5 Bad Excuses for Avoiding Yelp Reviews for Business

You know what sucks? People’s opinions. Yeah. They’re just out there on the Internet. Ruining everything! And it sucks that websites like Yelp are so accepting of these critical reviews. As a business owner you work really hard to cater to your customers, and a couple bad eggs are making you look like the experience from hell.

Well, I have some news for you. Actually it’s not news at all. You’ve probably heard it plenty of times especially if you’re a brick-and-mortar shop in competition with the business down the street. So here is it: It’s time to start caring about Yelp reviews and stop avoiding them.

Can we still be friends? Listen. I understand your excuses for not giving the time of day to those wretched customers smearing your name online, but I also have an answer to your problem. Here are 5 bad excuses for avoiding Yelp for your business and how to overcome them to increase your rating:

1. “Yelp is filtering out all my positive reviews! I won’t work with a network that deprecates businesses.”

Sometimes it’s a little difficult to trust a company if only 3 star or less reviews are being incorporated into your overall score. The positive Yelp reviews are on another page of the site, not where most users will see them. There’s a reason why they do this and it’s not to bring your business down. There is absolutely no tolerance for solicited reviews on the site. So to maintain the integrity of Yelp and its reviews, each user experience goes through an approval process before shared with the network. Should Yelp corporate (the big guys in San Francisco) find a review or trend of reviews to be a little fishy, they’ll automatically go into the filtered review section. That’s not to say it will never count though. These reviews go in and out of filter every day. So it may be easier to say “Yelp sucks” but it’s likely an issue on your end that you should investigate and try to correct.

2. “I checked the negative reviews for my business and they’re all from people who only have one or two reviews. They must not be reliable.”

Wrong. The average user does not spend their days writing review after review on Yelp. The number of reviews they have previously posted has nothing to do with their reliability. In most cases, someone does not bother to review an establishment unless they had an absolutely phenomenal experience or the complete opposite. So that’s what you can expect from people who don’t review often. They’re going to speak only when they feel passionately to do so. If you get a passionate reviewer and it wasn’t because you were a rock star that day, read with an open mind. Likely that person had a terrible day and took it out on a small mistake or missed expectations. Why not be the bigger person and give them the benefit of the doubt? You have a great opportunity of turning a ‘Negative Nancy‘ into a brand advocate by reach out and saying you’d love to have them back for a second chance. Often, they’re shocked you were even listening.

3. “People who write reviews have no life and just troll the Internet from their dark bedrooms. Waste of my time to worry about it.”

If that were true. I wouldn’t be writing this post. Waste of my time to explain further. Get over that.

4. “I don’t have time to monitor online reviews.”

If you want to beat the guy up the street from getting your business, you have time to monitor your Yelp reviews. The reality is that many Yelp users aren’t even writing reviews. They just want to use the site to see what other people are saying about local businesses and decide where to take their business based on that information. If you have 2 stars compared to 4.5 stars from your competition, you’re losing business. I guarantee it. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the people whose reviews are worth your time. (If someone wasn’t fond of the carpet in your restaurant, they probably also call themselves a “foodie”. You can ignore them.) Make a point to apologize and offer a discounted rate for a second chance. No they’re not paying full price and you can’t tell them to write a new review in return, but they were never coming back otherwise. Think long-term and you’ll get loyal customers in your establishment who think the same.

5. “If they would have just asked for the manager like a normal person, I would have fixed it. But I won’t reach out to them because they resorted to the Internet.”

That’s not how things work anymore. People have an introvert-friendly outlet now. If they’re displeased, they want to make sure none of their friends has to feel that way either so they’re going to share it online. Whose who have a hard time standing behind their opinion in person are going to use the outlet their comfortable with and there’s nothing you can do to change that. All you can do is be present for the conversation and do your best to maintain a positive and exciting reputation for you business. Do your best at that, and you’ll come up on top every time.

What do you think of the Yelp Reviews system?



photo credit: Krissy.Venosdale via photo pin cc


  1. AndrewWoo

    I rely a lot on Yelp when I’m in a new place looking for something, or I use it to confirm that a recommended restaurant is good.
    The coolest thing about Yelp if you’re a brick and mortar is that most of your competition probably doesn’t know that much about Yelp or the internet for that matter. This is something you can take advantage of to dominate your niche

  2. rjabulon

    I use it religiously, if the reviews are not 4 star averages and up, I will try to avoid it. If they are 4 stars and up, I will most likely will check all the 3 star reviews of the brick and mortar shop, especially if the review is recent, and detailed in their account. Those factors plus proximity to my exact location might persuade me from not checking it out.
    I do believe it is important for a business to check their online presence, which includes reviews, recommendations either on yelp, trip advisor, google places, or any other social platform. It greatly helps if you see a business caring so much about their own standards, that they literally will go out of the way to turn that negative press into a positive delightful experience. 

    1.  @rjabulon Thank you for sharing your preference as a user. I don’t know if businesses understand how heavily that star review weighs in on your decision. It’s certainly huge for me and I know a lot of other people too, not just power users. Appreciate your input and hope to see you around more often!

  3. LilyStarling

    I agree with you totally! Yelp is not going away, no matter how much business owners complain about it. It’s time for businesses to shift their mindset away from feeling victimized by social review platforms, of which Yelp is just one, and do what they can to positively engage the customer when they have had a bad experience.
    I always cringe when I see an owner respond defensively or dismissively to a 1 or 2 star review. It can be hurtful and upsetting to receive a bad review for your business, but a successful business person separates their ego from their reviews and does their best to make the customer feel heard.
    I would caution, per Yelp guidelines, never to offer a customer free or discounted services or goods *publicly.* There is a private message feature. The best use of the public response is to apologize, own your part of it, express sincere desire to keep your customers thrilled at all times, and say, “I’ll be in touch with you to make this right.” Offering free stuff publicly can encourage other less than ethical people to trash a business in hopes of free stuff.

    1.  @LilyStarling You’re absolutely right. It’s better to have the conversation more in an “offline” fashion if possible and try to correct. But the biggest thing in terms of staying Yelp-friendly is that you can’t directly solicit a new review. Anything you do to gain back that business should be an effort for something bigger, a long-term fix of correcting on your end and having the opportunity to be awesome and stand out. Use Yelp to make your biggest fans. Thanks for your thoughts, Lily! Hope to see you around more often!

        1. Schmittastic

          @runnerkik i don’t know if help is the right word. they show up high in search but if they suck that’s not good for the business.

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