Online reviews still play a crucial role in influencing both online and offline buyers. And when it comes to reviews, Yelp is one of the platforms your business can’t afford to ignore. With the platform getting almost 4 million connections in one day, your Yelp business page could be what gets people to convert or turn to your competitors.
And while your customers’ Yelp business reviews are essential, how you engage with them affects your online reputation just as much. Of course, bad Yelp reviews can influence your online reputation and users’ decision to do business with you. But how you create your review response and how you respond to poor Yelp ratings can compel users to give your business a chance or, for the worse, find another company with better reviews.
With that in mind, here’s how to optimize your Yelp reviews for business, the best practices and things to avoid when learning how to respond to Yelp reviews. Then, through a strategic response, you can turn those scathing reviews into areas of opportunities to attract users.
Why Does a Yelp Business Page Still Matter Today?
Through Yelp, customers can leave ratings and reviews for a business, even if that business hasn’t claimed its page on the platform. Now, consider the numbers that Yelp and those Yelp ratings can do for your business:
- Around 3.7 million connections are made on Yelp every day. Connections occur when a user goes on Yelp and clicks on a link that takes them to the business’s website. This transition brings them one step closer to converting.
- After visiting a Yelp business page, 90 percent of customers purchase within a week. This number suggests that Yelp pages strongly influence users who already have a high intent to purchase a product or service.
- Ninety-one percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Most users trust that people online are giving their honest experiences and personal recommendations, which were found to influence most of the 18-34-year-old consumers.
- Around 93 percent of consumers say online ratings and reviews influenced their purchase. This means that both the positive and negative feedback your business has online has a strong sway over whether users will choose your business.
- Nearly all consumers research online before patronizing an offline business. With 97 percent of consumers researching before going to a store or service provider in their area, even those without websites or an online presence can experience the importance of online reviews.
Online review platforms like Yelp attract both types of consumers: the ones who have purchased and want to share their feedback with others and those looking for feedback that help them differentiate similar businesses. This is why establishing your Yelp business page and responding to Yelp reviews is crucial to your online reputation.
Optimizing Your Yelp Page
The first step to being able to respond to your Yelp reviews for business is to claim your Yelp business page. Whether or not you claim your business, customers will still be able to leave reviews. By taking your business and optimizing your Yelp page, you can take steps to mitigate the effects of bad Yelp reviews.
Claiming your Yelp business page allows you to add up-to-date information like operating hours, amenities, specialties, history and an introduction to your company. From a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective, this can help you reach relevant users on Yelp and search engines as your Yelp page appears for relevant search results. And with your page optimized to give users as much information as they need, you can redirect them to your own business website.
Improving Your Customer Connections
Some of the effective practices we can recommend business owners do to improve their customer connections include:
Monitor Your Page To Deliver Fast Responses
Aside from having professional online reputation management companies handle your review monitoring, the fastest way to do this on your own is to download the Yelp for Business mobile app. Turn on mobile push notifications to get instant notifications for reviews, queries and messages. Your faster response can help speed up their buying process and increase the chance of a connection.
Add Images to Your Yelp Page
If you have a physical product or location, adding images can help you stand out from competitors on Yelp. Studies show that adding photos can help users remember your business, and Yelp allows you to upload an unlimited number of images.
Invest in Yelp Ads
Claiming your Yelp business page provides you with free tools and features. But if you want to increase your visibility, you can upgrade your Yelp page with Yelp Ads. This can give you exposure (even on your competitors’ pages) and triple your chances of getting seen by relevant users.
Respond to Yelp Reviews
Users aren’t just going to Yelp to leave and read reviews – they’re also there to see how you respond to them. However, there’s an art to responding to reviews to improve your connections. Keep in mind that there’s a difference between getting defensive about bad Yelp reviews and promising to do better.
