90% of customers say that their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. Beyond that, customers are also interacting with businesses on social media and review sites like Yelp. A business's online reputation can make or break them. For example, a one-star increase in Yelp ratings can lead to a 5-9% increase in revenue. Yelp for business owners can be confusing, yet it's crucial to stay on top of your reviews and make sure you're getting more positive reviews than negative ones!
Even if you haven’t created an online presence for your business, one of your customers has likely Tweeted, blogged, posted on Facebook or left a Yelp review about your company. It may seem like no big deal. What harm could there be in one person reviewing you online?
But what if it’s a bad review?
Since over 80 million people visit Yelp per month, it’s obvious that customers shop around before choosing a place to eat, shop or patronize. So, say a customer searches for your business, or for your product, and the only information they find is that single bad review that’s out there. Do you think that customer will choose your business or a competitor’s with positive reviews? That’s why understanding how Yelp for business works is important.
How a Good Reputation Can Help Grow Your Business
Even if you ignore it, what is said about you online influences potential customers, so you might as well make the best of it and use your Yelp and social media accounts to their full potential. That's why Yelp for business matters.
Enough good reviews can outweigh the bad.
Proactively building up a robust online presence will set you up for success. A few bad reviews will get lost mixed in with an overwhelming majority of good. In fact the bad reviews make the good reviews feel more authentic and less staged.
93% of consumers say that visiting Yelp leads to a local purchase.
Reviews solidify you as a company. When customers visit Yelp for business reviews, comments, and pictures, they will view you as a legitimate business and be more likely to purchase from you if you have a complete profile.
The review of a friend is more trustworthy and carries more weight than a traditional advertisement in the newspaper. If someone checks into your business on Facebook, Tweets positive things about you on Twitter, or writes a glowing review on their blog or Yelp, all of their friends and followers now know your name – and your good reputation!
Belly helps businesses automate their online reputation by prompting customers who visit their business to share their visit on Facebook and Twitter, and to leave a review on Yelp.
It’s your business card.
Do you ever look at the second page of Google results? Probably not often, if ever. When a search for your company turns up a great first page of results, your prospective customers will more likely turn into real customers. Think of this first page as your business card and remember that first impressions count.
How to Get Better Reviews
Encourage customers to speak up.
Ann Handley wrote a great article in Entrepreneur magazine last year about how to take hold of your online reputation. To online customers, reviews signify legitimacy. Disgruntled customers, motivated by their anger, are more likely to act and write reviews online. Satisfied customers need to be encouraged. Boost your positive reviews by making feedback as easy as possible. Offer incentives to say thank you for customers’ time and effort. With Belly this process can be fully automated right from your Belly iPad.
Collect feedback in store.
69% of small business owners prefer feedback to be nonpublic. Make it easy for customers to provide comments before they even leave your store. If you, or your staff, feel uncomfortable directly asking for reviews, consider providing a comment card along with the receipt or prominently display a suggestion box. Physically posting some of the comments along with an answer from your company gives results similar to an online forum, but with more control on your end. With either of these options you have the ability to address negative comments before they are shared with the online community.
Prioritize Customer Service.
Even the best businesses will have an off moment, and that’s all it takes for a customer to share their bad experience online. If a customer voices concern while still at your store, make it a priority to fix it for them then and there before they tell hundreds of their closest internet pals about their bad experience with you.
If all this seems overwhelming, and you are wishing you could go back to the days when you could focus on the many other parts of running your business, you’re in luck. Belly can help you make online reputation management simple.