“Don’t Ask for Reviews,” Says Yelp
YELP is something a dog does when you step on its tail, and a lot of YELP users have that type of attitude. They YELP when you don’t pet their head. It is the most negative of the online review communities and Yelp likes it that way. It makes you feel like you need to pay them to see if you can get a more positive ranking.
While we encourage that you give your customers a nudge in the right direction i.e. the direction wherein they write a review about your business, Yelp says you should NOT ask for reviews.
According to their page on review solicitation, “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.” — Translation, if our YELP clients complain about your business it is more likely you will spend money with YELP to help you. So please don’t send your happy clients to YELP. You won’t buy our advertising if you have good Yelp ratings.
It’s All About Trust and the Truth (NOT)
The question is, why does the YELP discourage businesses from getting customer reviews? Let’s take a look at Yelp’s reasons. The page says, “Would-be customers might not trust you,” because business owners tend to only ask happy customers for reviews and rarely ask the unhappy ones to leave them a note on Yelp. This can “can create bias” in the listing. But that is not really it.
Yelp also has an automated software that ‘recommends’ reviews and this software rarely endorses solicited reviews. It must be noted that solicited reviews are described by the review site as something between fake and real. (see our not below about YELP and their ‘recommend’.
What can you do to increase the number of reviews on your business page? Yelp says The best way to get great reviews is for businesses to improve their service, according to Yelp. The good news is, businesses are not entirely banned to ask for reviews because you can do so in a subtle manner. Yelp wants you to use review badges and putting a “Find us on Yelp” sign right at your establishment. So they want you to advertise for them so that your customers will do reviews… no thanks!.
To be honest, we don’t like YELP or their “algorithm’
Yelp has a very suspicious business practice of hiding reviews they don’t ‘recommend’. Some small businesses have reported to us, and we don’t know if it is true, that when you start paying YELP then a lot more of your positive reviews remove from ‘not recommended’ list and start showing up as part of the recommended reviews. Again, not saying it’s true, but ask a small business owner what they have experienced.
If you are a small business owner you need to understand that YELP is in the business of getting ahead of you on Google for searches relevant to your company. They even want to be ahead of you for your business name. They become the filter between you and your customers. Don’t Help Yelp. A lot of business on YELP fall into the trap of doing more work to optimize their YELP listing then they do on their website. This helps YELP steal your web traffic so that they can sell it back to you. Don’t do it. Put the least info you need on the page to make it look good but don’t help it outrank you in the search engines.
Improve Your Service
One thing we do agree with YELP on is that you need to improve your service. There is always room for improvement no matter how good you are at what you do. Improving the service in your establishment will definitely get your more love from your customers –enough love that will make them want to write a glowing review about you. (but hopefully on Google, TripAdvisor or someone where else)
There will be days when your staff will make mistakes though since nobody is perfect. This means you will, at one point, get at least one negative review on Yelp. When you do, make sure that you respond as politely as you can and that you resolve the problem immediately.