How To Handle Negative Reviews On Yelp

Before Yelp came along, small business owners had not really heard about – or indeed worried about – negative online review for dissatisfied customers. But there is an example of a New York City wedding planner who received a call from a bride-to-be and her fiancé who were both keen to hire her services; “Sure, how can I help and when can we get started?” the planner had asked.


But the wedding planner was about to receive a query which would shock her and the business to the core: the engaged couple were “concerned”. The New York-based planner was unduly not surprised, many customers want the big day to be just right and why would they not demand the highest level of workmanship and detail from a potential contract?


But it wasn’t so much that the wedding planner needed to convince the couple they were the right team for the job, it was more those two negative online reviews that were cause for concern. The wedding planner was shocked, upset and somewhat surprised that someone had “slandered” them online and probed further for information.


The couple declared their confidence in the planner being the “right man for the job” and ended up putting the phone down. Further investigations revealed that Yelp had carried two negative reviews of its business but she was sure only one was genuine. The process to address negative reviews had begun.

At first, she contacted Yelp and asked for the review to be removed, but its policy won’t have none of that. But then she proved that one such review was from a rival competitor, and although a rare case, Yelp did actually remove this review.


But now there was still a harsh review left by a demanding customer who picked holes where they perhaps didn’t exist, so the review site suggested she tackle it head on and “join the conversation”.

By getting involved online, the wedding planner was able to tell her side of the story and let the bigger world out there what she had decided to do with this dissatisfied customer. And it wasn’t to seek out revenge but compromise that managed to win back new customer confidence.


Offer discounts, offer apologies and explain what went wrong and why. This planner got her couple to take up their business with them and yes, they did leave a good review – all because the negative review had been properly addressed.


Please share your thoughts or questions in the comments below – and if you know anyone who would find these tips helpful, please feel free to share!

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