If you’ve gone to a new restaurant, picked a hotel, or hired a plumber lately, the odds are good you stopped by Yelp before making a final decision. Yelp reviews give buyers a sense of security and can help businesses get their name out there, but reviews aren’t foolproof. Anyone can leave a Yelp review, and one disgruntled customer in a bad mood can ruin a business’s reputation. So is it still worth it to list your business on Yelp?
The stats behind Yelp reviews are telling.
While concerns about unfair reviews are understandable, avoiding Yelp entirely is tough. 91% of people read reviews before choosing where to take their business. Yelp also has over 178 million visitors on a monthly basis. If you’re not on Yelp in 2022, you’re practically invisible to the majority of your potential clients or customers.
Visibility, however, isn’t the only factor that matters. Stars matter, too. The vast majority of consumers, 82% to be exact, avoid visiting businesses with an average rating of less than 4-stars. If you only have a handful of reviews, just one bad review can bring down your rating. Even if your average rating is high enough, customers expect written reviews to be mostly positive.
In essence, being on Yelp is practically mandatory in this day and age, but it doesn’t come without risk.
The downsides of Yelp reviews
Since anyone can leave a review, fake reviews aren’t uncommon. Internet trolls get a kick out of posting defamatory reviews just for fun. The more common struggle business owners face is a customer base that expects perfection. Bad reviews often stem from elements beyond your control, like:
- A customer not liking your pricing structure
- A customer expecting unreasonably fast service
- A customer blowing an understandable issue out of proportion- Unavoidable delays, damaged cargo, etc.
- A customer simply being in a bad mood
Bad experiences and bad days happen, and sometimes people take it out on your Yelp page, skewing your rating and potentially decreasing your revenue.
The upsides of Yelp reviews
While negative reviews are concerning, positive reviews can often outweigh them. If you have dozens of four and five-star reviews, a handful of one-star reviews won’t matter. This is especially true if happy customers leave written reviews, which leave a stronger impression than star ratings.
The more reviews you have, the more trust people have in your business. It’s a numbers game, but one that most legitimate businesses can win.
Yelp for business owners: The bottom line
Without a doubt, Yelp reviews matter. The risk of getting an unfair review is worth taking. Plus, you’re not completely powerless when it comes to your Yelp rating. Yelp allows business owners to flag reviews for removal for a variety of reasons. If a review is slanderous, contains profanity, or was posted on the wrong page, it can be removed.
You can also encourage happy customers to write reviews. While asking for a 5-star review is frowned upon, asking for them to share their experience is fine. Responding politely and warmly to both positive and negative reviews can help, too.
What Customers Should Know
Yelp is a community-driven platform. As tempting as it is to just read reviews, leaving feedback is important to the businesses you love. If you had a poor experience, do your best to keep criticism honest and constructive. Keep in mind that behind every Yelp page, there are real people that are likely doing their best. Give them the benefit of the doubt whenever possible.