Make Yelp Your Best Friend
Reviews on Yelp can be a restaurant owner’s best friend or its worst enemy. Let’s be honest, the business owners who like Yelp have a good following, while the restaurant operators who complain about the site, have received bad reviews.
Even if an establishment is popular, has amazing service and excellent cuisine, a few bad reviews can paint the entire place in a negative light. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but the Internet can be a breeding ground for entitlement.
Yelp likes to brag about their sophisticated “review filters” which they claim help to purge irregularities, but this automated process is far from full proof. As a result, vengeful customers and Internet “trolls” can write reviews spewing hate that are often exaggerated or unfounded. It can be extremely difficult to separate the real ones from the outliers that can ruin it for the business.
Despite its obvious faults, Yelp has proven to be very helpful to customers who are looking for a new restaurant. The site has become the go-to source for diners seeking feedback on not only the restaurant but also on specific meals that are recommended.
So how does a business, such as a pizzeria, find a balance between loving Yelp’s helpfulness while feeling disdain over its harshness? Here are a few suggestions for pizzerias to take full advantage of Yelp to grow their business:
- Stay Calm – Try not to take any negative comments personally. They’re not saying you’re a bad person, just that the experience wasn’t a good one. It’s easier said than done to stay calm, but you must treat the bad reviews as constructive criticism.
- Respond to Customers – Both negative and positive reviews should get attention. Respond promptly and patiently, especially with those who are unreasonable and angry. It will look immensely better for the pizzeria to come off as the more level-headed party. Sign up for the alerts, so you immediately know when there’s a new review, so you can swiftly respond. More often than not, the reviewer will either take down the bad review or write another citing your actions.
- Listen, Acknowledge, and Act – By staying open minded, you can use the complaints as an opportunity to fix a problem. Customers sometimes have genuine grievances that need acknowledging. The sign of a strong, adaptable pizzeria is one that can hear what people would like them to change and then implement the change if it is a good one.
- Display your Success – If a pizzeria has received great reviews, let potential customers know about it by placing a Yelp sticker at the entrance. People who walk by will recognize it as a sign that the restaurant is open to criticism and feedback, and more likely, has a lot more positive comments than negative ones.
There’s a line in The Godfather Part II movie: “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” We recommend that all restaurants embrace Yelp. Don’t hide from it or reject it. Make Yelp your best friend: Talk it up and encourage customers who have a good experience to write a review on the site. By being close to Yelp, customers will see that your restaurant is transparent. It’s a sign that you let consumers know their voice is valid, heard, and you genuinely care about their opinion.