5 minute read
How to Manage Yelp Reviews for Small Businesses
Updated on June 7, 2020 by Brianne Schaer
Every additional 1-star improvement can increase business 9%. Think about that.
If you are in business, chances are one of your main sources of business is from your Yelp page.
By this point, you’ve surely put the time and effort into making your profile stand out from the rest of the crowd. But the work doesn’t end there. You must continue to manage your Yelp reviews to make sure the right people are leaving reviews, the positive reviews outnumber the negative, and that any issues are being addressed.
The importance of Yelp reviews
There’s no way around it – Yelp reviews are important. In fact, they’re so important that every additional one-star Yelp rating causes an increase in the business’s revenue as high as 9 percent.
Your Yelp page is one of the first places a potential customer will go to research your company. If what they see on your page is good, they'll probably buy from you. But negative reviews can wreck your reputation online and cause you to lose business.
This blog includes tips for managing positive reviews, dealing with negative reviews, and what not to do on Yelp.
Encourage positive reviews
The best way to encourage positive reviews starts with offering an exceptional product or service. You want your customers to want to leave positive reviews because they love your store, not simply because you asked. However, there is no reason why you shouldn’t make it easy for your customers to know how and where they can leave a review.
Link to your Yelp page
You can encourage people to review your store on Yelp by linking to your page on your website, email signature, or social media. This is an easy way to help your customers find your Yelp page.
Remind people that you’re on Yelp right when they enter your store with some signage. The "People Love Us on Yelp" window clings are sent out twice a year to businesses that qualify for this program. Yelp doesn’t issue (or re-issue) these window clings upon request, but you can request a “Find us on Yelp” sticker to encourage more reviews and be well on your way to qualify for the “People Love Us on Yelp” cling.
Share positive reviews on social media
When you receive a new review that is well-written and shares quality information about your business, share it on your Twitter and Facebook. This can encourage others to write similar reviews or, at the very least, show how much your customers value your business and encourage new customers to give it a try.
Respond to positive reviews
Although it may not be possible to respond to every positive review, it is a good idea to occasionally reply to positive reviews to thank the reviewer for their business. This is your chance to connect with the people reading your reviews, so avoid copy/pasting replies. Canned responses can have the opposite effect, so try to keep it short, sweet, and genuine.
Respond to negative reviews
No matter how hard you try to please your customers, it is inevitable that somebody, at some point, will have a less-than-ideal experience. That's okay! In fact, some even argue that having a few reviews that are 3 stars or below can help to add authenticity to your page. It is of course ideal to keep these negative reviews to a minimum, but it’s extremely important to have a solid game plan in place for when they do happen.
Keep a level head
It’s understandable that you may be upset after reading a negative review, particularly if it is inaccurate or taken out of context. However, it is never a good idea to respond in anger. Remember that your response is going to be read by potential customers, so this is your chance to recompense. It’s best to simply apologize for the issue, which shows that you take concerns seriously, and offer a solution to the problem.
Reply in a timely manner
Timing is key when responding to negative Yelp reviews. You don’t want to have negative reviews sitting out in the ether without your response. Always reply with a personal note – nobody wants to receive a canned response, especially when they’re already dissatisfied. Make sure to address the situation, apologize, and assure that it won’t happen again.
If the negative review in question refers to a specific incident or is something that you feel is a valid concern that should be addressed, feel free to respond privately. This gives you the opportunity to resolve the issue and mend the relationship with your customer. If you are able to make amends with the customer, you can even ask them to update their review to reflect the current situation. It’s a lot easier to do this once you have resolved the problem over the phone, asked them if they are satisfied, and then ask them if they wouldn’t mind updating the Yelp review.
Flag reviews that violate Yelp’s content guidelines
Sometimes, people will leave reviews that are just plain false, or not about your business at all. Yelp will remove these types of comments, thus saving your star rating. Check Yelp’s content guidelines to see if the review in question violates any of them, and flag it. Reviews that include threats, harassment, or other inappropriate content warrant removal.
What not to do
Now that we’ve gone over some best practices for managing Yelp reviews, let’s take a look at what not to do. Yelp warns against doing any of the following things in an effort to flood your page with positive reviews.
- Don’t post reviews of your business or of competitors.
- Don’t offer freebies, discounts, or payment in exchange for reviews.
- Don’t work with companies or 3rd-party vendors offering to “fix your reviews.”
- Don’t ask anyone to write reviews of your business, including friends, family, and customers.
- Don’t pressure (or pay or sue) people into altering or removing critical reviews.
As mentioned earlier, the best thing to do is to provide exceptional products and services that leave your customers wanting to leave a positive review. If you resort to any of the above method for gaining more positive reviews, Yelp can take action.
Your business’s Yelp page can be an invaluable tool for promoting your business and effectively increasing revenue. By understanding how to manage both positive and negative reviews, you can keep your star rating high. If you are feeling overwhelmed or need help managing your reviews, contact us.