Local Businesses: Get Help from Yelp
Recently, I went to a new restaurant with my friend, in hopes that our experience would be one I could enjoy and talk about later. As it turned out, I did talk about my experience later, but I certainly not because I enjoyed it. (I won’t name the restaurant here, but if you are savvy, I’m sure you can find my review if you really want to.) Anyway, here are a few things I learned from my experience, and what local businesses can learn from consumer review sites like Yelp.
There is no mediocre
While some people will write a review if their experience with a restaurant or service is mediocre, it is more likely to happen if their experience is very good or very bad. Even if the review is to say how mediocre an experience was, it still translates to “bad.” No one will read a mediocre review and say, “hey, let’s go there, it sounds just ok.”
Don’t be all things to all people
Everyone has different tastes. In the area where I live, there is a lot of diversity when it comes to class and age demographics. However, that doesn’t mean that local businesses should cater to being all things to all people. Stick to your guns, and concentrate on doing the things you do very well. People will be grateful that you know what you are.
Be honest and transparent
There is no shame in having advocates for your business contribute reviews for you, as long as there is transparency involved. If you work at a restaurant, let’s say, and you want to bolster your credibility, be upfront about who you are. It can show other users that you really do appreciate the place where you work, which can say a lot for the rest of a customer’s experience.
Get a website, already
It is somewhat disconcerting (read: tragic) when I can’t find a website for a restaurant or business I want to try. Seriously, it is easier now more than ever to create a website, and they can make a huge difference in how you are perceived. Before you put another ad in a local city rag, invest in a decent website with your menu, hours, and photos. You don’t need music or flashy graphics, though. To use a beauty analogy, make-up should be there to accentuate your best features, not hide the fact that you are ugly.
Listen and adjust
It is sometimes frightening when I read reviews on Yelp that are consistently bad over time. Local businesses should be aware of what their customers are saying no matter what, but they should also take the time to adjust the things that need it most. If a dozen reviews blast the bad service, then maybe it is time to figure out how to manage your team better. This is not to say that every customer is going to get what they want (refer to tip #2), but if there are problems that repeat, be sure to get on it ASAP.
Though the customer is not always right, he’s the one who is going to pay your bills at the end of the day. So make his experience as good as it can be. Above all, know that even though you should be listening to the reviews of your customers, they are there to speak to each other. It’s just up to you to overhear their conversations.
(awesome picture via Cat Macros)
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