Yelp, and other online review websites are popular with customers who like to share their experiences with the world. Many people like to rave about their favorite local businesses and help them to be successful. Yelp is also a convenient way for someone who has had a bad experience to vent their frustrations, and sometimes they are not in a mood to be fair. A bad review is not necessarily a disaster, though, if you know how to handle Yelp.
Respond in a Calm and Positive Manner
Responding to reviews shows you care about each customer, and want them to have the best experience possible. If the review is upsetting, take time to calm down so you do not respond in a hasty and defensive way which would only make the situation worse. Customers will see that you've read their concerns and took the time to try to resolve the problem. New customers will see that you care about your reputation and are seeking to improve your business. This can be an opportunity to offer an incentive to return to your business. If you respond to a positive reviews and offer valuable information, it shows how much you value your customers.
Work to Encourage Positive Reviews
The most important way to garner glowing reviews is to ensure customers are happy and eager to return to your establishment. Directly asking for a review can make a customer feel they are being used for promotion and result in a negative experience. While Yelp discourages soliciting reviews from your customers, it doesn't have a problem with letting them know of your presence there. Here are two ways to subtly encourage reviews:
Post a check-in offer to allow customers to share their presence on Facebook and Twitter. This encourages friends to join them and encourages them to write a review.
Post a "Find us on Yelp" sign on your website, Facebook page or in the establishment.
How NOT to Handle Yelp
Do not attempt to submit fake reviews. Yelp realized this would be a problem from the beginning, and employs sophisticated filters to ensure only honest and unbiased reviews make it online. Do not try to pay for reviews because they will most likely not make it online. Also remember that if multiple reviews are posted from your shop, Yelp will know and respond accordingly. If a fake review makes it online, people will sense there is something not quite right about it and become suspicious. Dishonest businesses that have tried this often had disastrous results.
Yelp is a powerful reality that can drive customers to, or away from, your business. Resist the temptation to ignore it because you had a bad review. Not that you would, but do not try to even the playing field by writing bad reviews about your competition. Resist negative thinking because that never solves anything.
Crowd Siren is here to help businesses communicate and engage with their customers online. Contact us to find out how we can help you get the best reviews.
By: Todd Levy