Love it or hate it, more and more customers are providing feedback in the form of online reviews.
In fact, according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, for every customer who complains, there are 26 others who remain silent.
One of the biggest platforms for online reviews is Yelp.com. Founded in 2004, Yelp is a leading local guide for word-of-mouth on everything from mechanics to dentists. The website allows users to sign up and create reviews based on experiences. Yelp also rewards users that post often by giving their reviews prominence.
Though Yelp’s process may seem daunting to some since it doesn’t post every single review in order, it’s a strategic move to keep the most relevant reviews at the top of the page — and keep trolls looking to sabotage businesses off the site.
For business owners, using Yelp is a must. Not only is it a useful tool to glean instant feedback about your business, it can also be a way to communicate with your customers, clients and fans. You can also learn how people found your business and best of all? It’s FREE to get started.
If you still need guidance, the team here at Hay There Social Media has managed Yelp for clients for many years. Here are our best tips and 7 Ways To Navigate Yelp:
- Claim your page.
The first thing a business should do with Yelp is claim your page. This will allow you to respond to reviews and view metrics to help gain consumer insight – including the number of website visits and phone calls made directly from your Yelp listing.
- Keep business information updated.
Yelp makes it easy to make sure your business website, hours, address and more are accurate. Simply log in as a business owner to add photos, highlight a new menu, or create a check-in offer. Make sure to log in periodically to ensure all information is updated. For multi-location businesses, make sure information is consistent on each listing.
- Respond to reviews – even the positive ones.
Regardless of the number of stars on your Yelp profile, responding to reviews in a proactive manner puts you ahead of the crowd and helps you to develop a relationship with your fans and customers. For those who take the time to write about your business, say thank you. Being acknowledged is a great way to garner repeat customers. It’s also a way to keep track of what you are doing right, and pass on kudos to employees.
- Address the negative.
If there is a negative review, respond in a genuine manner. Engage in a polite dialogue – Yelp is not the place for snark or sass. Your response can be as simple as explaining that your company takes complaints seriously and that you will take their feedback into consideration. Do not get defensive – remember anything you write will be public. If you have further questions or need more specific information from the customer, ask them to message you to determine how best to remedy the situation.
- Defend your business behind the scenes.
If you feel your business is being trolled for an unfair reason, mark the review as such and file a ticket with Yelp to dispute the review with an explanation. Yelp loses credibility if reviews aren’t accurate, so most disputes are taken care of quickly.
Yelp makes it easy to set-up an email alert anytime a user posts a review. That way, you are able to get and respond to feedback in real time. The Hay There Social Media team aims to respond to reviews within 24 hours during the business week.
- Know your audience and advertise if it makes sense.
The average Yelp user is a college educated professional, age 18-44, and making $100k+ each year, according to Yelp’s demographics. If this is similar to your target market, consider advertising. It doesn’t make sense for every business, but the Yelp team makes it easy to test-drive a Yelp deal, gift certificate, or check-in offer to see if it helps attract new customers or reward regulars.