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Yelp has gone from a platform where disgruntled customers vented their anger after using a service to a trusted and reliable source of recommendations. That said, it doesn’t mean businesses still can’t get bad reviews. For any business owner, having a solid online reputation can work wonders when it comes to bumping up that bottom line. It also means you get to harness the power of word of mouth to be seen as a trusted provider of a product or service.
Most people use Yelp during their decision-making process simply because they want to find out what others think about a particular brand, product, or service (as well as their experience). For a business, a Yelp review can be the difference between a customer going ahead and making a purchase and becoming a loyal customer to moving on to another brand/service provider, never to return again.
While platforms such as Yelp can be extremely beneficial for a business when it comes to building its reputation, it can also be brutal. This is mainly because all it takes is one bad review to sink your business’s reputation.
What’s even worse is that those who use Yelp for recommendations tend to search for bad reviews, ignoring the good ones. That’s because potential customers want to know what the worst-case scenario will be if they were to buy a particular product, eat at a particular restaurant or purchase a particular product.
Keeping the seriousness of Yelp reviews in mind, it pays to improve your business reputation on Yelp, and here’s how you can do it.
Craft a Stellar Profile
Like just any other social platform, it all starts with your profile. You can either take control of an existing page that’s been created on Yelp or you can create a new one. Be sure to include all of your contact information. Just because you’re online does not mean you don’t need to include your physical address and contact information. Also, pin other platforms where your business has a presence, such as Facebook, Instagram, and other similar platforms.
Be Active on Yelp
Just like you would while using other social media platforms, your Yelp account needs some TLC as well. You can spruce up your Yelp page by including some recent images of your business, including those images that could give your customers or potential customers an inside peek on behind the scenes of your company. Don’t forget to get Google Reviews for your business as well, click here to learn more.
When possible, don’t waste a chance to engage with your customers. Always thank those who leave reviews on your Yelp business page, especially if it’s a positive review. But also, don’t ignore those customers who had nothing kind to say about your service. Remember, nobody’s perfect, and that goes for you too.
Nobody wants to leave bad reviews on Yelp, but if a customer had a bad experience, then it is up to you to try and find out what went wrong without pointing fingers. Find out if there is any way that you can make it right with the dissatisfied customer. Opening up a conversation with past customers that left bad reviews on Yelp may also provide you with valuable insights on some area that was overlooked previously.
While there is always going to be that one disgruntled customer who leaves a scathing review on Yelp (hey, you can’t please them all), but that should not be an excuse to keep dropping the ball. If an explanation fails, give them a coupon to come back and give your service another try, or tell them the steps you and your team are currently taking to address the issue to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Be Supportive of Other Businesses
Maintaining a positive business reputation on Yelp does not simply mean engaging with your customers. It is also important to show your support for other business owners in your niche. This is why it is important for any business owner to find their community online and engage with other like-minded business owners as well. This is also a great way to help spread the word about your business with online communities and customers. But, even more importantly, this is a great way to encourage reciprocal support.
For instance, if a customer leaves a bad review about your business on Yelp because they were dissatisfied with your service quality or think they were cheated. Another business owner who’s also operating in your niche may also leave an explanation for them that’s going to be more relevant since it’s coming from another business owner.
Make Your Business User-Friendly
This should be the goal of every business owner, but it is easier said than done. While this has nothing to do with going on Yelp, it will lead to more positive reviews rather than negative ones. To make your business more user-friendly, you need to step into the shoes of your customers; find out the customer experience of doing business with your company. Only then will you be able to tweak your services to make them more customer-centric.
The next time a customer leaves a negative Yelp review, ask yourself where your service is lacking in its customer experience. Or better still, why wait to get that negative review; put the customer experience of your business to the test by placing an order on your own business website as a customer and go through the entire process to find where your service needs some tweaks. By becoming a customer of your own business, you are bound to find some area of your business that’s in need of improvement.
