Although many people overlook Yelp as a marketing tool, it is in fact one of the hottest online marketing tools and competes with the greats Google and Facebook. Even though Yelp is a huge free marketing tool, left in the wrong hands it can destroy a business. A recent study by Dimensional Research showed that 95% of customers are going to share a bad customer experience, while only 87% of customers will share about a good experience. If the negative reviews greatly out shadow the positive reviews for your business then customers are far less likely to visit your store, restaurant, etc. These negative reviews are often detrimental to small local businesses or tourism based businesses.
There are several steps that can be taken to ensure Yelp does not destroy your business. The first step is to “claim” your Yelp listing. Then you should add several quality photos of your business/service, list the hours of operation, include an accurate address and phone number, and then provide a detailed business description.
The next step is to then monitor the types of reviews customers are posting and if possible try and respond to several of the more negative reviews. You should acknowledge the post and the issue described and politely ask the person to contact you offline. When addressing the customer you should always be polite and do not begin to argue back and forth in the comments for the whole internet to see. Another tip is to wait until you are no longer upset about the review before responding.