How to fix your Yelp rating

Eight surefire techniques you can employ today

Is your business suffering from negative Yelp reviews? Are your positive Yelp reviews getting delisted and marked as “not recommended” by Yelp? Here are eight surefire steps you can take today.

Step One — Engage the Team

  • Each employee should download the Yelp mobile app (have them include a headshot, connect their Facebook account, and add a few friends).
  • Each employee should review the establishment making it clear they work there while giving an honest review of the working conditions, management, and the customers. Don’t ask them to review the establishment, but explain that if they do review the establishment their review MUST be honest, accurate, and not misleading (i.e. pretending they are a customer).
  • Each employee should read every old review (the good and bad) with the goal of understanding what they’re doing right and what they can improve. Each week at a team meeting highlight a positive review and a negative review and ask the team for their thoughts and suggestions.
  • Each employee should ‘vote’ for the most positive reviews in the Yelp mobile app (useful, funny, and/or cool).

Step Two — Activate The Account

  • Select the BEST corporate representative to serve as the Yelp POC
  • Provide accurate and well written descriptions
  • Add great pictures

Step Three — Engage Old Reviewers

  • DM negative reviewers with custom responses
  • PM negative reviewers with more general responses
  • PM positive reviewers with a custom thank you
  • Use the “Thank Button” will all positive reviews

Step Four — Engage “Not Recommended” Reviews

  • Reach out to positive reviewers that are “not recommended” with ideas to help them get their review counted by Yelp (suggest they use mobile app, add picture, connect FB, add reviews to a few other establishments they’ve been to recently, and only then edit/update their old review)
  • NEVER engage negative reviews that are unlisted

Step Five — Engage Reviewers On a Go Forward Basis

  • PM each positive review within 12 hours
  • Thank Button each positive review within 2 hours (Yelp POC should have Yelp for Business mobile app so they can do this on the go)
  • DM each negative review with custom response within 12 hours
  • Remind staff to “upvote” positive reviews at least once a week during team meeting where you discuss positive and negative reviews

Step Six — Engage Vendors

  • Provide positive Yelp review to each of your vendors (make your review honest relative to your relationship — i.e. they provide the best fruit for our restaurant). Suggest that your employees who deal with these vendors do the same.
  • Reach out to them, but don’t ask for reviews. Instead simply explain that if they do return the favor and recommend your business their review should be honest, accurate, and not misleading. Suggest that if they do review your business relative to their relationship with your business (i.e. not as a customer but as a vendor). PRIMARY GOAL — 100% honesty and transparency.

Step Seven — Engage Friends

  • Reach out to your friends who have been to your establishment. Ask them if they use Yelp but don’t ask them to review your business. But make it clear that if they do review your business that their review is an accurate and honest review of your establishment.
  • Engage their review, if any, as per normal.

Step Eight — Report Negative Reviews that violate Yelp TOS

  • Use of profanity (these get removed easily)
  • Use of name of employee who is not a owner (these get removed fast)
  • Use of threats or just super rude reviews (these get removed often)
  • Reviews by disgruntled former employees and their friends/relatives (this is hard to prove but worth reporting)

What not to do:

  • Read Yelp’s TOS and don’t violate them.
  • Don’t ask for reviews.
  • Never offer to bribe or pay customers for positive reviews.

If you need help send me a private message or an email detailing your issue and I’ll let you know if we can help you fix your Yelp rating.

About The Author

Alexander Muse

Alexander Muse is a serial entrepreneur, author of the StartupMuse, contributor to Forbes and managing partner of Sumo. Check out his podcast on iTunes. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.