Responding to Yelp Reviews: Do’s and Don’ts

Reading Yelp reviews can be a large boost to your ego or cause you to question everything you know and love. The positive and negative reviews on the famous review website can be cause for celebration or mourning.

Responding to Yelp reviews is something any business owner should do, but very carefully.  A wrong comment or misconstrued statement could wind up spiraling out of control and causing unforeseen consequences.

Here are tips to consider when responding to Yelp reviews

Do: Reply to all reviews, positive and negative

Replying to all your reviews, or as many as you can, set up lines of communication between you (your business) and your customers. Allow your customers to feel appreciated and they’ll keep coming back to you. Happy customers also bring extra business to you. Replying to your critics is a bit tricky but seeing their point of view and allowing them to see yours could help you grow your business.

Don’t: Use the same response over and over again

Customers will be quick to notice if you just copy and paste the same generic reply to all their differing concerns. If they take their time to praise what they like specifically or critique what they don’t like, you need to give much more than a cookie cutter, ready-made response.  A response template can be used but try tailoring your replies for each customer.

Do: Admit fault when necessary

A good habit to get into when responding to Yelp reviews is to apologize. As an entrepreneur, it may be hard for you to admit fault, but an apology can be the quickest way towards resolving the situation.  A vast majority of customers will react favorably when apologized to, which will increase the chances that they will return and patronize your business again. Of course, not all situations will necessitate an apology; sometimes, the customers would prefer prompt, restorative actions like refunds or discounts.

Don’t: Use Offensive Language

Yelp reviews of your business might contain crude expletives, racial slurs, and language that solely intends to offend you as a business owner. When replying, you need to rise above all of that and avoid replying in a vile manner. Your integrity as a business owner is always on the line when you step into the public eye. Make sure that your language reflects the kind of business you run.

Do: Be patient with negative reviews

It is impossible to please everybody in the world at the same time with the same product. That doesn’t mean that you need to go off on someone who has a negative review of your business. The reviewer might be wrong or insolent; you’ll still need to keep a level head in your reply. If necessary, step away from the computer to clear your head and get an associate or colleague to review your reply before you publish it.

Don’t: Take too long to respond

Business reviews might seem like an issue you can put off while you handle more pressing concerns, but that costs you some ancillary benefits of Yelp. Responding to Yelp reviews increases your visibility online, which increases interest in your business and results in increased traffic, on the web, and on foot.  As such, you should make replying to Yelp reviews a priority.

Do: Acknowledge the reviewer

Not all reviews are going to demand an in-depth explanation of your business model or require a very elaborate and profuse gesture of gratitude. Sometimes, a review is just a basic and simple statement that compliments your business. In those situations, you can show your appreciation by dropping a simple “Thank you” in the comment section, or by giving the review a “thumbs up.” It may not look like much, but the little things count too.

Don’t: Be dismissive

A dangerous habit to fall into is to dismiss or ignore the negative Yelp reviews you receive. Sure, some of the time you’re getting trolled, or the reviewer is being unreasonable with his or her expectations. But some negative reviews will list genuine issues that you will need to take note of. So, it’s crucial that you go over all the negative reviews and find those that offer constructive criticism or show genuine problems that you have overlooked.


All in all, responding to Yelp reviews can be a huge boost for you and your business when done properly. By observing these dos and don’ts, you can make Yelp work for you and improve your customer relations.

LightHouse Graphics is a Yelp Authorized Agency and one of the first to do a pilot program with the site. Interested in taking your Yelp presence to the next level? We have the tools and resources to help you make the most of your profile and implement successful, performance-based ads. Contact us today.