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How do you respond to your Yelp reviews?

Members of Yelp’s Small Business Advisory Counsel discuss their best practices on responding to reviews.

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Julie L.: My favorite Yelp review is from Aaron E. He says, Irvine’s best Bottle Shop. I love OC Wine Mart and Tasting Bar. It’s clean, modern, and stocks an incredible variety of wine. And more importantly for me, craft beer,

Valerie G.: It’s actually an updated review. It reads, the owner did send me a very apologetic message almost right away and looked into our complaints. I can tell this restaurant has a lot of pride in their food and doesn’t usually have these type of mishaps, and I appreciate that they took this seriously.

Carlos R.: Thanks to Mr. Roofing, we’ve had no leaking onto our Christmas tree. No drips onto the dining table, no mysterious puddles to cause us to give the stink eye to the cats.

Wade L.: Every time I call to check on something, they were so helpful and genuinely kind. I don’t plan on moving anytime soon, but when I do, I know who I’ll call. They’re not all this good. Our response to a negative review is pretty simple. It’s stop, drop and roll. Stop first, don’t respond immediately. Wait 24 hours. If you respond immediately, you’re gonna respond with emotion. Second is drop. Try to drop that defensive attitude that so many business owners want to have when they’re dealing with a challenging client. And then lastly, roll with it. You can’t control the thoughts and opinions of every client. You cannot do it.

Julie L.: My philosophy is the customer’s always right, even when they’re wrong. So I try to see if there’s anything we can improve on our side. If there’s anything that we have done to solicit this type of review. I choose only specific reviews to respond to. One is the reviews that have a complaint, a specific complaint. I will address that complaint and either we will change the way we do things or we can explain to the customer why we do things the way we do.

Carlos R.: Well, I decide to respond to all reviews and mostly I think it’s because we are a professional service. So we’re not like a restaurant or a retail business that gets thousands of reviews.

Wade L. : Most of the time when we’re responding to a negative review, we want more information and we want to fill in the gaps that we can’t fill in ourselves and only the client can fill those gaps in.

Valerie G.: If I need more clarification about a review, if I have a question to ask, I’ll do that privately. Otherwise, everything goes on the public because I want everybody to kind of see how we deal with situations and it’s a good way for us to market as well. I did, however, have one customer who came to our restaurant and was very adamant about the fact that he selected our restaurant based on the fact that I answer reviews. He saw that as being sort of a caring, sort of nurturing place. And he said, any place that has that much time to spend with their clients, we figure when we go there, we’ll be well taken care of.

Julie L.: Half of them respond by rewriting the review and updating their review, and the other half, I never hear from them again. But it’s worth reaching out to the half who actually respond. And they’re actually very appreciative of the fact that they hear from the business owner.

Wade L.: One guy even picked up my huge couch on his own. He just grabbed it in the middle and threw it on his shoulder like it was a boom box. Usually I’m not so easily impressed with displays of bran, but even I had to stop and stare. It’s eight feet long.

Julie L.: This is a family-owned business that gets it. They truly appreciate their customers and show genuine care that you are satisfied with your purchase.

Valerie G.: And I would recommend you to try Les Deux Gamins. And of course, let the management know if there’s anything that isn’t up to par. It seems as though they take these things seriously and care.

Carlos R.: Oh, and they sense a thank you tin of cookies afterwards.

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