If you are a local business, there is a good chance your customers have reviewed you on Yelp. Business owners everywhere typically have a love/hate relationship with Yelp and for good reason. Yelp is essentially your local businesses reputation. So, when customers are less than enthused with your special of the day or new summer hours they will let you know.

What can you do? Participate. Become an active business owner and either take on the role of reputation manager or get the assistance of professionals…ahem. Whomever your choice, it is important to stay active on Yelp and respond to all reviews good & bad.

#1 The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Not all Yelp reviews are glittering examples of your customers opinions. Typically Yelp Reviews are either really great or really bad and it is your responsibility to respond courteously to all of them. How you handle a negative review on Yelp could determine whether or not the customer will return. There will be individuals that have their minds made up about your business, but there is always an opportunity to get them back. You will be surprised how often an apology can turn a situation around. Keep in mind the customer is right and that their opinion counts, as they are the ones spending their hard earned money at your establishment.

Responding to good reviews is another great way to maintain your reputation. Just because they aren’t complaining doesn’t mean they don’t like some tender care from their favorite local business. Thank them for the review and ask them if there is anything else you can do to enhance their experience in the future. It’s short, simple and always effective.

#2 Keep Your Cool

Confrontation is not something you are looking to stir up on Yelp. Although you may feel hurt by your customers responses, it is important to stay cool. Getting upset will not help your situation in any way.

What to do if you don’t agree with the review? As this is your business you can proceed as you want, but as professional reputation managers we highly suggest turning down your pride. At the end of the day you want a returning customer and although you may be thinking it is just one individual, they have a network of friends whom they can tell about their experience. Try to mend the customer/business relationship if possible in order to keep your reputation in check.

#3 Message Your Heart Out

The best way to handle a tough Yelp situation is to use the private message feature. This allows you to speak with your customer one on one and to take the opportunity to change their opinion. If you want to offer a gift certificate or coupon for the customer to try you again this is the time and the place to do it. If you have the ability to offer wronged customers an incentive to visit again and potentially change their review it is worth it.

Yelp is now an important aspect of your business. Along with social media, reputation management is key when it comes to the success of a local business. So, if you are ready to get on Yelp and start talking directly with your customer base, kudos! If you are still hesitant than be sure to get in touch so we can help your business become Yelp friendly!