Companies that operate online know the importance of gathering reviews. A good review can make people much more likely to purchase from you. On the other hand, negative reviews can send people straight to your competitors and cause a loss in profit.
Statistics show that 92% of consumers are less likely to make a purchase from a company with one or more negative reviews. Yikes! Bad reviews have a much bigger impact than good reviews.
Over 31 million people use Yelp regularly. It is undoubtedly one of the largest review collection sites in the world. Because of this, it’s important to know how to navigate a bad review. In some cases (not all), you may even be able to get a negative review deleted from your account by the Yelp team.
Today we’ll walk you through why it’s important to remove or respond to negative reviews, fake reviews, how to delete them, and what that process looks like.
If you didn’t know, fake reviews can be a huge problem for businesses on Yelp. Sadly, it’s a commonplace issue that most companies don’t know how to handle. These fake reviews can have a huge impact on consumer’s decisions to purchase from a company.
Research shows that Yelp does work to remove reviews their system flags as fake. The numbers show that they filter out about 16% of these reviews. That leaves 85% of them still making it successfully onto the platform for users to see. Most users don’t even realize this is an issue and can’t differentiate between real or fake reviews.
Yelp states that it is a “community-driven site,” and as such, it doesn’t take the removal of 3rd party content like images or reviews lightly. However, the company also states it won’t take sides in factual disputes.
Dealing with fake reviews and negative reviews follows the same process we will detail below:
1. Respond to Negative Reviews
Getting a bad review can make business owners rush to respond or just press on and try to forget the review altogether. Before you react to a bad review, slow down and think about the consequences.
Yelp users are coming to the site to make an informed decision about a product or service they’re considering purchasing. As they evaluate each review they read, they also take into account a company’s response or lack of response to each review.
It’s important to respond to negative reviews in a calm, collected, and professional manner. Depending on if you can verify they are in fact a customer, here’s how you can respond:
If you can verify they’re a customer, respond, letting them know you want to resolve the issue. It’s important that you attempt to connect with them offline to understand the problem that led to the bad review fully. People want to know you genuinely care and want to help solve their issues.
If you don’t have proof they were a customer, leave a polite response thanking the customer for their feedback, assure them that you will investigate the matter, and invite them to reach out so that you can work together towards resolving the issue.
The goal of your response should be 2-fold:
Step 1. You want to show your customers you do care about their experience and the issues they’ve had. Your current customers should be your top priority.
Step. 2 You want to impress future customers by showing them you’re a company that handles issues swiftly and professionally.
Sometimes, in leaving a response that moves customers towards a resolution, they’ll be willing to update or delete their review. This should never be an expectation, though.
2. Deleting Viscious Yelp Reviews
Once you have responded to the review, the next step you can take is asking Yelp to remove it. The good thing is, Yelp is more likely to fulfill your request when they see you’ve addressed the negative review already.
Yelp has guidelines that express rules for reviews left on their site:
It should be factually correct
Should be based on the reviewer’s own first-hand experience
Should not be exchanged for payment
Should not be promotional
Should not be based on previous brand interactions
Should not represent a conflict of interest (leaving a positive review for a friend’s business or a negative review of a competitor, for example)
If a review goes against any of their community guidelines, it is liable to be deleted. So, does the negative review left on your business page violate these rules? If it does, collect a list of data proving that fact to take to Yelp. Providing them with screenshots and records will help this process greatly!
Starting with areas where you can provide factual information, records, and the like will be your first step. Second, you will want to emphasize any hateful speech, harassment, or threats made to your company if those exist.
The Step-By-Step Process
1. Claim Your Business Profile
To remove a review, you have to verify you are the business owner or manager. Claiming your profile gives you the authority to respond to reviews and to submit them for deletion.
2. Login and Locate Negative Yelp Reviews
Once your account is created, log in to see your dashboard.
3. Click Report Review
Once you’ve found the negative or fake review(s) in question, you can click the three dots in the right-hand corner of the review. Click these dots, and you’ll see the option to “report review.” Select this option to be taken to the report form.
4. Fill Out the Form
Here is where you can provide the evidence you’ve collected as to why the review should be removed. Make sure you’re thorough and provide all the information you have. Remember, it’s your job to prove your case and it all comes down to this form. From here, it will be submitted to a moderator for consideration.
5. Wait for a Response
This is hands down the most difficult part. Once your request is in the hands of the moderator it is 100% up to them whether it will be deleted. Most submissions take up to a week for a resolution.
No matter if your request is granted or denied, you will be notified by Yelp of the results. If you don’t hear anything after a week, you can contact them directly with your case number to ask for an update.
What if My Request is Denied?
Yelp has the ability to decide if the negative or fake review will be taken down. If they decide against you, it sadly will go to live on your yelp page.
While this is frustrating, you’ll have done everything you could, including responding to the review, which shows new customers you care. It also does provide you with the ability to learn from your mistakes and move forward.
If the review isn’t taken down, we highly encourage you to continue asking clients for reviews to build up more positive reviews from more recent customers.