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Buzztime - Business Bar Trivia by Buzztime

Yelp. Depending on your level of mastery, the mere mention of the crowd-sourced review website may send shivers down your spine. A negative Yelp review can haunt your restaurant for years to come, and in the era of smartphones ranking high on Yelp with a favorable score is one of the best ways to attract new business.

If you run a smooth operation and offer terrific food and a winning atmosphere, you may already have a great Yelp score with any luck. But if you’re looking to boost your score on Yelp, read on for Buzztime’s quick guide on how to get good Yelp reviews.

Maintain a Presence on Yelp

Let’s say you log on to Yelp and discover that your restaurant just received a scathing one-star review. Don’t resort to aggression – take the time to read the customer’s complaints and figure out why they had a negative response. Often, negative reviews aren’t reflective of every aspect of your restaurant, but rather one incident that left the customer upset or unsatisfied.

Respond to the Yelp review promptly. Express empathy and ask how you can resolve the situation – often, when you reach out you can right whatever wrong occurred. In many instances, the customer might remove the original post or they may bump their rating. Don’t stay on the defensive, or start an argument. The review will stay up and they conversation will poorly reflect on your brand.

Make Reviews Mutually Beneficial

You may have hundreds of satisfied customers leaving your restaurant every night, but very few are going to write a Yelp review. Yelp ratings are often skewed because angry customers are more likely to take time to review your restaurant than happy customers. Offering discounts and other promotions for customers is a great way to combat this bias and convince customers to write a review.

Most reviews on Yelp will be approved by the site if the reviews are at least a few sentences long. Offer a free appetizer or a free meal if a customer writes a Yelp review and emails you the link. This kind of promotion tends to work very well; you won’t need to explicitly instruct the customer to write a positive review. The incentive of a discount or a free meal will ensure their feedback is positive.

Incorporate Yelp Into Your Feedback

One of the best ways to increase your Yelp reviews is to give your customers the opportunity to post on multiple occasions. In the restaurant, you can offer a discount or incentive for leaving a positive review, as discussed above. But your marketing team can also include a link to Yelp directly on your email feedback form.

For your feedback surveys, prompt your customer to answer if their experience was negative or positive. For negative feedback, keep them in the email or survey and record their feedback. For positive feedback, you can link directly to Yelp to encourage customers who had a great experience to leave a review. Most customers don’t think of leaving reviews after a delicious meal – remind them later via email for better results!

Reaching out to customers on various platforms and requesting a review is the best method of boosting your Yelp ranking. To incentivize the review, showcase your tastiest dessert on in-location digital signage and offer a discount if a review is left. Get creative and watch your Yelp score skyrocket!
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