How to Remove A Negative Yelp Review?

You don’t have a delete button to get rid of a negative Yelp review, but you’ve got some options:

Respond Quickly
If you think a reviewer can be reasoned with, respond to his grievances promptly and professionally. If you take the time to make things right, you have a very good chance of getting an unhappy reviewer to change his mind.

“Nine out of ten will have a better experience, and will amend, edit, or delete the review,” according to Flagship Restaurant Group (FSR Magazine). 

Dealing with a potentially angry customer can be a delicate process, and people are far more aggressive behind the keyboard. So when you do respond, stay calm, listen, be direct and follow through. Click here for more tips on how to respond to a negative Yelp review.

Bury It
Prospective customers will have a tougher time focusing on a negative review if positive ones overshadow it.  Here are some tips on how to get positive reviews on Yelp.

UPDATE: Burying reviews by soliciting for positive ones is a big no-no.  In fact, it is against Yelp’s terms of service to ask for any reviews.

Flag It
A negative review may be in violation of Yelp’s Content Guidelines. In that case, you can flag the review to alert Yelp administrators. Such reviews may include slurs, comments on anything that is not relevant to the business, or explicit statements that their review is a second-hand experience. If the review violates Yelp’s guidelines, it will be deleted in three to five business days. But keep in mind that flagging a reviews is no guarantee that the review will be removed. Removal is Yelp’s discretion.

Sue? 😐
Your final option is a lawsuit. (Cue “Law & Order” gavel). If a comment is a blatant lie that is slandering your business, you may have a case. A Yelper in 2011 was found guilty of defamation after posting a scathing review on a contractor’s Yelp page. So it can work. But of course, it’s a lawsuit, i.e. very time consuming and costly with no guarantees you’ll win.

Minnesota Nice

Hey y’all.  Some of you may have caught me on Minnesota Public Radio this morning sharing a “shallow” dive analysis on Minnesota restaurant reviews and why they rate higher than the other metros from our regional analysis (see blog post titled We Made It to Regionals!).  At the time we  wrote the regional analysis, we didn’t have any good hypotheses for why Minnesota restaurants came out on top.  But after more snooping around, we found some evidence that points to a little bit of “Minnesota Nice” influencing the reviews.  (For those of you who are not familiar with the phrase, it describes stereotypical behavior of native Minnesotans to be courteous and mild-mannered).  Here’s the “shallow” dive analysis shared on the air.

Passive Aggressive Behavior, Quantified

The Minnesota Nice stereotype encompasses passive aggressive behavior.  Ya know, “I really liked your blahblahblah, BUT maybe next time you can meeglemorf instead?  Just a suggestion!”  Or something like that.  So one hypothesis is that maybe Minnesotans don’t give lower ratings out of politeness, even though they do have complaints.

To check this out, we did a quick count of reviews that contained conjunction words like “but”, “although” and “however” that would suggest a critique was on its way after a compliment, and we did this for 3 (out of 5) star reviews because those seemed like they could have been rated lower had a tougher critic been writing the review.  For Minnesota, 58% of 3 star reviews contained at least one of those words.  For Georgia, Massachusetts and Los Angeles, that number was 48%.  Passive aggressive, indeed.

Non-Minnesotans Give Lower Ratings to Minnesota Restaurants

A spot check of the Yelp reviews for 15 Minnesota restaurants showed that non-Minnesotans rated those restaurants lower — an average of 3.27 out of 5 stars versus 3.4 overall.   Now, 15 data points is not a lot of data, and 0.13 is not a huge spread.  But it points the same way as the other analyses — Minnesotans leave higher ratings.  And it takes away from the argument that Minnesota restaurants in our regional analysis were simply better than those in the other metros.

Cultural differences is probably not the only factor accounting for this spread, but it’s our best (or at least most interesting) guess at this point.  Perhaps an analysis of Massholes is our next step? 😉

State of the Review

Welcome to the Reputology blog!  To kick things off, we present to you the “State of the Review” – an in-depth analysis of online reviewer behavior based on 1,500+ reviews for 350+ restaurant locations who we’ve been monitoring.  

You might think that online restaurant reviews are simply a function of the reviewer’s opinion on food, service and atmosphere.  But we found biases by the review site itself, size of the business, restaurant type, and even cuisine.  And the biases seem large enough to have financial implications.  So along with the results, you’ll find some commentary and hypotheses about why the biases exist and what it means for the business.

Before we delve deep into the juicy details, let’s establish some baseline facts:

avg # of reviews per week 3-29-2013

overall rating distribution 3-29-2013

The average restaurant receives about 1 new review every week.   Though the majority of reviewers give good ratings, on average, over 1 in 3 of those reviews is lukewarm if not flat out negative, i.e. 3 stars or less.

Contact us for a PDF copy of the entire “State of the Review”.