reviews on Yelp were defamatory and won by default when Bird refused to show up to court.

The important thing to note is that Hassell did not attempt to sue Yelp, and as a result of winning the case, the court ordered Yelp to remove the negative reviews.

Focus on Your Strengths and Keep Building Positive Reviews

When trying to get bad reviews removed, sometimes asking politely and a lawsuit is still not enough. What can you do when both of these options fail to get the results you need? Running a business has plenty of ups and downs, which is why it’s important to keep focusing on the strengths of your business. Not business will ever be able to maintain a spotless record forever.

Whether reviews are justified or falsified, the one aspect you can completely control is how you’re growing your business, how you’re treating your current and next customers, and the service you’re providing. Continue focusing on what your business is good at and put a bad review behind you. Focus on getting more 5 star reviews so that it completely overshadows any negative reviews you have.


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