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3 Ways to beat bad Yelp.com reviews

For some restaurants -- those who service travellers often, for instance -- it can often feel like Yelp or a few good or bad online reviews can make or break your business. While Google and Google Maps are probably more important (this story is crazy! -- we’ll discuss on the ShiftZen Tech blog next week), let’s be honest: Yelp.com matters. But while you might feel helpless at times, there are plenty of things you can do -- and NOT do -- that can help you win the Yelp battle. Let’s jump right in:

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Control what you can control.

Look, Yelp happens. You’re going to get some bad reviews you don’t deserve and some good reviews just because a patron had too much wine, and we all know how that goes. All you can do is 1) run the business the best you can and 2) try to respond as best you can when facing a negative review. Which leads us to…

DO NOT MAKE IT WORSE (i.e. The Streisand Effect)

Whatever you do after you read that scathing review, do not respond right away. Breath. Relax. Do not complain. Do not make it personal. Do not go to social media. Do not upcharge them. Do not ban them (for the review, anyway). Do not sue. And for the love of good food do. not. sue. Did I mention don’t sue?

No matter how bad this review may be, what could be worse? MAKING IT WORSE! So don’t. You don’t want to end up in the next viral Tosh.0 video on YouTube or Comedy Central as the restaurant from hell. And, let’s be honest, it just looks bad. You’re the professional here, right?

Yelp has a whole section on this.

Why turn the other cheek? Because you can turn this into positive!

Here’s the thing. Social media and the web can have a double-edged effect these days. Sometimes the complainer becomes the complained-about. If a patron leaves a completely ridiculous review on your restaurant, you might even get some good publicity out of it. In fact, it happens all the time. This is why you should keep your cool at all times! Find someone tech savvy, funny or who can write well in your staff and craft a good response. Heck, even go to social media with it -- just keep it light-hearted, professional and classy, and you can’t go wrong. Don’t react angrily! You’ll lose every time.

Seriously, the push back on some of these can be huge. Stay professional, laugh it off, and your bad Yelp review could be getting you positive publicity. And at the very least, it didn’t get worse. Restaurants are going to have a few bad reviews.

This also doesn’t take into account the possibility of a “false” Yelp review, for which there are also ways to deal with, such as contacting Yelp.com.

And of course, we’re not know it alls here either, so here are a few other reads on the topic of dealing with a nasty Yelp review:

entrepreneur.com 
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