With its ever-expanding population and its preponderance of restaurants and other businesses, Los Angeles is a challenging area in which to start an eatery, bar or retail store. Competition is cutthroat, and many similar enterprises already exist.
Now that you have jumped through all of the hoops and hurdles required in starting a business, you may be dreading something that no entrepreneur would have even heard about just a few years ago: the bad Yelp review. Exactly what do you do if a customer trashes your restaurant or store online? You know that Yelp is widely read and consulted by consumers. Is there any way to counteract the sting?
First and foremost, don’t let a negative Yelp review stand without responding to it as quickly as possible. Doing so gives you the opportunity to directly address a disgruntled customer’s concerns in a public way. Most Yelp reviews are written soon after the experience; negative rants are generally used by customers as vehicles to lash out and vent their frustration. In the best-case scenario, you can transform discontent into satisfaction before much damage is done.
One source of negative reviews may not even come from actual customers of yours; your competition might be attempting to discredit you and stir up trouble. If you respond quickly by filing a fraud notification with Yelp, you can set the community straight as to the facts of the situation. By stating facts including dates and other relevant details, you can reaffirm your credibility and give readers all of the information they need to make an informed decision.
But what if your negative review stemmed from a real customer experience that went awry? Even the best-run establishment or contracting business will inevitably make mistakes. If you are in the uncomfortable position of being called to the carpet in public by a customer who has genuine reason to be unhappy, it is incumbent on you to just as publicly answer each and every one of the person’s complaints with a detailed response. Take the time to explain all of the facts involved, and don’t leave anything out.
If, for example, you own a business and someone complains about your prices compared to what they paid for a similar service several years ago when they lived in Ohio, take pains to explain the cost differences between the Midwest and California. Whatever the details of the situation, always offer to correct the problem. If applicable, let the customer know that you would be happy to meet in person to rectify the difficulty.
Using these strategies can usually diffuse the majority of bad Yelp reviews that you may encounter.