I'm a fairly social person. Occasionally I'll engage with a local business owner (or manager, service rep, etc) when I really appreciate their service. Here's a couple quick examples...

  • While eating at a local lunch spot, I ended up chatting with the manager. I love the food, but it's always pretty quiet in there.
  • We had our air conditioner replaced, and the guys who did it did a great job. The supervisor was very nice and friendly.
  • Got our car fixed at the local shop down the street. Again, the service was excellent.

In each case, I tell the representative how great the service was, and how much I appreciate it. And in each case, they ask me to write a Yelp review.

This is where I get stuck... because I really do want to write them a good review, they absolutely deserve it. And almost every time, I tell them "sure!" But the sad truth is... I absolutely never write the review. I don't think I've ever written a product review in my life.

I've come to the realization that I will truly never write these reviews. Despite my good intentions, life (and habit) prevents me from ever dedicating time to something like that.

But I am also a person who values honesty. I don't like lying to these folks if I know it's a lie.

Which brings us to the real issue... How should I respond to them?

Option A: Lie to them. Passively agree to write a review, but never actually follow through with it. I don't see any of these people frequently enough to get called out on it.

Option B: Tell them flat out I won't do it. Apologize and let them know that I'm not a "reviews" kinda guy. The conversation could potentially get awkward after that.

This seems to happen fairly frequently these days... I'd love to figure out a good semi-prepared response. Thoughts?

EDIT (moved up from comments)

While I appreciate everyone saying "just do it, it's easy", that kinda misses the entire point. Regardless of how "easy" it is, I have many other factors in my life (work, family, hobbies, etc) that I'd rather dedicate that time towards. Plus the fact that I've never reviewed anything in my life (and therefore have no habit/pattern to build upon), and it's just painfully obvious that I won't be posting a review. So... "just do it" isn't really helping.

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    It shouldn't take a significant amount of time to write a review. In some cases you can just give them a rating. Alternatively you can keep it really short - "Loved the food, friendly staff". The biggest hurdle is probably getting to the point of writing your first one. – NotThatGuy Oct 13 '17 at 5:59
  • @Fildor It seems a bit tangential. The question asks about responding to someone if you don't plan on writing a review. – NotThatGuy Oct 13 '17 at 7:43
  • @NotThatGuy Forget my previous comment. The question title says it - "How to avoid writing Yelp reviews" ... so you are right. – Fildor Oct 13 '17 at 8:11
  • I heavily rely on Yelp reviews, so you are helping others if you write one. You can always copy-and-paste a standard disclosure of, I really want to save time while also leaving a good review, so I highly recommend this place and am only writing a short review to help others, but also use my time wisely. I love .. Short, sweet, and explains why you were leaving a short review. Note this is not an answer, as you wanted to avoid leaving a review, but it helps other users. – FalseHooHa Oct 16 '17 at 14:50
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    While I appreciate everyone saying "just do it, it's easy", that kinda misses the entire point. Regardless of how "easy" it is, I have many other factors in my life (work, family, hobbies, etc) that I'd rather dedicate that time towards. Plus the fact that I've never reviewed anything in my life (and therefore have no habit/pattern to build upon), and it's just painfully obvious that I won't be posting a review. So... "just do it" isn't really helping. – Lindsey D Oct 18 '17 at 22:40

Be honest. Tell them something like "I'm not really a social media kind of person." But sweeten the pill by adding that you will be sure to recommend them to family and friends—and then actually do that if the occasion arises.

I'm not a social media person, but I have over the years recommended various restaurants, contractors, etc. to people who are looking for such things. In almost all such cases the people I've spoken to have actually gone to (or at least contacted) the recommended service. I suspect there's a much higher "success" rate of personal testimonials than for (semi-)anonymous reviews, especially since I can reach folks who will never look at Yelp, where the restaurant/contractor/dealer presumably already has a bunch of other reviews and a bunch of direct competitors. And some of my friends and family are social-media types, so in the end the Yelp reviews do get out there.

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    "you will be sure to recommend them to family and friends" +1 Here in Germany we have a word for that: "Mundpropaganda". And it goes a loooong way. Some say even more important than any review you could write. – Fildor Oct 13 '17 at 6:49
  • Great advice... let them know there won't be a digital review, but that I'm more than happy to give verbal recommendations. Thanks! – Lindsey D Oct 13 '17 at 22:17
  • Creative and really sensible solution that helps by advising OP to encourage deserving businesses through word-of-mouth publicity, +1@1006a! – English Student Oct 14 '17 at 8:15

My solution to this dilemma is not having a Yelp account in the first place, so it's simply not possible for me to write a review. I just say "sorry I don't have a Yelp account so I can't...". Then you're being honest, and avoid the possibility of further pressing from the business rep. I do the same thing when they ask me to follow them on Facebook or Instagram or whatever.... I honestly say "sorry, I don't do social media anymore" and that's that. I think it's important for businesses to know there are some of us who don't engage with social media and don't put much importance into it, and these situations provide a good way to demonstrate that.

Similar to the common Facebook dilemma - people asking why you haven't accepted their "friend" requests. If you don't have a Facebook account to begin with, then the problem does not exist.

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Option C

Tell them, that you will think about it or consider doing so and smile friendly.

This way, you don't commit to doing anything (writing or not writing). You are not lying either, since in your case, you actually want to write a review. This doesn't rule out the possibility, that you'll ever do it. It ends the conversation, since I doubt they'll press on in a way requiring another answer from you (even if so, just tell them "I'll think about it").

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    In India we say 'oh sure!' for all such open-ended requests and really think about it only later @Anne Daunted. As long as a definite promise is not being made to deliver a concrete time-bound outcome, your answer is extremely convenient and diplomatic, so I upvote! – English Student Oct 14 '17 at 8:21
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    personnaly when I hear "I will think about it" I understand "Nope". But maybe it's just me :) – Walfrat Oct 16 '17 at 14:34
  • +1 and what @Walfrat said, but so what? Every hotel stay, every plane trip, every anything is followed by a request to take a survey. Too much! Kudos to the OP for not knuckling under! – user1760 Oct 17 '17 at 19:44

You already know what you have to do. Tell them the truth.

For me, I tell them that if they don't see me write the review right in front of them in the establishment itself, that review won't get done. Now, I'm not saying you're like me, but I find this attitude quite liberating. I hate making small promises I can't keep.

It's the same when someone tries to give me a business card. I do not accept the business card unless I already know I have a reason to follow up with that person. And if that's the case, I accept the business card and I write the reason for the follow-up and a date for it on the back of it.

If you read the Getting Things Done book, the author describes those things as unfinished loops, although I am a bit hazy on the details since it's been a while since I read it, but I remember he had some insightful things to say about that topic.

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  • Are you talking about this book? Absolutely worth a read. – Fildor Oct 13 '17 at 6:53

Which option is in your best interest? Clearly, tell them you will leave a Yelp review will make them happy, and may even encourage them to give you better service in the future. They will most likely not check whether you actually did or not. If you tell them no, then they will probably be less enthusiastic, even if they don't express it.

Thus, the risk outweighs the reward, so tell them what they want to hear. That is a great ideology to live by: "tell them what they want to hear." Great for interviews, relationships, workplace interaction, etc. It's even better than the golden rule.

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    Most of my friends who write Yelp reviews don't use their real names or anything personally identifiable; unless it's a very new establishment the owners will never know if a specific customer did or didn't write a review. – arp Jan 29 '18 at 12:25

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