Getting negative feedback on your self storage business is tough. You work hard to make your storage facility a place where renters experience convenience, modern features and great customer service, so when you’re perusing your reviews on Yelp, you assume that they’ll reflect that. And even if most of your Yelp reviews are glowing, there’s bound to be at least one that’s, shall we say, less than five stars.
But what if you encounter a negative review that’s also inaccurate? Maybe the customer is describing a situation that didn’t happen, maybe the customer is a former employee looking for revenge, or maybe the review was mistakenly written for your storage facility when it was meant for the one across the street. Whatever the situation, if your storage facility has received an inaccurate review on Yelp, here are the answers to all of your questions.
After your initial reaction to the inaccurate Yelp review (which likely contains some four-letter words we can’t print), you’re probably wondering how you can get the incorrect assessment of your storage facility taken down.
According to Yelp, you can report a review for inaccuracy, but this doesn’t mean it will be removed. Here are some signs that you’ve got a good case for removal:
The review contains a threat. If the review threatens you, one of your employees or your business with violence, report it immediately. This includes hate speech.
The review was written by a competitor. Does the name on the review match the name of a manager at a competing storage facility? Yelp frowns upon this strongly, especially if that reviewer is directing your customers to his storage facility’s website.
The review was written by a former employee. If you recently fired an employee and they’ve decided to rant about it in the form of a Yelp review, Yelp needs to know.
The review includes a bribe. No well-intentioned customer should include the phrase “I’ll take this review down if the storage facility gives me free rent” in their review.
The review is about the wrong storage facility. Hey, it happens. Your storage facility is named “Awesome Self Storage” and the reviewer left a negative rating meant for a facility called “Amazing Self Storage.” If you can prove that this is a mistake, this is worth reporting.
For a better idea of what constitutes a violation of terms of service, check out Yelp’s content guidelines before reporting a review.
Yelp values “passionate, personal narratives.” This is a website that puts their reviewers first and loves freedom of speech, so before proceeding, ask yourself if the review is truly inaccurate.
Give yourself a moment to cool off and take a second look at the review. If the review is written by a known customer of your storage facility who is describing a situation that did happen, it’s not typically enough to simply disagree with their categorization of it. You may remember the situation different, but there’s a good chance Yelp won’t be swayed by your opinion. If the review is the result of a misunderstanding between your storage facility’s staff and the customer, it may be time for additional training to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
If you haven’t already claimed your business on Yelp, this is your first step. Once that’s taken care of, sign in and find the review in question. Click “report this review.” Provide evidence that this review is false, if possible. For example, if a review claims that your storage facility doesn’t offer boat storage and you do in fact offer this service, refer to your website or your online storage listings.
After you’ve submitted your report, Yelp will take several days to evaluate whether or not the review should be removed. Check your email for updates. If the review is removed, you and the reviewer will both be notified.
Respond publically. This is the best way to share your side of the story. Simply go to the review and click “add public comment” to leave a brief response. Just make sure you do it in a way that is extremely—and we mean extremely—polite and professional. Resorting to insults will only make you look worse. If you’re not sure what to say or you’re still feeling angry, take a deep breath and read our guide to responding to reviews.
Respond in a direct message. A direct message is literally just you talking to the reviewer via Yelp. Proceed with caution if you take this route. You should only message the reviewer if there is zero bad blood between the two of you. For example, if you’re dealing with a customer who left a negative review for the wrong business, a gentle reminder of this via direct message is acceptable.
Respond via phone or in person. If the review was left by a known customer and you have their contact information, politely offer them the opportunity to discuss their concerns on the phone or the next time they’re at your storage facility.
Ask Yelp to take another look. If you’re seriously surprised that Yelp let that inaccurate review fly, contact support and ask them to take another look. You may also report the same review again if you have new information to support your claim.
Even if there’s no chance that the customer will take down their review, there’s a chance that Yelp’s algorithm will deem it irrelevant, which will make it harder for people to see.
In rare cases, businesses sue over negative reviews. This is, however, a drastic measure to take and success is almost impossible. Sueing could actually bring more attention to the negative review and will cost your business time and money. In addition to your own legal bills, you may wind up on the hook for the reviewer’s legal fees and Yelp’s legal fees. And how much do a big corporation’s legal fees cost? You do not want to find out the hard way.
A negative review can put a dent in your storage facility’s online reputation, but if you’re diligent about hiring quality people, reinforcing training, maintaining your facility and addressing the needs of your tenants, plenty of positive reviews will come along in no time to drown out the bad ones. Give your new and existing customers great service and great storage options, and you’ll be five out of five stars to them.