Yelp can be a great place to build a positive reputation of your company. Potential prospects often use yelp to gauge the quality of a product or service through public reviews. Building a positive reputation through Yelp can help increase confidence in your company and the services you offer – ultimately leading to more sales and revenue. On the other hand, Yelp can cause potential damage to the reputation of your business if someone leaves an unfavorable review about your product, service, management or company culture.
Being proactive about building a positive reputation is the best way to mitigate the negative consequence of any bad PR. However, if a client or former employee has left an unsavory review, it’s important to know what your options are in order to take appropriate action. Yelp and other similar review sites such as Google Plus and Angie’s List are protected under the First Amendment (free speech). Hence, it is very difficult for business owners to remove a negative review once it’s posted. However, the free speech provision does not cover false or inaccurate statements that can damage the image of a business. If you feel this is the case, you should consider consulting with a legal expert. Additionally, there are still a number of things that can be done to remove a negative or unfavorable review. This article looks at some of the options available to business owners on how to remedy the situation. The first thing to do is to know Yelps terms of service and user guidelines.
- Inappropriate Material – This means no hateful content, harassment, inappropriate language, or threats.
- Promotional Copy – You can not place advertisements for your own business as a review or otherwise. If you are adding material to your profile on your own Business Owners Account, that’s fine.
- Privacy – Do not place photos, videos, full names of business owners or patrons, or any other private information without the consent of the parties involved.
- Payment Demands – With the exception of asking for a refund, you can’t demand a payment or otherwise try to extract payment from a business regardless if you were a customer or not.
- Conflicts of Interest – You can not use friends, family, customers, or yourself to write favorable reviews. All reviews on Yelp should be unbiased.
- Relevancy – Your review must be relevant. You can’t rant about how a business is run, employee policies, politics, or other areas that aren’t important to the consumer experience.
- Intellectual Property – Write your own copy. Don’t copy other reviews or content from the web or printed material.
How to Get a Review Removed?
Yelp takes removing reviews seriously, and usually won’t remove a review unless it violates the guidelines above. If you feel that a review is in violation of the guidelines, then follow the steps below to get it removed.
1. Before you can do anything about a negative review, you must have a verified business account in order to report a review.
2. Once you have access to your business listings with Yelp, go to the review and click on the “Report this review” button. A moderator will read over the review and remove it if they feel that it’s in violation of the above guidelines.
3. If you’re using the Yelp for Business Owners App, locate the review and use the More Options icon (iPhone users) or the Overflow Menu (Android users) to report the review. A moderator will review the notice within several days.
4. If for some reason Yelp doesn’t remove the review, the best course of action is to address the review directly. Writing a reply to a disgruntled patron can work wonders in changing their opinion about your business. Always be non-confrontational, try to be accommodating, and do your best to right any wrongs that may have occurred.
5. Often times the emotional attachment to a business makes it less favorable in resolving a conflict with a disgruntled customer or former employee. If you feel that is the case, consider hiring professional mediation services.
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