Yelp has become the most popular Internet rating and review site since its initial inception in 2004. Yelp founders saw that word-of-mouth was a powerful source to gain new customers, but with the classic local community structure breaking apart in an online era, how could individuals know which businesses to trust? Yelp was the answer – an online review site in which customers shared their experiences, helping others make informed decisions about restaurants, auto-repair shops, and more.
Here are 5 steps to stop the hate in your love/hate relationship with Yelp!
1. Complete your Business Profile - I can't tell you how many times I have explained this to my customers. It's as simple as claiming your page - HERE. Just like Google, it is imperative to your business to update to increase your ranking. This includes hours, pictures, website etc...
2. Ask for Reviews - Be Confident and ask for reviews! According to Yelp guidelines, it is not legal to pay for reviews but you can certainly ask for them.
3. Respond to Reviews - Just like a complete profile, Yelp rewards you by boosting your ranking when you answer reviews. Always respond to reviews, the good the bad and the ugly! This will continue the conversation with your customers and build ongoing lasting relationships. And, take the time to write a sincere response.
4. Offer a Check-In Offer - By setting up a Check - In Offer, you have more opportunities to reach new customers, encourage your current customers to stop in more frequently and prompt more reviews. Be sure to include taglines such as - Not Valid with Other Deals, Limit one Per Customer...
5. How to Handle Negative Reviews - I left this step for last. It's okay to feel hurt or angry with a negative review but never act on those feelings! Always apologize without saying you were in the wrong. ie. We apologize that your experience was less than stellar. Often times, we send a private message and offer a gift certificate "in the hopes to winning them back". It never hurts to Kill them with Kindness!
For the most part, Yelpers are users who want to give small local businesses credit where it is truly due.
As long as you operate a great business that gives folks a reason to smile and manage your bad reviews with grace and poise, you’ll find Yelp can do amazing things for your business!