Yelp has become the most widely-used review site for small businesses with over 25 million visitors each month. So what does that mean for your small business? First and foremost, it means you must monitor your online reputation, whether on Yelp or other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
A recent study by Local Consumer Review Survey showed 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Also, 80% of buyers will reverse their purchase decisions based on negative online reviews.
If you’ve not set up your free Yelp account, let me convince why you should. Your business might already be listed if someone gave you a review. That’s all the more reason to check out what people are saying, add all your business info and include a few great photos so you don’t just rely on customer images (which reviewers can add, by the way).
More and more busy consumers are using their smartphone apps like Yelp and TripAdvisor to check reviews and star ratings before shopping at a store, eating at a restaurant or booking a hotel. Harvard Business School did a research study that showed a one-star increase on Yelp can lead to a 9% increase in sales. Why not display “Love Us on Yelp!” signs throughout your store? Our customer Eliza Page Jewelry has a Yelp link on their website for customers to access and hopefully add new reviews.
Small businesses cannot ignore negative feedback, but they don’t have to fear it, either. If you are a smart retailer you can use constructive criticism to improve. A TripAdvisor survey found 57% of people were more likely to book a hotel that had managers who responded to online reviews.
Hopefully, your reviews will be favorable, but if they aren’t, you’ll have the opportunity to respond. We all encounter reviews and social media sites with the occasional person who’s just trying to be mean. But loyal customers will often come to your defense if it’s unfounded. When you respond, always take the high road.
On the flip side, review sites like Yelp can be a great way to get positive customer reviews for your business. Longtime Nashville Wraps customer Phillips Toy Mart has benefited from their Yelp listing with its positive reviews because of their “personal service,” says Owner Cynthia Phillips.
From educational toys to a real Lionel train running through the store, both the young and old are fascinated by this old-fashioned toy store that focuses on great customer service. They offer complimentary gift wrap for birthday parties, and sell bags with tissue for Christmas and special occasions at a fair price.
Please know this isn’t an endorsement of Yelp; it’s simply a reminder that businesses cannot afford to ignore their online reputations. Why not take control and show customers that you care about what they have to say and and are willing to resolve issues as they arise?