Yelp; most local businesses have a love/hate relationship with it. On one hand it’s a great site for getting your business found and assisting in building up your sites local citations. On the other hand, one bad review could have a significant impact on the reputation of your business. Until recently, business owners who were afraid of negative reviews being posted felt some comfort in the fact that reviews could be written via the Yelp mobile app, but not posted. Oftentimes this would result in a negative review being delayed, or perhaps never posted at all. But a recent change to the app has removed that roadblock.
Last week Yelp announced an update allowing users to post reviews straight from their mobile device. Recognizing the evolution of its user base and its dependence on mobile devices, Yelp decided it was time to allow users the ability to write and publish reviews directly from their mobile device. Previously, users could write a draft of their review from their phone, but would have to wait until they logged in on a desktop computer to publish the review.
Why This Matters To Businesses
While this may seem like a minor change, it has the potential to have a major impact on local businesses and how customers interact with them on Yelp.
A Change In User Behavior
This app update has the opportunity to change the behavior of Yelps user base. Even Yelp admits most users don’t post reviews, but with this change many users who were turned off by the two step posting process may start using the review feature more. I know a number of people I have talked to over the years have complained about the two step process and have stated that its the number one reason they don’t post reviews. With the second step removed, there’s a strong chance those users will begin freely posting reviews.
Fullfilling the Need To Be Heard
If there’s one thing social media has taught us, its that we as a society love to be heard. We tell you where we are, what we’re eating, what we’re doing, and sometimes we even snap a picture of it. With the ability to post a review on the fly, your customers now have the opportunity to share with their friends and the public how much they love your business or how much they hate your business during the exact moment they are feeling that emotion the most. This means that if you’re a doctor’s office and a member of your stuff goes out of their way to make me, as a patient, fee more comfortable or cared for I might post an amazing review about how much I love your practice and your staff. On the flipside, if your staff is uncaring and treats me like an inconvenience more than a patient chances are I am going to spend that few minutes in the exam room before you come in ripping apart your practice and its miserable batch of employees.
Because this is written and published in the moment, chances are it is going to reflect the extremes I am feeling in that moment. So if I love you in that moment I am really going to love you, and if I hate you in that moment…well chances are I’ll use a few choice four letter words to describe my experience.
A Need For Quality Service
Unless you’re this moron, chances are you recognize the importance of treating your customers well and providing quality service. That said, business owners are often so disconnected from the day-to-day of their business they don’t really see what’s going on at the point of contact with their customers.
I personally worked with a client who thought his office staff was exceptional. It wasn’t until he began recording incoming phone calls that he discovered his staff was often rude and would leave callers on hold for unreasonable amounts of time. In the end we were able to tie poor phone conversions back to how the staff handled phone calls.
Now more than ever business owners need to be checking the pulse of their business and really understand how their customers are being treated. While Yelp has been around for years, and people have used it for years, this new feature enables its users to be more in the moment and depending on how they feel about your business that could be good or bad.
I don’t believe that this change will generate a sweeping change in how users navigate reviews on Yelp, but I do believe that for a certain percentage of users this is going to enable them to post a number of reviews they may not have posted prior to the update. As a business owner, now is the time to make sure you have all your ducks in a line when it comes to managing your reputation and making sure that the quality of service you provide your customers is truly meeting their needs.