Your elite status on Yelp DOES NOT entitle you to ANY preferential treatment. We as service providers only promise that you will receive the same standard of service as any other customer, no more… no less.
This is not to say that I despise all Yelp users. It is only those who abuse the elite status that is given to them. As always, it only takes a few bad apples to ruin things for everyone.
Behavior that will not be tolerated:
DO NOT go into any establishment, say that you are a “Yelp Elite,” and expect preferential treatment. Also, DO NOT infer that a favorable review and rating is contingent upon receiving preferential treatment. A review should reflect the quality of service that the average customer would receive. If you receive special treatment because you identify yourself as a Yelp Elite, your review is tainted because your experience is no longer indicative of an average customer.
DO NOT go into a new establishment and expect everything to be perfect. Employees are still new. Systems are still being learned and in many cases, still being implemented. If you plan to review a new business, resist the urge to be among the first people to post something and wait at least a month (two months would be better). This gives the business time to properly train employees, implement systems, set service standards and operate in a manner in which they can provide the best service possible.
DO NOT throw a hissy fit if preferential treatment is not given. This includes intentionally making a scene in hopes that management will provide special treatment to shut you up.
If you do receive bad service, DO NOT make it a point to tell anyone that will listen that you are a Yelp Elite and you plan to post an unfavorable review.
DO NOT save all your criticisms for your Yelp review. Any problems that you encounter should be reported to someone in a timely manner. If you don’t say anything, the business can’t do anything to remedy the problem and provide you with good service.
DO NOT write a review after one bad experience. There are many things that could lead to a business providing poor service. Adopt a “try again” mentality, and give the business the benefit of doubt. Wait a week or two and try them again. If at that point, you receive poor service again, then an unfavorable review and rating is probably warranted.
Edit: To address comments regarding a second visit after a poor experience, I included the “try again” rule because we at Frolic Hawaii (and previously when this team was Nonstop Honolulu and Metromix before that) sometimes make multiple visits to restaurants before posting an official review. If Yelpers really want to be taken seriously, they should adopt more practices of professional writers. By visiting a venue more than once, you can have a more comprehensive review of the services that they provide.
Behavior that is encouraged:
DO notify management of any issues in a timely manner. If you are at a restaurant, do not wait until the end of your meal to say something. If you notify the management right away, any problems can be remedied. If you wait until the end of the meal, it’s too late and nothing can be done to fix the problem at that point.
DO offer constructive criticism. Help businesses improve by identifying problem areas so that they can fix them. If you have a suggestion on how a business can improve the service that they provide, fill out a comment card, or tell them IN PERSON. There is no guarantee that the business will read your online review.
DO compliment and reward workers for good service. Chances are, workers will not read your review, no matter how glowing it may be and will never know that their work was appreciated. Favorable reviews are nice, but tips pay the bills.
— Ed Morita is the pastry chef at Highway Inn in Kaka‘ako