I read an article this morning on HuffingtonPost about that horrible dentist who fired his assistant because she was too beautiful and he got distracted. While this story is very strange for so many reasons (But, maybe it’s why I have been fired from so many jobs…it’s becoming clear to me now) the reason I was moved to write you was to remind you that Yelp is not a friend to the business community.
In a local Austin story, a horrible man said something horrible about the Newtown shootings on his private facebook page. It was made public and went viral. The man owned a Thai Restaurant and so people flocked to Yelp to write horrible reviews about the restaurant even though they had never had a morsel of its food. Again, the man could indeed be horrible (or dumb) but the reviews had nothing to do with his restaurant. The restaurant closed and with it all the employees lost a job, and if it was your client you’d lost a client (dumb and/or bigoted, but a client nonetheless).
For these reasons, we advise our clients to avoid spending advertising dollars on Yelp. We advise them to be members of the Better Business Bureau and to spend money on Search Engine Marketing and optimizing their site for better search results.
Online reviews are important, but we wouldn’t reward a child for a tantrum so why should our clients reward Yelp with media dollars when their users throw tantrums and they do nothing? Reviews show up in search results and are powerful influencers in driving traffic to a business. Google reviews are tied to your Google search results, map page, phone number and appear (in some instances) way above your own homepage.
People who use reviews have learned how to spot fake reviews written by the company or discount awful reviews posted by people that only post negative reviews or clearly had one bad experience. For that reason, we tell clients not to get to afraid of the one bad review.
It is possible to reply to reviews with a strategic response because it isn’t a conversation…you get one chance to make a reply on some review sites. So instead of wasting that space to say, “We’re sorry, please call us to help correct the situation.” A business owner should reply, “We reached out to this customer. We strive to provide good customer service because we aren’t in business to drive customers away. We regret a bad experience, but we’re confident that most of our customers appreciate our delicious meatballs and dancing waiters!”
In other words, take reviews seriously but not too much! There’s bigger fish to fry.