Online reviews are a great opportunity for you to gather feedback and information from your customers. Although some would argue that these sites are just a place for consumers to complain about their experiences with local businesses, this is not the case.
Most people use online review sites as a reference point rather than a place to contribute their opinions. A 2015 Bright Local study found that 92% of consumers read online reviews to determine if a local business is a good one.
More importantly however, nearly 80% of the reviews written on Yelp are positive (three stars or higher). There are more five-star reviews on Yelp, than one-, two-, and three-star reviews combined.
Not only should dealership owners and managers be tracking online reviews to spot trends of good practices or things that need improvement, but they should be engaging with these review sites and using the free tools available to them to attract even more consumers.
Here are three tips to successfully engage with your Yelp profile and use consumer feedback to your advantage.
Tip 1: Respond to online reviews
You can respond to reviews publicly or privately through Yelp for Business Owners. Remember, when responding to your reviews, it is important to remain professional, thank reviewers for their feedback, and share any updates that have been made to your business as a result.
Consumers see a response to a negative review as the business valuing the customer’s experience and showing a desire to engage with consumers on a personal level. Sending a short, private message to a positive review also shows those happy clients that you appreciate their business.
Let’s break it down:
The positive review: Respond! These customers took time out of their day to give you positive feedback online. Sending a direct message is a fast and effective way to let those happy customers know you appreciate their feedback and their business. Every so often, respond to those stellar five-star reviews publicly so future consumers know that you care.
The negative review: Take this as an opportunity to grow. When it comes to a negative review, it’s easy to get upset and worked up, but successful business owners remain calm, cool, and collected. If you need to give yourself 24 hours to cool off, feel free.
Then it’s time to respond and outline a plan to fix this situation:
- Step 1: Respond privately to the reviewer. Try to dig in a bit and get more information about what happened. Thank them for reaching out to you and give them a way to communicate with you directly to get things resolved, business to consumer.
- Step 2: Post a public response while you wait to hear back from the customer directly. This can be a generic message for the most part. Thank the reviewer for their feedback, outline steps you have taken to resolve the issue, and urge them to contact you to talk further about what happened. This shows that you value consumer feedback and want your customer experience to be exceptional. This public response is to showcase your business practices to all of your future customers, more than to win that reviewer over.
Tip 2: Download the mobile app for business owners
You can manage your entire Yelp presence from the palm of your hand with the Yelp for Business Owners app. Responding to reviews, uploading photos, and tracking your activity is all possible once you download the app in the iTunes or Google Play store.
It’s blue—not red like the Yelp for Consumers app. The app will keep you logged for easier access and even allows you to set up push notifications so you don’t have to check for new reviews; you’ll receive an alert.
Tip 3: Spread the word
Great reviews are something to be proud of and show off. You can log in to Yelp for Business Owners and share your great reviews on other platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or via email.
Some businesses get creative with their feedback, like printing out the reviews, framing them, and displaying them around their office. Beyond just telling your customers they can find your business on Yelp, you can also provide links to your listing in your email signature or on your website.
Setting up a Check-in Offer can help grow your natural review content as well. Having a Check-in Offer helps you look more appealing to mobile customers searching on Yelp. When they see a promotion (e.g., a free keychain when they test drive a vehicle) they are given one more incentive to look at your vehicles. Also, whenever they check into a business, users are prompted to write a review for that businesses the next time they use Yelp.
Emily Washcovick is a manager of local business outreach at Yelp. She hosts educational sessions with business on best practices for navigating the world of online reviews. Emily also acts as a liaison between the small business community and the different divisions within Yelp.
Latest posts by Emily Washcovick
- 3 Easy Ways To Engage With Online Reviews For Better Business - August 24, 2016