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The Yelp Review Bias

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The Yelp Review Bias

July 13, 2017      In third party site reviews No Comments

Yelp is a review site and sees itself as such. While Yelp will let anyone (who creates an account) review a business, it won’t necessarily show that review to other users.

When it comes to review and ratings, Yelp wants to see itself as a purist. Only those people who, of their own inclination, are driven to provide a review should do so. And, they should be people who regularly review companies.

This means Yelp does not want you asking your customers for reviews. The philosophy behind this is simple. You’ll only ask good customers to review your business. Yelp does not see this as a good thing; it can present a biased view of your company… in favor of it.

It also means that the ratings & reviews of happy customers that are motivated to provide a review, but don’t do so often, will not show up. Other prospective customers won’t see the reviews from low volume reviewers.

While this self-designated purist view is admirable, there are issues with it for businesses.

If you regularly ask customers to review your company and a larger number of them do so in a short time, Yelp will discount those reviews. In their view, the reviews may come in too quickly and look artificially motivated.

What if you are “that good.” Every company will get a bad review from time to time. But, if you do a much better job of serving customers and handling problems, you’re review profile will look much better than your competitions… perhaps unnaturally so.

What to do
You should not stop asking for reviews. Ever. When satisfied customers leave your business, you ask them to mention your company to their friends. This is a basic word of mouth approach. Reviews are the same thing. Keep Asking.

For those customers that you might hesitate to ask for a review, that is your queue that you have an opportunity. Yelps concern is that there will be an under-representation of unhappy customers in the reviews. If all you do is ignore these people, Yelp may be correct. But, if you strive to regain their trust and business, your effort to get reviews is also and effort to make all customers happy. Turning unhappy customers happy is all part of the effort.

Yelp is not the only game in town. You should not ignore Yelp but you can focus more effort on building your Google My Business and Facebook reviews. If you have other niche sites that are important to your industry, request reviews for them as well.

When seeking reviews from customers, spreading them out across sites is a good idea. Our view is that you start with Google. From there, look at your customer base and see where they spend time… It may be Yelp, but it could be other places as well. Talk to them and find out.

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