February 14, 2016

Tips for Managing Yelp and Other Online Review Sites

Before worrying about Yelp, Google Places or any other website that has user reviews, you should be finding out what your customers or clients think about you.

I do this with an ‘end of project’ questionnaire which has a range of questions that covers all of the services we provide. It’s designed with two goals in mind:

First, I want feedback from my clients on where they think we could use improvement and where they think we excelled. I really take their feedback to heart and implement better practices where necessary.

Second, my questionnaire is also designed to help my clients generate good quotes or testimonials when talking about e9digital or our services. This will make it that much easier for them to know what they want to say when giving us a review on Yelp or one of the other websites.

Proactively Asking for a Review

Review websites like Yelp are consistently growing as consumers are trying to find new ways to discern which businesses and vendors are trustworthy. So I think building a great online reputation is now one of those essential internet marketing tasks.

As such, I think you should proactively ask your customers to review you if it’s ethical for your type of business. For example, lawyers might not be allowed to do this.

If you’re going through the questionnaire process as I described above there should be no surprises.

At the bottom of our questionnaire, I ask the client which review sites they are using, and if they would like to give us a review. Now that they have a bunch of things written about us, it makes it a no-brainer for them to copy and paste some of those quotes to their favorite review website.

If possible, try to get your reviews sprinkled around to all of the sites like Yelp, Google Places, Bing Local and Yahoo Local by asking each client to go to a different one. It’s not advised to have one client post reviews in more than one place. It’s best if the reviews on each site are unique.

Now keep in mind, I’m not telling my clients what to write. I’m just asking them to do it.

And lastly, ask your clients to review 3 to 5 other businesses that they use, because people with more than one review look more legitimate to other users and probably to the review sites’ algorithms.

Monitoring Your Reviews

You should monitor the major review sites like Yelp, Yahoo, Google Places, and any other industry-specific websites and keep an eye on your reviews.

I also set up Google Alerts for each of our principals, our business name and our product names, plus variations of each. This way I can know when things are being published about us and react accordingly.

Handling Negative Reviews

While we all strive to always have good reviews, the occasional bad review is bound to happen (you just can’t please everyone, all of the time).

Don’t get upset. Think of this as your chance to really shine as a business owner and a human being.

First, never argue with the person in a public forum. It’s also probably not a good idea to argue with this person offline since they have already shown the propensity to post reviews.

Your best tactic is to apologize on the review site, and offer a complimentary service as a ‘make good.’

This shows other potential customers that you are legit; that your reviews are legit; that you take the feedback seriously; and that you are willing to remedy situations to the satisfaction of your customers.

Essentially, you are guaranteeing your customer’s happiness and that reduces the next customer’s risk in choosing you.

Do you have any other tips for managing review websites like Yelp?