Sorry, gang. You won’t find any quick-fixes here. In fact, if you hear that claim anywhere, your time would be better spent kicking back and watching this instead. (Oh, that Carlton!)
But some simple strategies do exist that can help encourage your customers to leave positive reviews.
Respond to reviews
A Yelp page with responses from the business owner shows that you are active and care about what your customers think. A positive review with a response can show appreciation. A negative review with a response can show concern. And about 8 out of 10 times, unhappy reviewers will change their mind if responded to quickly and professionally. A review monitoring platform (*cough* *snort* *cough* Reputology *cough* *cough*) will alert you if your business has received a negative review on any of the major business review websites. That way, you can respond to an unhappy customer ASAP.
Claim your business’s Yelp page
You can’t respond to a review unless you’ve claimed your business listing. You can do that right here.
To ask or not to ask
Actively asking customers for reviews is considered a no-no by Yelp. But a simple Google search will show you dozens of services offering an easy way to get positive reviews from happy customers. Your customers fill out an online survey, and whoever responds positively gets routed to a review site. And you know what? This probably works for some businesses. But you may face undesired consequences if you get caught or are outed by a customer. And we’ve been told by a few businesses who’ve dabbled with this that it can irk even happy customers. We leave this tactic to your discretion.
Should you pay or incentivize people to post reviews? That’s off-limits. This may get your page slapped with a consumer alert for 90 days. Not only is this practice unethical, the Federal Trade Commission says that it is illegal to pay for reviews without disclosing this to your customers.
Remind customers that you have a Yelp page
Asking for reviews is debatable. But simply mentioning Yelp is a-okay and actually effective. Customers sometimes just forget that there is a platform for them to express themselves and that you would very much like to hear about it. Bringing Yelp up in casual conversation in a sort of subliminal way has worked very well for some businesses. Occasionally posting your Yelp page on social media sites is a good way to remind your customers, too.
Apply the Yelp sticker
Yelp has a sticker that you can stamp on your window to let customers know that you are on Yelp and seeking out their feedback. It says that you are actively engaging customers on their experience with you. On your website, you can post an icon that links to your Yelp page to make it easier for customers to find and rate you.
The very best way to get positive reviews is to continue improving and being the best you can be. An excellent business will garner excellent reviews. No substitute exists for doing good work.