How to Remove Negative/Fake Yelp Reviews and Complaints?
Source – Yelp
Yelp.com is a website run by Yelp from its headquarters in San Francisco, US. The main objective of the site and the App is to provide public reviews for different kinds of services and products. Anyone can write, edit and update a comment here. Since these reviews are open-to-read, anyone can access the site and go through the mixed reviews.
In the digital world today, anyone and everyone can review your business and leave a comment online. Yelp.com and the Yelp App is a forum where people come and share their experiences upfront. Hence businesses can expect a mix of positive, negative and neutral comments here. While positive reactions and feedback from customers are motivating factors behind a successful business, there should be some amount of negative reactions and criticism too. It is natural for a business to seek to remove Yelp reviews that sound downbeat and fake, but businesses need to take this decision with prudence and after much afterthought. Even though criticism can hit below the belt, it is important to have such reviews too in order to keep improving. No business entity is perfect – hence a page full or praises and positive remarks can seem doubtful for a new customer wanting to know more about your business and offerings; vis-à-vis a page that is a mixed bag with some good and enthusiastic comments and some not-so-cool reviews. Customers tend to trust such pages more because they seem real and authentic.
At the same time, an overload of pessimistic and downbeat comments is surely going to be harmful to your online business, especially on a platform like Yelp that is meant for the free exchange of feedback and reviews. This is where the business needs to get down to a few basic detailing and take a call to keep such comments, edit them or go in for yelp review removal.
Bad reviews on Yelp
These are reviews that are seriously going to harm your business’s online reputation, brand equity and finally the sales. It is estimated that almost 145 million visitors visit yelp – website and App – every month and there are about 148 million reviews (total) on the site. Research also proves that almost 80% of these visitors come to the site because they are potential online buyers. Bad reviews can take them away from your brand. And over a period, such pessimistic reviews can also impact the search results of your brand. Invariably, at the end of the day, it is your business that is going to be punished badly for such negative and false reviews. Hence bad reviews need to be monitored thoroughly and the exercise of negative Yelp review removal needs to be done as and when it seems right and deem fit.
Fake and downbeat reviews are the result of –
- An unsatisfied customer who didn’t have a very pleasing shopping experience.
- A mistake that happened by chance and unintentionally.
- Mismatch in customer expectation vis-à-vis product and service attributes.
- Genuine feedback from customers who wish good for your business.
The first thing that businesses need to understand, and control is their immediate reactions to such fake and negative comments. These are a few things your online business should certainly not do when faced with such pessimism –
- Abstain from fighting back with the customer. At the end of the day, if your business is customer-centric you cannot afford to sound rude and impolite. This way you may distance the other customers who are watching the conversation online.
- Never get into paid reviews. This can set a wrong precedent and cause permanent damage to your brand if customers get to know of it.
- Don’t react by spamming the page with good and bright reviews. Too much of goody-goody comments can make other customers suspicious and eventually harm your business.
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Fake and negative Yelp review removal
Yelp has strict content guidelines for bad or false Yelp reviews. Any remark on the business directory page that is close to the below-mentioned rules and regulations can be removed or requested for removal.
- Reviews from people who are not customers, or the review are not highlighting a customer-centric viewpoint. Unhappy ex-employees, people with personal differences with your staff or the management, and competitors often tend to leave false or misconstrued remarks and these need to be flagged off.
- Reviews that have been unknowingly posted by customers on an incorrect business page.
- Reviews copied from elsewhere.
- When the remark does not have a personal experience attached to it.
- When a review is added onto the top of an existing review with the purpose of starting a heated discussion.
- Reviews that discuss the policies of the business rather than personal customer experience.
- Reviews that name or mention the address of staff members or employees of the business.
- Reviews that appear to be threats or are filled with hatred or are communal in tone and language.
- Reviews that are filled with lewd and vulgar language.
Steps to remove Yelp reviews: –
- The first and the most essential step in the process is to claim and take the onus of the Yelp page and your business profile. How to do so? Update all relevant business-related information; upload impressive and appealing images of your business and products/services. Doing so will help clear the ambiguity in the minds of potential customers who read all reviews pertaining to your business. It will also help you in responding back to the writer as well as report the comment to Yelp’s review team.
- The next best thing to do is to reply to the reviewer. In fact, experts suggest this method as one of the best ways to handle a negative remark. This way not only are you trying to address the reviewer’s issue upfront, but you are also leaving an optimistic impression on others who are reading the review.
- The next step in the process of yelp review removal is to report reviews that conflict with Yelp’s mentioned guidelines. In order to do so, here are the steps:
a. Notice the three dots beside the remark. These are meant for ‘report view’. Click on these dots and choose the reason for request of removal.
b. Wait to hear from the review team. Yelp moderators will assess the comment thoroughly before deciding to keep it or remove it.
c. The decision will be informed to you as soon as the way forward is decided. Meanwhile, you can keep a check on the status by taking your mouse over the flag icon.
d. Often, yelp decides against removing a negative comment but hide the same.<
The point to be noted here is that not many times, a seemingly bad review may not get removed by Yelp. In such cases, you can decide to take the legal route but should be done if the comments or remarks have the potential to hit your business badly or defame your brand. Going to the court is not only expensive; you need to have the evidence to prove the adverse effect of the review in court. This will also result in getting unwanted attention to your online business. However, if the court decides in your favor, you need to update the Yelp support team to remove yelp review.
Additionally, you can opt for online reputation management services to maintain your business reputation.