According to recent research, more than 90 percent of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision and up to 80 percent trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Inspiring enthusiastic reviews is now a crucial part of any business’s marketing plan, and with more than 80 million desktop visitors per month, Yelp is a fantastic site to engage with new and prospective customers. Here are eight ways to get more great Yelp reviews.
1. Offer a memorable experience.
This should go without saying, but the best way to get good reviews is through exceptional service and truly unique experiences. Brainstorm with staff ways to make your customers feel special—a shoulder massage with a manicure, mints after a meal, turn-down service at the end of the night. Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference. Then train all your staff to give the kind of customer service that inspires five-star reviews.
2. Make sure your Yelp profile is complete.
After claiming your business, be sure to verify your address (including making sure the map pin is correct). Then add all appropriate categories in your profile to make sure you show up in local searches. Add business hours, your website and phone number, the full menu of products or services, and business information such as whether you take reservations, accept credit cards, and are wheelchair accessible. The more information you have in Yelp the more discoverable you are to new customers.
3. Appeal to the senses.
Try adding photos not just of the interior and exterior of the building, but also of your products, employees, and (with permission) your customers enjoying your products. Professional, eye-catching photos can really help you stand out. When evaluating restaurants, for example, customers will often want to know what the outside of the building looks like, what kind of atmosphere it has, and whether the food looks good. Entice them to try your business with beautiful images.
4. Differentiate yourself on Yelp.
In the “From the Business” section, tell your unique story. Why did you start your business? Do you make everything by hand? Are you still serving grandma’s special recipe? Do you support social causes or use only natural materials? In this section, succinctly state what makes your business special and why should people come to you instead of the competition. Customers have choices, so having an authentic and clear value proposition can help you stand out.
5. Promote your Yelp page…carefully.
Yelp has very strict guidelines on how to promote your page, and their software actively looks for reviews that appear to be solicited. (Here’s a list of tips to avoid hurting your Yelp rating.) It’s perfectly fine to promote that you have a page, but it’s not OK to ask for reviews on Yelp. Add Yelp signage in your business, on your receipts, and at the bottom of every email. You can say things like “Check us out on Yelp” or “Find us on Yelp,” but avoid specifically asking for reviews, or worse, offering anything in exchange for a review.
6. Encourage Yelp usage.
Want to subtly encourage repeat and loyal customers to leave reviews? Integrate your mobile booking software with Yelp. Apps like Booker allow customers to book their next appointment right off your Yelp page. It’s convenient for customers because they can schedule complex requests (such as sitting at a specific table or requesting a particular staff member) right in an app they are probably already using. It cuts down on unnecessary phone calls to your business and helps you build up customer profiles by porting all the appointment and user data right over to your Clover station. Even better, when customers are done booking their appointment, they’re thinking of you and your exceptional service while viewing your Yelp page. With a few clicks they can add their own review easily.
7. Interact with reviewers.
Show you care and are involved with your customers by responding to reviews on Yelp. You don’t need to respond to every review, but take the time to thank enthusiastic reviews and to respond to questions. This is a great way to also let your personality shine through. Don’t get angry or defensive over negative reviews—this sets the wrong tone. Investigate what went wrong and respond carefully. Follow up with your staff about any comments that seem off—is your customer service slipping? Do you need to staff up during busy periods? A quick apology and simple explanation along with an invitation to come back can go a long way. (Check out our advice on how to handle negative reviews.)
8. Be accessible.
The more approachable you are, the more ways for customers to engage with you, the less likely they’ll resort to social media to post negative comments. No business, no matter how diligent, has 100 percent perfect service 24/7. Make sure the customer knows what to do if they aren’t satisfied including how to get in touch with you. Consider apps such as Feedback, which invites every customer to leave feedback through a link on their receipt. Or consider a mobile app version of a comment card, such as Tattle-Feedback & Loyalty, which allows you to create surveys, respond privately, and track responses using analytics. When you get instant feedback you can respond right away to make things right and win back a customer.[image: Seen at cafe 150 by idealisms on flickr]
Clover is sold by leading U.S. banks including Bank of America, BBVA, Citi, PNC, SunTrust and Wells Fargo. You’ll also find Clover at our trusted partners including CardConnect, Restaurant Depot, and Sam’s Club. For more information, visit us at clover.com.