Social proof and customer reviews are an important component of any successful online marketing strategy. Whether you are a small business, a franchise or a B2B company, managing Yelp reviews should be a consistent part of your online marketing plan.

Why respond to reviews on Yelp?

When you respond to a Yelp review, you are showing current and potential customers that you care and value their feedback — and are always looking to improve.A business who is engaged with their customers appeals to potential customers. In a crowded marketplace, you can stand out from the crowd by showing potential customers how you treat existing customers.

Consider these statistics:

If you are worried about negative reviews, you shouldn’t be — you can manage them and alleviate any damage by handling them quickly and effectively. By proactively managing Yelp reviews, you are in control of your customer service (not the other way around).

Make Yelp a part of your day

Motivational speakers say that it takes 21 days to form a habit (less than a month!). If the weather can change in that short of a timeframe, adding one small practice into your day becomes 100% feasible. And that’s what you need to do — make Yelp review management as a part of your day.

It’s easiest to include Yelp review management as part of your day when you schedule your social media. Just like you want to post on Facebook and tweet regularly, you want to check on your page for any new Yelp reviews. If you use a tool like Vivial, your Social Inbox will notify you when you have a new review to respond to (taking away a few extra steps in the process).

You won’t have Yelp reviews to respond to every day, but when they do come in, the faster you respond, the sooner customer issues or misunderstandings can be solved.

When positive Yelp reviews come through, you should make it a point to thank the reviewer. Your customers are voluntarily sharing their experience(s) with your business and you should acknowledge that they took the time to do so. Could you imagine if a customer came into your location, provided you with positive feedback and then you just turned around and walked in the other direction without acknowledging them? You would never do that! However, by not responding to positive reviews on Yelp, you are ignoring your customers on the Internet.

Best practices for responding to Yelp reviews

One consistent fear I hear from local business owners is that, by using Yelp, they will only get negative reviews and open themselves up to losing business — a complete myth! Yes, negative reviews do happen…but over half of reviews are 4 or 5-star reviews and the other 44% can always change!

You would never turn away new customers because they might not like products or services, right? That would be crazy! Give your business an extra SEO boost and exposure online by opening your door to new business on Yelp, but do it knowing how to provide customer service.
yelp review response formula

You didn’t open your business without knowing your products and services, and likewise, you shouldn’t join a review network without understanding the best way to communicate. On Yelp, you need to know how best to respond to reviews. There are three types of reviews: positive, moderate and negative and each should be answered with essentially the same formula:

There are three types of reviews: positive, moderate and negative and each should be answered with essentially the same formula:

  1. Acknowledge their review
  2. Take the conversation offline
  3. Resolve the case

POSITIVE YELP REVIEWS

A positive Yelp review needs to acknowledge what the customer is saying and thank them. It follows the above formula because your recognize what the customer is saying and skip to point three, where the review has been resolved. Yelp does not recommend every review be responded to, but will allow you to respond to as many reviews you like.

You may want to respond just to the reviews where you can include keywords specific to your business to build more SEO value on your page.
response positive yelp reviews

MODERATE YELP REVIEWS

Moderate Yelp reviews are where customers gave you 3 stars, they were a bit underwhelmed with your business and are the easiest to move from moderate to positive. Respond to their message, acknowledging any downsides they pointed out and offering to continue the conversation offline. Once you have spoken to them, away from the public eye, try to mitigate any issues they may have had and, if resolved amicably, ask them to reassess their review (more on this later).

Respond to their message, acknowledging any downsides they pointed out and offer to continue the conversation offline. Once you have spoken to them (away from the public eye) try to mitigate any issues they may have had and, if resolved amicably, ask them to reassess their review (more on this later).
moderate yelp reviews response

NEGATIVE YELP REVIEWS

The most important reviews to respond to are the negative reviews. The customer felt strongly enough to go on Yelp leave a response, so you need to listen to their concerns and acknowledge their issues (even if it someone complaining their coffee was too hot). You never want customers to have a poor experience and by empathizing and apologizing to them, you are showing them that their negative experience was not acceptable (or the norm) to your business.

Once you apologize online, suggest that you speak offline about the matter directly (phone or email). Once you can speak with them in private, get the details of what happened and work with them so that this issue doesn’t occur again.
negative yelp reviews response

Take action

With every Yelp review, there will be the opportunity to take action. Your business can’t just talk the talk, it needs to walk the walk, too.

Reviews allow you to get free feedback about your business and customer satisfaction, so take advantage of it! Whatever someone complained about, work to improve — prove to the customer that left a negative review that you are working on the issue and to show future customers you take reviews seriously and with consideration.

Ask former reviewers to update their review

33% of negative reviews will turn positive if you respond to them, but they might not be prompted to revise their original review on their own. When you work with a reviewer to improve their experience, ask them to change their Yelp review if they are satisfied.

Don’t request this lightly. If the customer still seems emotional about their experience, asking them may be a fruitless endeavor, but if you’ve come to an amicable resolution, asking them to update their review will cause no harm.


If you haven’t claimed your business location on Yelp, get started today! Begin collecting and responding to Yelp reviews to show potential customers that you not only care about your business, but each and every customer you serve.