Yelp Review Management

Yelp Review Management

How to Do Yelp Review Management the Right Way

When a customer searches for a product or service online, the first thing they want to know is the reliability of the business. This can be gauged by the star rating left by past customers on review sites such as Yelp. 

Since Yelp is one of the leading review sites, it has an authority that often plays a major part in the decision making process of a potential customer. This provides businesses with a small window of opportunity to get their potential clients to their business, but even more importantly, it builds a certain level of trust between the client and the business. Seeing the importance of online reviews and the level of trust that it builds for local businesses, a business would ignore these valuable customer evaluations at their own peril. Here, we are going to take a look at the importance of Yelp reviews and the best practices for Yelp review management.

Yelp Review Management

According to Review Trackers, at least 4 out of 5 online visitors reverse their purchase making decisions based on the negative reviews they read on Yelp. The following are some tips for business owners to set up and manage their Yelp business page.

Getting Started

Anyone can add their business on Yelp. The confirmation is given via a phone verification system whenever a listing has been added to Yelp’s database. 

The business owner is provided with a code to verify their business and claim their page, and to receive email alerts whenever a person leaves a review on their business. Yelp also offers other interesting services such as allowing business owners to view how many people have visited their Yelp page. It is advised to read the fine print and use Yelp for business owners instead of making a Yelp account as a regular user. 

Email Individual Reviewers

This is a neat tool that’s provided by Yelp and allows the business owner to privately email each reviewer, whether they’ve left a negative or positive review on the site. 

The only downside is that business owners are only allowed to send each reviewer a single email until the reviewer writes back. Yelp uses this strategy as a spam prevention tool, since the review site places the same level of importance on the reviewers, as it does on the businesses being reviewed. But, if a reviewer wishes to, they are allowed to block a business from sending them emails. 

Be Yourself

As a business owner, it is important never to sign in under another name to leave a review on your business’s Yelp page. Mainly because this kind of behavior is frowned upon by Yelp and can lead to lots of trouble for the business owner since it’s both unethical and illegal. "Astroturfing" is the name given to the following practices:
  • Business owners giving a five-star rating for their own business on Facebook, or making their employees to do so.
  • Business owners who are part of a group who write positive reviews for each others’ business.
  • Paying a company to write a fake review.
Astroturfing is taken very seriously by Yelp and other review sites, including Google+, and can lead to the business owner getting sued as well. Leaving fake reviews on Yelp can also lead to your business page being buried as a punishment. 

Spark a Conversation

For a business owner who has just joined Yelp, knowing how to engage with their audience is going to be one of the most effective ways of generating positive reviews about your establishment across the web, simply because it shows that you care about your business. Engaging your audience by sending the reviewers a personal email or by answering a comment in the public domain for all to read is far better than merely existing on Yelp. Publishing content consistently and actively engaging in online conversations will make other reviewers think positively of you and your business. 

Know How To Respond

Business owners are oftentimes stumped when it comes to whether or not they should respond to a negative review left by a disgruntled reviewer on Yelp, or some other online review site. And, even if they want to reply, many businesses are unsure how to. 

There is only one appropriate way of replying to a negative review on Yelp and that is, by addressing the issue with the reviewer either via a personal email or by posting a comment under the disgruntled customer’s review. The first option makes it easier for a business owner to get a good idea of what the reviewer was trying to say in their negative review, while the second option allows others to read your response, and make their own judgement. It is advised to always handle a negative review with care since it is a very delicate process, and the best way to handle negative reviews on Yelp should be on a case to case basis, since every review left by a Yelper should be treated individually.

According to Yelp, 68% of the reviews that are left on its platform are either 4-star or 5-star reviews, with just 15% being 1-star reviews. This is an indicator that the vast majority of Yelpers are there to reward great businesses by posting positive and truthful reviews, rather than calling out those businesses that are struggling. 

Since Yelp is dedicated to providing consumers with truthful and honest reviews of local businesses, the service makes use of many algorithms that help sniff out the fake reviewers and only posts the reviews from frequent Yelpers on their platform. When a bad review is received, it is important to respond quickly and carefully. Be careful with how you phrase your answers since you will be trying to change the customer’s mind, and not make them more angry. You could also offer some sort of incentive for them to give your establishment another shot. 

Use Your Weaknesses

Business owners can not only use Yelp reviews to gauge on their competitors, but also to identify the pain points experienced by those customers who use their service, so that they can improve the overall customer experience of their business. 

Flag False or Fake Reviews

Did you know that the star rating is the number one factor that’s used by consumers to judge a business online? 

This is why keeping track on your business’s Yelp reviews is so important. Because, from time to time, all businesses have to deal with negative reviews from customers, or somebody who is just impossible to satisfy. But, what about the reviews on your business that are untrue. It could be because someone has an axe to grind with you and is leaving a negative review that also happens to be false as well, in an attempt to hurt the reputation of your business. In such cases, Yelp allows users to flag the reviews as inappropriate, if they disagree with the negative comments. It is also advised to business owners not to embark on an online flame war with that person which could lead to negative consequences. 

Unfortunately, Yelp does not provide a sure fire way of identifying the real reviews from the fake, but it does have a pretty good filter in place, which is being constantly improved. That being said, in certain cases, Yelp does allow business owners to delete such reviews. 

Ending Note

Negative reviews can severely hurt the reputation of any business, which is why, it is especially important not to ignore any negative reviews of your business on Yelp, or any online review site for that matter. 

And, the only way of staying abreast with the amount of positive or negative reviews a business receives is by constantly monitoring Yelp reviews and practicing better Yelp review management techniques. For entrepreneurs, Yelp reviews does not have to be a source of anxiety. The aforementioned tips should help businesses owners avoid any angst due to bad Yelp reviews, develop their online presence, build a worthy customer base, and be ahead of the curve in their business niche. 
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