The Truth About Yelp Reviews – Part II
As you know by now, Yelp is a very popular tool used by millions of consumers looking for dental, veterinary and optometric services, as well as eateries and many other product and services.
Yelp is such a leader in the field of online reviews because one of their goals is to provide very real, reliable and honest reviews. It’s obvious that Yelp wants their readers to get the very best legitimate reviews. And for this reason, this is why they lay out some rules.
Why does Yelp discourage businesses from asking for reviews?
On Yelp, people read and write reviews about their favorite local businesses. So it might seem counter-intuitive that we actually discourage business owners from asking their customers to write reviews.
Would-be customers might not trust you. Let’s face it, most business owners are only going to ask for reviews from their happy customers, not the unhappy ones. Over time, these self-selected reviews create bias in the business listing — a bias that savvy consumers can smell from a mile away. No business is perfect, and it’s impossible to please 100% of your customers 100% of the time.
Solicited reviews are less likely to be recommended by our automated software, and that will drive you crazy. Why aren’t these reviews recommended? Well, we have the unfortunate task of trying to help our users distinguish between real and fake reviews, and while we think we do a pretty good job at it with our fancy computer algorithms, the harsh reality is that solicited reviews often fall somewhere in between. Imagine, for example, the business owner who “asks” for a review by sticking a laptop in front of a customer and smilingly invites her to write a review while he looks over her shoulder. We don’t need these kinds of reviews, so it shouldn’t be a surprise when they aren’t recommended.
Yelp exists to connect people with great local businesses. We do this by providing people with as much trustworthy information as we can. If consumers don’t trust our content, people stop using Yelp, and everyone loses: consumers don’t have a resource they can trust to make spending decisions, and would-be customers stop visiting your business.
There’s no silver bullet for a great reputation: the best way to succeed on Yelp is by focusing on great customer service. Also be sure to claim your business on Yelp, and use our free tools to keep your business listing up to date.
How, then, can I get more reviews on Yelp?
There are ways to let your customers know you’re on Yelp without being overly solicitous. There is an important distinction between “Hey, write a review about me on Yelp,” [BAD] and “Hey, check us out on Yelp!” [GOOD]. It’s the difference between actively pursuing testimonials and simply creating awareness of your business through social media outlets.
The latter allows consumers to review your online reputation without feeling like they’re being forced to write a review. To an established Yelp community member, a reminder of your Yelp presence can act like a dog-whistle prompting them to share their feedback about your business with fellow Yelpers.
Here are some ways to remind customers that you’re on Yelp without being pushy:
Put a badge and link to your Yelp listing on your website using Yelp’s review badges – we provide the code, you just paste it into your website. The review averages and counts even update automatically as new reviews come in!
Put a “Find us on Yelp” sign in your place of business, on the front counter or window. These have even been spotted on business-branded vehicles. You can make your own using our brand assets, or request one from Yelp using this form.
Include a link to your Yelp business listing in your email signature with the words, “Check us out on Yelp!”
If you would like more information about Yelp and their policies, check out their page here.
Claiming Your Yelp Page
If you don’t already have a Yelp page, you can claim it here. Luckily they also provide a phone number!
Good luck with your Yelp reviews!