How To Respond to Yelp Reviews
It’s no longer exclusively about what others say about you but also replying to reviews. Considering that most people browsing online reviews on Yelp pay attention to your method of responding to Yelp reviews, it helps to know the general dos and don’ts of review responses. Some of the best practices for responding to Yelp business reviews include:
Respond to All Yelp Ratings and Reviews
Responding to customer reviews can boost your engagement. However, if you’re only seen replying to reviews that are positive, it gives readers the impression that you’re only cherry-picking the praise and ignoring potential areas for constructive criticism. This can convey that you’re unwilling to improve your products and services based on customer feedback.
Balance Your Public and Private Messages
Public review responses can be seen by everyone, while private messages are direct communication between you and the reviewer. If you’d like to learn more about a customer’s bad experience, you can message them and ask for more details. However, ensure you’ve addressed the issue in your public response. Avoid creating vague and non-committal responses like, “Hi, <Reviewer>! Please message us to discuss the details of your experience,” as it doesn’t really tell readers whether you’re acknowledging the negative feedback.
Acknowledge and Empathize With Negative Feedback
It might be difficult to read negative feedback, but acknowledging the areas for improvement is a good way to minimize the effect bad Yelp reviews can have on your business. Getting defensive about bad reviews can convey that you’re denying their experience, which can be off-putting for readers.
When done correctly, your positive and negative reviews can become a powerful marketing strategy to attract potential new customers. When done incorrectly, however, you may emphasize the bad Yelp reviews, creating an off-putting effect that can turn away potential customers.
Prolong Your Turnaround Time for Responses
Not only is it frustrating for the reviewer to not get a response from your business, but also, the longer you are unresponsive to negative reviews, the more people are likely to see that you didn’t respond to negative comments. It gives the appearance that you don’t particularly care about customer feedback and aren’t regularly checking your reviews.
Respond Defensively or Aggressively
Not all feedback may be constructive or accurate, but nothing good comes from fighting fire with fire. Remain professional, take the high road and find a way to acknowledge their negative experience.
Try To Hide Negative Reviews
Yelp can remove Yelp business reviews for businesses if these violate their content guidelines. However, you can’t delete reviews simply because they’re negative, so don’t try to hide negative reviews through means like creating fake positive reviews. This is more likely to get you into trouble with Yelp than to bury negative feedback.
It’s possible to turn negative reviews into potential marketing opportunities, depending on how you handle your feedback. In fact, generating positive and negative reviews is a good way to boost your Yelp page’s credibility and improve your online reputation.
How Rize Reviews Can Boost Your Yelp Page’s Reputation
Now that you understand the importance of online reviews, you should understand why it’s a priority for your business’s online reputation. Managing your Yelp reviews requires time and strategic curation. This doesn’t necessarily mean waiting around the clock for the reviews to come in. Still, it does take time out of your day to read reviews, draft a review response and, if necessary, communicate with the reviewer privately for more information. This can be difficult for many small business owners, especially if they don’t have experience handling online reviews.
This is why Rize Reviews services can be a helpful tool for small business owners who want to boost their Yelp business page but don’t have the time or experience to optimize it. Online reputation management companies like Rize provide reputation management services that take out the work of online review monitoring and replying to reviews so that you don’t have to.
“Rize Reviews helps companies save time and effort on responding to Yelp reviews,” Rize Reviews’ Senior Reputation Manager Tim Clarke said. The company’s team of reputation management consultants and extensive reputation management services can generate reviews, which are then monitored and responded to. Clarke said this can save partners from the time and headaches of having to respond professionally in their own brand’s voice.
Our reputation management software lets us easily track your business’s reviews on Yelp and other online review platforms. From there, we can deal with both positive and negative ratings, turning both into potential marketing tools that improve your online reputation.
Get Better Leads on Yelp With Rize Reviews
The importance of online reviews affects how potential customers see you. However, how you respond to both positive and negative reviews can affect your online reputation. That’s why handling Yelp reviews for businesses should be a priority for small businesses looking for more opportunities for leads.
Rize Reviews is your online reputation management company that provides hands-free solutions to manage your online reputation. We provide reputation management services such as online review monitoring, review response, review generation and more.
Get in touch with Rize Reviews today. Together with our reputation management consultants, we can turn those bad Yelp reviews into opportunities that improve your online reputation and sway potential customers to you.