There’s no question that reviews are invaluable. Yelp itself can be extremely useful to businesses in the shopping, restaurant, and home services industries as these 3 categories are responsible for generating over 50% of the reviews posted.
However, the pure and simple truth is that any website where people can review, recommend, or post about your business requires your attention. Especially one that can reach as many people on mobile devices as Yelp – The app is currently pre-loaded/integrated into 75% of mobile devices!
How Does Yelp Help?
For small businesses…for EVERY business, reputation is everything! Word of mouth happens online these days and in this way specifically Yelp should be viewed as an opportunity for control, second chances, and free advertising.
1. Control –
About 90% of customers say that what they decide to buy is influenced by positive online reviews, and 94% will use a business with at least four stars. So, by encouraging your customers and even offering incentives (if done subtly) for posting reviews of their experience you can trigger your happy customers to essentially bury any negative reviews with the sheer number of positive reviews.
And because most people decide whether to use a business (or not) based on reviews, the higher your customer rating the more business you’ll get – which is the name of the game!
2. Second Chance –
As a business owner you want to know when something is wrong so that you can fix it. In this respect, negative reviews are solid gold to your company. Think of them as secret shoppers you don’t have to pay for! You can take their input and use to streamline ineffective processes, analyze practices that aren’t fulfilling your business needs, or even identify problematic employees.
What’s even more exciting is that (unlike the people who never leave a review and simply badmouth your company to others) this person is giving you a second chance! Statistically, up to 70% of complaining customers will give the business another shot if their concerns are addressed and resolved. At the end of the day MOST people just want to be heard.
3. Free Advertising –
Cory Capoccia (president at Wombly) says, “If traditional advertising is a megaphone that enables businesses to shout and see who’s listening, review sites are tractor beams that pull consumers toward local businesses precisely when they’re looking to spend money.” And he couldn’t be more on the money!
Positive reviews encourage and bring your company business. Even a 3 or 4 star review that contains very little detail about their experience can be powerful enough to cancel out a negative review (especially if they’re obviously irate and belligerent).
How Do I Make Yelp Work For Me?
The website itself encourages what we believe to be the best practice of keeping a 5 star state of mind. This applies directly to customer service and providing the best possible experience to EVERY customer is something you can start TODAY. It was recently discovered that 15% of 5 star reviews specifically mention their unique or outstanding customer service experience!
Outside of providing a special experience for your customers there are several things you can do to ramp up your online presence and encourage reviews:
- Claim your businesses page – register an email account with the page to receive notifications, enable editing, and update info so that your online presence is consistent everywhere anyone can find you.
- Complete your business profile – Add up to date info regarding location, contact information, operation hours, etc. to give your potential customer the most ACCURATE idea of what they’re going to get when they visit or patron your business.
- ADD PHOTOS – Multiple, high-quality photos are everything! Don’t skip this part and don’t think for a second that a blurry photo will do the job or go unnoticed. This simply makes your business look as though you aren’t “up to date”, internet savvy, or capable of affording better quality photographs which leads them to believe that your customer experience will be lacking as well.
- Respond to positive and negative reviews – Responding to positive reviews shows your audience (potential customers) that you are attentive, you care, and that you’re appreciative of the time they spent to give you some free advertising. It can also give you an opportunity to market to them further.
Responding to negative reviews gives you a second chance at winning a customer’s business and shows anyone else who reads said negative review, your proclivity towards taking the high road, and that even in the worst situation customer service is of the utmost importance!
Go Forth and Thrive!
Most, if not all, of this information can be applied to any website that allows people to access information about your business. Whether it’s industry specific or a site as general as the Yellow Pages, developing your online presence and encouraging a culture of customer reviews is vital to your company’s success.
Focus on the heavy hitters like Google, Facebook, and Yelp to get the most for your time investment. Or, if this is all Greek to you, and you’d like to talk about how to best market your upscale business with other like-minded business owners, become a member of our Successfully Marketing an Upscale Business Facebook Group. It’s free! Click here to request to join.