Need help with Yelp?

by Suresh Srinivasan on Oct 11, 2010

I recently received this letter from a concerned business owner asking for help with a review of his business on Yelp.

He felt strongly that the negative review about him was fraud, but Yelp was filtering the positive reviews and left the negative one front & center. He felt helpless and was pleading for assistance because it was harming his reputation and business.

This brings up a good point about reviews & review sites in general. You (real estate Brokers, Agents & Offices) should be vigilantly monitoring sites like Yelp for reviews about your business (especially negative ones) because left unchecked they can cause a lot of harm to your business.

Review sites have become wildly popular because they make it to compare businesses or service providers before deciding which to choose. The problem is that anonymous review sites like Yelp are easily abused. Someone’s competitor can easily post crank reviews of them or post extremely flattering reviews of themselves. Yelp works hard to filter bogus reviews but they don’t catch them all.

2 tips immediately come to mind to combat negative reviews:

1) Always be collecting your own reviews, get them verified & share them everywhere. This is probably the one that will give your business the highest payback over time. Make it a habit to collect real feedback from your customers and share that feedback (your endorsements) everywhere. These endorsements can also be ‘verified legitimate’ by a 3rd party service like ReachFactor.

Once you have them, promote endorsements on your website, make sure they’re announced on Facebook and Twitter, and make sure the endorsements are easily indexed by Google (Google shows endorsements in Pages and map results). You want as many positive statements about you appearing in as many places as possible online.

Sound hard? It’s not — ReachFactor was specifically created to automate the endorsement-gathering-and-disseminating process for real estate professionals. You can use it to collect endorsements for free, forever.

2) Don’t be quiet. Be sure to comment on negative reviews in a thoughtful, professional manner. If you suspect the review may have been posted by a competitor ask the reviewer to post proof they’ve used you before. People reading review sites want to hear the entire story, so be transparent and ask the reviewer to be transparent also. If they’re perpetrating a fraud, chances are good they’ll go silent and it’ll become apparent to anyone reading your reviews who was telling the truth. A negative review is a chance to show future customers how you handle customer service – it’s another opportunity to shine.

Can you think of other ways to handle negative reviews (real or not)? Let us know!

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