Reputation management online has become a major challenge based on the ever-expanding online universe, especially for a business. You have to monitor everything from Yelp to Twitter, then everything in-between, including such places as Trip Advisor where reviews can also be scathing. It's Yelp, though, where the scathing reviews are sometimes a problem for businesses who feel frustrated by the review process. While the rumors still go on that Yelp continues to bump positive reviews for businesses refusing Yelp advertising, it seems finding complete peace there is impossible. But that might change with a new feature Yelp is adding for businesses.
In the world of reputation management, how you're perceived by the customer is going to be paramount. That's why a recently added direct message feature on Yelp between reviewer and the business may be able to help create better communication to help inspire better reviews.
The only question is whether it's going to help create a truce between Yelp and businesses or if some irate customers might abuse this message system with threats.
Much of this can get worked out with the business taking quick actions when it comes to answering a direct message from someone who writes a negative review.
Direct Messaging as an Option
Keep in mind that this direct messaging feature on Yelp is only an option and can be turned off. For businesses dealing with negative reviews recently, though, it might be a good idea to give the feature a try. The reason is because you can address problems head-on rather than just leaving comments on negative reviews. While the comment section can be a good spot to rebut a negative review, there isn't any guarantee the person who wrote the review is even going to come back to read your comment.
When someone sends a personal message to a business through Yelp, they'll get an estimation of when you might respond, which might be psychology in action. Regardless, as part of your reputation management program, responding as soon as possible is certainly going to play a major factor in what the outcome of a negative review might be.
Will the Internal Communication Help Negative Reviews?
The sooner you can respond to a negative comment or question, the better on Yelp. No doubt many businesses aren't going to bother with the feature and just turn it off out of fear of what kind of messages they'll receive. You shouldn't be that way, because a direct pipeline to someone who wrote a negative review about your business can very possibly change that person's mind. When you assure them you've solved the problem they wrote about, they may be apt to change their negative review to a positive one.
Other than those who write negative comments out of spite, it's worth your while to respond to anyone constructively. If some of them are lost causes, you may be able to turn the tide enough where negative reviews become more of a minority than being seen more than half the time.
Hopefully Yelp will provide a report button if anyone writes with a threatening note that claims they'll write a negative review if you don't give them something in return. In those instances, you'll know which ones to ignore since there's no use responding to someone doing something deliberately negative.
Here at Crowd Siren, part of our goal is to be your best business reputation manager. We'll monitor every angle of the net, including any new features on Yelp. Work with us, and we'll help you navigate Yelp's new private messaging system with expert tips on how to respond.
Contact us to find out more about our comprehensive services in helping businesses succeed using the integration of traditional and online media.
By: Todd Levy