Yelp has become an indispensable tool for consumers of every niche and product; many users now consult the business database to discover new shopping locales, to compare prices and services, and as a space to discuss these businesses. In short, Yelp has made a small revolution in the way a successful business should be run. Here are some tips on how to adapt and optimize your own business to the world of Yelp:
1. Respond to Reviews
While the star-rating of an establishment is definitely important to Yelp users (some of whom look only at the star-rating), a few negative reviews do not necessarily break your business’s internet reputation. Yelp allows proprietors of businesses to comment on user reviews, giving the owner a chance to reassure dissatisfied customers. The importance of this ability to give the final word should not be underestimated!
An establishment that responds to its customers is one that listens to the consumer, cares about the consumer, and gives the impression of a business that is still improving. This could very easily convince a customer with a lukewarm but promising experience to give your restaurant, hardware store, or dentistry office just one more chance to wow them.
2. Pay More Attention to Customer Service
By far, possibly the most common (and preventable) cause of negative reviews is bad customer service. Typical complaints of this sort include “˜unenthusiastic workers,’ “˜no greetings upon entering the establishment,’ and “˜inattentive or rude employees.’ Yelp gives its reviewers a certain sense of authority to publish every minor impression they get from a business, and they certainly do tend to sweat the small stuff. Hence, more than ever, good customer service is absolutely vital. The conduct of your employees is crucial for creating this good impression, and for providing the feeling of welcome that will keep a customer from taking off that half star.
3. Encourage Yelp Users
Many businesses now offer discounts or special deals if customers mention the store’s Yelp page when they make their purchase, which connects your business with the Yelp world in the mind of that customer; this might seem trivial, but really, it’s a foot in the door for a good review. The customer is made aware of your business’ presence on Yelp, which is the very first step to writing about their experience.
Some businesses adopt a more aggressive strategy by offering a free gift of some sort if a customer shows a positive review that they’ve written for that establishment. While this method is a way of guaranteeing a good review, it might also make Yelp users mistrustful of these reviews, since there is an ulterior motive present.
Use your best discretion – perhaps this could be a limited-time promotion to provide an initial surge of customers for your grand opening. Play with the possibilities!
4. Make Your Business Photogenic
Now is the time to be finicky about your business’ visual appearance, because Yelp users now often browse through the photos of an establishment to get an initial, rough impression of its ambience and cleanliness. Is it a specialty store that one can browse casually on a lunch break? Is it a potential date spot?
The smartphone photography fad is in full swing, with bloggers everywhere wanting to chronicle their shopping experiences and discoveries with online photojournals. This is especially important to restaurant-owners, as these amateur photographers love to take snapshots of whatever meal their having, paying special attention to the presentation of the dish. Consequently, you should be paying just as much attention to what garnish you’re topping your plates off with, how clean your windows are in the sunlight, and whether you should be replacing that tacky old sunflower-wallpaper pattern.