In response to criticism that restaurateurs and other business owners were powerless and frustrated against negative reviews, Yelp has introduced a feature that allows restaurant owners and managers to respond to reviews of their establishments (for both, good or bad).
Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman wrote in a company blog last Thursday:
“Last night we rolled out a highly anticipated feature that allows business owners to publicly comment on their reviews. Already we’ve seen a number of sharp-eyed businesses make good use of this new functionality to provide additional context around specific reviews for the benefit of consumers and yelpers alike.”
The service was created to give business owners a way to answer the criticisms about their businesses in public, instead of the previous system, which required businesses to communicate with users through private messages. The feature is expected to put and end to business owners’ biggest complaint about Yelp: that restaurants and other businesses were almost powerless to respond to negative reviews or unjustified claims.
Business owner comments will be given a more rigorous review than user comments, and Yelp promises to remove any owner-written comments deemed derogatory or attacking their customers.
The company has put up a guide that clarifies what businesses should and should not do with the new system. You can find it here: http://www.yelp.com/business/public_comments
However, before you can use the comment feature, you must claim ownership of your restaurant in Yelp. This process is easy. Just go to www.biz.yelp.com and claim ownership of your restaurant. Then check the reviews about your place and post comments if you see that some of the reviews are unfounded or just malicious. Again, please make sure that you read the guidelines about comments before you post. Try to always be polite and don’t fall into the rathole of starting arguing with your customers. Yelp readers are smart people and they will understand if you had a bad day, but they won’t if you attack personally your former clients.
Good luck and get to it. This is an important opportunity for your restaurant to set things straight.