The Yelp Effect

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When you want to choose a restaurant, retailer or even a realtor, where do find reviews and recommendations? (That’s 5 “r”s, in case you were wondering.)

One word: Yelp!

With a monthly average of 83 million unique visitors, Yelp has become the go-to resource for crowd-sourced reviews about local businesses of all kinds – B2B and B2C. And people really trust the ratings they find:

  • Yelp’s gold stars can be even more influential than customers’ actual experiences. A 2012 study published in The Economic Journal shows how Yelp’s rating-rounding process can disproportionately affect the rate at which a restaurant books up.
  • Research from Google demonstrates that 60% of B2B tech buyers read product reviews before making a purchase.
  • Results of a 2011 Harvard study suggest that online consumer review sites are quickly overtaking more traditional forms of reputation development and management.

Make no mistake about it: we’ve been “Yelpified.”

How can your local business ride the “Yelpification Nation” wave? Here are a few tips for making Yelp work for you:

Join the decision-making process early.

According to LinkedIn, roughly two-thirds of the buying process is already complete before your potential client or customer ever meets a sales rep! The “Yelp effect” allows you to more effectively market your products or services, by reaching leads earlier in the decision-making process (i.e. before they’ve made their choices). When reviews and product/service information are available to potential customers before salespeople make contact, the reviews’ impact can turn a prospect into a buyer – without you ever lifting a finger.

Respond to negative reviews – and heed what they say.

If you get a negative review, don’t panic – use it as an opportunity:

  • Respond immediately, and publicly. State that you’re thankful for the feedback and apologize that your company didn’t meet their expectations.
  • Take ownership of the error and/or the negative impact it caused.
  • Vow to make it right. Then, if appropriate, take the conversation offline (i.e., if it makes sense to call the individual directly or have him visit your location to resolve the issue, do so).
  • Once you’ve resolved the issue to the individual’s satisfaction, ask him if he’d be willing to remove the negative review – or at the very least, amend it to add the fact that you fixed the problem.
  • Learn what you can from the experience. If a reviewer uncovers a valid issue with your product or service, make required changes. Then, show customers or clients just how much their opinions matter by sharing the changes you’ve made (and why you made them) publicly. Properly handled, negative reviews can actually help you in the long-run, by making your brand image more authentic and personable.

Actively solicit positive reviews.

Research from Yodle Insights shows that, although 89% of customers who have a positive experience are willing to write a review, just 7% are asked to do so. Every rating matters, especially when you don’t have a lot of them. So don’t just wait for positive reviews to happen – make it rain!

  • Train your team to respectfully (yet directly) ask clients and customers to write reviews.
    Your employees can say something as simple as, “We value your business, and your opinions matter to us and other clients/customers. We’d really appreciate it if you’d take a few minutes to review your experience with us.”
  • Generate more positive reviews with BARQAR.
    Dedicated exclusively to online reputation management, BARQAR makes it easy for you to gather more positive reviews.  Just keep a tablet at your register or front desk with the review app loaded! Then, with a few taps and swipes, your customers or clients can quickly (and effortlessly) leave glowing online reviews before they ever leave your location.

Want to learn more? Contact BARQAR today for a free demo of our reputation management services.

 

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