Toy or Tool? Yelp

What is it? Yelp is not new to many businesses. The site was founded in 2004 and attracts more than 108 million viewers worldwide who look to the 42 million user-generated viewers to help guide where to shop, eat, and even get their teeth cleaned. The Yelp mobile app (just launched in August of 2013) now allows people to rant, rave, and leave tips from wherever they are from their devices. A recent study revealed that a whopping 90% of Yelp visitors are swayed by positive reviews.

What’s the value? Keeping your customers or clients happy has always made sense. A satisfied customer tells other prospects and you get more business. Pretty simple, right? But now keeping your customers and clients happy is more important than ever before, as each person can ultimate tell more than 40 million others about his experience. Make sure that your reviews are genuine. Bribing customers to say good things about you is a definite “don’t.” (See “What’s the downside” below.)

What’s the downside? Like any negative mentions on the web, scathing Yelp comments can live on and on and on. Yelp has a formal program in place to investigate and shut-down bogus positive reviews. 

The bottom line: Be sure to “claim” your business pages on Google, Yelp, and other key industry review sites and pay close attention to your “Yelpers.” A smart business owner today may not like what is being said about his organization online, but he can no longer ignore it.  The customer is always right…and now 42 million of them can see what he’s saying.