Should I Respond to Yelp Reviews?

Yelp website under a magnifying glass.We live in a world where reputation isn’t just word-of-mouth or newspaper articles, but a place where people turn to their phone and computers to make informed decisions. They use online reputation services such as Yelp, Google Reviews, Facebook Reviews, the BBB Database, and more. For many, this is their interaction with your company and your chance to show off possible services, products, and places to eat. How should you manage it and how should you respond to feedback on these review sites? As an example, today we’re going to go an example of online reputation management: Should I respond to Yelp reviews?

Yes, You Should

Cutting to the heart of the issue, the answer is yes. You should always respond to feedback, be it a cutting criticism or praise of your services. In real life, when someone gives you a compliment, you thank them. When someone is critical of your work, you should promise to do better and seek to learn from the experience. When someone takes the time and energy to go to your Yelp page and give a review, you should respect that by taking the time to respond, even if it is simply an acknowledgment of their feedback.

A Word on Your Tone and Review Privacy

Should you get a negative review (it happens), remember this.  Regardless of the rating of the review and the tone, it is never acceptable to lash out at a reviewer. Maintain a diplomatic tone, be respectful, and thank them for their review. While all reviews are viewable by the public, your responses to them don’t have to be. Responding to them privately can allow you to resolve issues and make them feel heard, without public scrutiny. Rarely there are times where you will need to (or should) respond in public, and those times are reserved for when you’re experiencing a deliberate attack with false information, and you need to set the record straight.

How to Respond from 5 to 1 Stars

Below are general guidelines to responding on Yelp, from a simple “Thank you!” for a five stars response, to making sure a one star response feels like they are being heard.

  • Five Stars: Get five stars and a glowing recommendation? Anytime someone gives you a compliment, thank them. A short “Thank you! It was great to see you!” works just fine.
  • Four Stars: Four stars usually means an enjoyable experience, but that something was missing. Thank them again, and if it wasn’t obvious from the review, ask them what you could do better.
  • Three Stars: Again, thank them for their feedback. However, at this point, it’s important to put more focus on wanting feedback on what you could have done to improve their experience.
  • Two Stars: Hopefully at this rating, they are giving you concrete reasons on why their experience was so bad. Ask them to reach out to you so you can get more information on the issue. If warranted, once a dialogue has been opened, offer to correct the problem.
  • One Star: This customer had a very bad time. It’s important to understand that. Respond to them and let them know you are listening. Ask them what went wrong and make sure they know their feedback is being heard and you will use it to improve their experience. Again, if warranted, once a dialogue has been opened, offer to correct the problem.

At the end of the day, remember that Yelp is a great channel to foster excellent conversations with your customers.  You may not like everything they have to say, but the fact that they said it at all bears merit and is worthy of response.  Hey, you might even learn something.  Don’t be afraid to communicate with your customers – it can only benefit you to be diplomatic, kind, and gracious in your responses to all reviews.

Want to learn more about online reputation management and how a reputation marketing company can help? Contact Vision Advertising. We’re experts at both getting you out in the online world with website, social media, and SEO services, and then proactively marketing your company to get you reviews.

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About the author : Alex Geyer

Alex wears many hats, and not just because he’s bald. A writer by his background, Alex writes “social media content” for Vision – anything from social media statuses to blogs to whitepapers and beyond. In addition, he builds and maintains all search engine advertising for Vision’s clients, along with social media advertising for others. In his free time, he starts and stops writing novels, compiles tabletop roleplaying system conversions, and cooks a mean Chicken and Dumplings avec Peas. A videogame enthusiast, he is also developing his first video game with the startup game studio, Pretty Weird. He is terrible with plants*.