Many of our customers don’t necessarily love Yelp, and sometimes with good reason – we wrote a whole blog on that here. Regardless of your feelings on the issue, consumers are still going to leave reviews, and you really should respond to them. Don’t believe us? Here are the top five reasons you need to start taking customer reviews seriously, both positive and negative.
Let Happy Customers Know You Appreciate Them!
Let’s ease into this with those reviews that everyone loves to read. These customers had the best meal of their lives, loved your speedy service, and applauded your high-quality products. While it may sometimes seem like these reviews are few and far between, they deserve a response just as much as (if not more than!) messages from cranky customers. Express your sincere gratitude for their kind words, mention their name if possible, and respond to specific aspects of their review to prove you’re not just churning out canned replies. Not only are you adding another great moment on top of their already excellent experience, you’re showing other potential customers you’re an engaged business owner who actually cares about what customers think. That kind of positive press is hard to beat.
Showcase Part of Your Business
Let’s say your customer wrote an otherwise great review, but commented that it was a little hard to hear their dining companion during the bustling lunch rush. Don’t get defensive, they actually just pitched you a nice slow softball. Now’s your chance to play up your quieter back patio and suggest that they give that a try on their next visit. Or suppose a cranky customer was irritated to find you closed when they got out of work late one night – your new winter hours had started and they weren’t aware. On top of apologizing (of course), you can share your new hours so other customers don’t have the same issue.
Put Your Best Brand Forward
Keeping up with your business’s online presence can be exhausting! People are talking about you in all kinds of places, and the words they use to describe it might not be at all what you would have chosen. Review responses are your chances to change the narrative. For instance, if a customer mentions they loved your money back guarantee in their review, you can thank them while referring to it by the special name you gave it, the 110% Satisfaction Promise. This seems like a subtle shift, but it lets you control the conversation about your brand much more effectively.
Your Potential Customers Are Watching
A potential customer who is cruising through Yelp is probably pretty far along in their decision-making process. If your profile shows a dialogue between you and your customers, browsers will be more likely to view your business in a positive light and be more likely to make a purchase. Even if many of your reviews are negative, offering levelheaded, heartfelt replies shows that you’re trying to address the issues and will make it more likely that potential customers will give you a chance anyway.
Tell Your Side of the Story
Now we come to no one’s favorite part of Yelp, the negative reviews. Even the best businesses will inevitably end up with a few – it’s impossible to please everyone all the time. Resist the urge to fire off a heated reply because you’re feeling personally attacked. Read the review, then set it aside for a while as you process it and get your emotions in check. Then, it’s time to respond. If it’s a legitimate grievance, offer a sincere apology, explain what happened (if possible), and own the mistake – whatever you do, don’t blame it on your staff. Then share what actions you plan to take to make sure no other customers experience a similar situation. Perhaps you’re retraining your team, changing an internal policy, or simply keeping an eye out. Finally, make amends if possible. Offer the customer a free service if they’d be willing to give your business another try, or reach out to them via a private message to negotiate a more substantial deal. If you feel there’s fraud or other nefarious behavior afoot, it’s still wise to respond. Politely indicate why you don’t feel the review is valid, and reach out to Yelp itself if you think it’s particularly abusive.
Playing the Yelp game is a positive choice for your customers and for you, not matter how tough it sometimes seems. Answering reviews promptly, genuinely, and maturely (no matter how nasty) will give your business a leg up when potential customers come calling – and they will. Start making use of Yelp when you’re looking for vendors and partners, too! You’ll feel much better about joining forces with another company if you know their customers stand behind them. If you’re looking for a credit card processor who fits the bill, look no further than 360 Payments. Give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website. We’d love to show you what sets us apart.
PS – Your LinkedIn profile matters, too. Here’s why.
PPS – Build the perfect online business in six steps. Here’s how.