If you ask any business owner his/her thoughts on Yelp, you may get a positive answer or you may get a negative answer. But one thing is for sure, you WILL get an answer. Yelp has become a very polarizing entity in the Small Business landscape. As a frequent business traveler, myself and my coworkers rely heavily on Yelp reviews to find places to eat in new areas. The reason for this is simply that Yelp is essentially unmatched in its number of reviews, not to mention their controversial filtering of spam reviews (more on that in a later post). In a fairly competitive market, having negative Yelp reviews can severely damage your business's bottom line. If you are blessed with positive reviews, you may still be able to take some actions to further leverage your Yelp presence.
So what can be done about negative reviews? Well, quite a bit actually. The MUST-DO action of any business on Yelp is to CLAIM YOUR BUSINESS.
So what is this exactly? Claiming your business allows for a few very powerful actions to any small business owner subject to Yelp reviews.
1. Respond to reviews: This is perhaps the most important of all. Every yelp user knows that there are some people you simply can't satisfy, are simply vindictive, or have some other motive. Yelp does a decent job of editing these out if there is abusive language or otherwise inappropriate content. But quite a few of these are going to slip through. As a business owner, you now have an opportunity to respond to your reviewers. For negative reviews, this should be handled very carefully (this could be a post in and of itself). For positive reviews, a simple thank you should suffice. When future Yelpers are reading your reviews, that responsiveness will go a long way in showing that you are engaged with your customer base, and concerned about your product. It is not out of the question for you to respond to every review going forward.
2. Tracking of Views and Leads: Claiming your business will give you great insight as to what potential customer behavior is, and tracking this info can be a very robust insight towards improving your offerings.
3. Add photos and a link to your website: This one should be handled with care. Your customers are most likely going to study customer pictures of food to get a real idea of the product that is being presented to regular patrons. Polished professional pictures of your food may seem like a good idea, but leave those to your website, they will likely be ignored by the Yelp community. What you CAN do is post pictures of your chef, the interior and exterior of your business, your menu, and any other area you feel the other Yelp pictures have left out. Add a link to your website to market your business the way you want it presented. The website is your blank canvas, Yelp is the public's world that simply have to live in.
4. Update info like Phone Number and Business Hours: If you do not claim your site, there is no telling what kind of info will be posted to your business. If the hours are posted incorrectly, you are going to upset customers without even interacting with them.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. Yelp offers a number of paid services in addition to the above. Additionally, Yelp is only one of a number of services that offer similar situations that need to be carefully managed. Motif can take you from a point of being overwhelmed with all of this, to the point of being a master of your web presence. Options range from coaching to full management of online forums. Call today for a free consultation or click the 'Book Online' button on the top of this page to reach out.