Don’t Demand Yelp Reviews
While it is okay to let your customers know that you are on Yelp, being blunt and asking them to leave a positive review can come across as being too pushy, which is a turn-off for many consumers. Don’t forget, the best Yelp reviews are those that are organic and don’t seem forced. Besides, according to the guidelines provided by Yelp, business owners aren’t allowed to ask their customers directly for positive reviews for their business. So, doing so could get your business flagged by Yelp. Read how to get positive reviews here.
However, there are going to be many customers who have had a great experience while using your product or service and will be glad to leave a positive Yelp review for your business. While coercing your customers to leave a positive review is frowned upon by Yelp, it is okay to make it easier for your customers to find your business on Yelp.
Responding to Yelp Reviews
We’ve already touched upon the reasons why you should respond to Yelp reviews that are left by your customers, both the positive and negative ones. But, there’s an etiquette to responding to Yelp reviews that all business owners need to be aware of. When it comes to responding to customer reviews on Yelp, there’s an in-built tool that you can use, which is called the “free review response tool.” This tool allows business owners to respond to all those who leave reviews on their Yelp business page. The tool allows business owners to leave their responses in both private and public mode.
Of course, there are some pros and cons of both options. But it is best to always respond to customer reviews, regardless of where you choose the public mode where others can also read your answer, or go the private route, where your response will only be visible to the individual whose review the business owner is replying. There are some key components to answering Yelp reviews, such as timeliness, courtesy, and follow-up.
Responding to your customer’s reviews on Yelp isn’t enough; you need to respond to your customer’s reviews quickly. This is going to leave a positive impression on the customer (and others) by making them know you care about their opinion. Besides, that it also shows that you respect your customers enough to leave a reply soon after they’ve left a review on Yelp. On the other hand, if you do not reply to your customer’s queries at all, it will seem that you do not care about your customer’s opinions, and the same goes for not replying quickly enough. Either way, you and your business come across as aloof to the customer, which is only going to drive away potential clients.
Apart from being timely with your response to your customer’s Yelp reviews, it is also important to be courteous. Rather than responding to a negative review of a customer by being negative, show some courtesy and be positive in your reply. There is always something positive that you can find, even from a less-than-stellar review. Once you’ve apologized for your shortcoming, make them an offer by giving them a coupon or freebie for their trouble.
Offering to make things right can turn even a disgruntled customer into a believer again. Besides, arguing with a customer will only escalate the situation, resulting in an even more negative reply from the customer, which is a place you do not want to be. No matter what the tone of the customer’s Yelp review or if they are being mean or rude, it is always best for the business owner to stay calm and not get carried away in the moment or get offended by the customer’s negative review.
Another fundamental of responding to customer’s Yelp reviews is the follow-up. This is especially the case when dealing with negative reviews. The follow-up to a disgruntled customer should never be just a simple apology, but rather, your apology should explain to the customer all the actionable steps that you will be taking to show that you are committed to improving your business and service quality. So, in other words, when it comes to replying to negative reviews, the follow-up should be more than just plain lip-service, but rather, a serious attempt to provide a better quality service.
Be Kind to Constructive Criticism
While it’s easy to feel under pressure when it comes to responding to negative reviews, it is important to acknowledge any constructive criticism that comes your way via a Yelp review. This again is where the business owner needs to stay focused on the positive aspect of the Yelp review and not simply react to a negative comment by a past customer on Yelp.
Sadly, Yelp has become a forum where customers get to vent their frustrations on any business. As a business owner, it is crucial to remain calm and go through each review that your customer leaves on your Yelp page. It is possible that you are going to find some positivity amongst a sea of so-so and some angry customer reviews. It is important to take advantage of that feedback because it will probably shine a light on an area of your business that you haven’t been focusing on. This is going to help you improve your business and will give you the perfect opportunity to show that your brand really cares about its clients, and so do you.
Conclusion on Optimizing Your Yelp Reviews
Let’s be honest – Yelp is a difficult place for any business owner to navigate through. However, by using the aforementioned tips, you can ensure that your business comes across as professional, responsible, and courteous to your customers.