Love it or hate it, but just about every local business owner and even the traditional brick-and-mortar stores, now own a business page on Yelp.
With over 35 million unique app visitors per month and more than 184 million reviews left by its users in the first quarter of 2019 alone, Yelp has turned into one of the best social marketing sites on the internet today.
As a result, more and more conversations about local and traditional businesses are happening online these days.
And being in the restaurant business, you know better than anyone that word-of-mouth advertising is a great form of marketing.
Therefore, it becomes extremely important for you to protect your online reputation on Yelp.
It's essential for you to monitor your Yelp reviews, respond to each one of them while fostering your satisfied customers to share their positive experience on the platform.
So to help you get started, we have answered five fundamental questions about managing your reputation on Yelp:
1. Why And How Useful Is Yelp For Your Restaurant?
According to a recent survey by LocalBright, 70% of its respondents used internet services to discover a local business, and 49% of them preferred doing business with the one that had more number of positive reviews.
Therefore, to stand out from the crowd in today's competitive world, and to get more visibility in the local search results, it's necessary for your restaurant to have an active business page on Yelp.
Being on Yelp helps your restaurant business to get more visibility in your neighbourhood, and this, in turn, helps you in attracting new customers quickly and efficiently.
Moreover, a recent study has claimed that positive online reviews help prospective customers to build that required trust and credibility before visiting any local business.
And this is what exactly required for your restaurant business to keep attracting new customers while encouraging your current customers to visit your place again and again.
In fact, even if your restaurant's online reputation goes up by one star, your revenue can significantly grow by 5-9 percent.
2. Why should you respond to Yelp reviews?
Responding to negative reviews online is the same thing as addressing an angry customer in real life.
So just like you try to resolve an angry customer's grievances in real life, consider doing the same when it comes to Yelp reviews.
This way, you will gain trust and build an emotional bond with your customers.
Moreover, remember that your responses will not only help the reviewers, but they'll also come in handy to your prospective customers.
When your potential customers notice how professionally you've handled your Yelp reviews, they'll appreciate how much you value your customers.
Thus, they'll be more likely to visit your place after discovering your business on Yelp.
3. How should you respond to Yelp reviews?
Personalization is the key when it comes to responding to your Yelp reviews.
So whether it's a positive or negative review, try to drop a sincere and specific response by adding a personal touch.
By personal touch, we mean that your responses should include your reviewer's name and some reference to their problems.
Moreover, it's always a good idea to sign-off the reviews by using your real name and designation.
And whenever you get a positive review, make sure to thank your customers and ask them to visit again in the future.
You can also inquire about what made them to write a positive review, and what they liked the most about your restaurant.
And if they do mention about any dish, try to recommend a new dish you think they'd relish in their next visit.
Also, if they had liked your customer service, ensure them that you'll pass on the feedback to your team.
However, every once in a while, you do end up with negative reviews.
In such situations, always try to be calm and professional, and avoid using confrontational language.
Your response to a negative review should portray your willingness to set everything right.
So always leave an apology and ask them to give you another chance.
But in spite of everything, sometimes your online reputation might be affected due to spammy and untrue accusations or misunderstandings.
In such cases, always try to defend yourself, but do so in a most professional and polite manner possible.
You can even ask Yelp to take down such spammy reviews.
So let's see how you can do this.
4. How can you get a Yelp review taken down?
Yelp is a community-driven site, and therefore, they'll allow negative reviews to be written on a brand's page as long as they are honest and genuine.
However, Yelp has laid out clear guidelines for the reviewers which prohibit them from writing reviews like:
- The ones which do not focus on the consumer experience
- Which contain inappropriate material and abusive language
- Which reveal private information about your staff and business in general
But in spite of this, if you do come across spammy and false reviews, you always have an option to flag such reviews, and to ultimately get them kicked out of the site.
For this, you'll simply need to log in to your Yelp account and go the review in question.
There you will find a flag icon.
Now simply hover your cursor over that, and click on "Report this review".
Eventually, if Yelp discovers that your appeal is real and genuine, it tries to remove such reviews as early as possible.
5. How can you increase your star rating?
If Yelp takes down those inappropriate and spammy reviews, then consider most of your work being done.
However, don't just stop there!
Instead, it would be helpful if you start cross-promoting your Yelp business page across your restaurant's social media pages.
You can take advantage of your existing social media fans and followers to improve your Yelp reputation
Simply direct them to your Yelp page and ask them to share their good experience on the platform.
Another creative thing you can do is create testimonial posts out of your restaurant's best reviews.
And whenever you do this, your followers will notice how much you appreciate those positive reviews and feedback.
And for that reason, next time they'll be motivated to leave a review of their own!