disappointing review sitesAny bricks and mortar place of business knows the value or has had the fear put in them from online review sites. While many a restaurant owner and hotel manager have cursed the day companies like Yelp were created, have no fear. Review sites can be your friend. Repeat after me – review sites can be my friend.

Statistically it is shown that 70% of buying decisions are made by online reviews – whether that is through a review site or social media.  Don’t let this scare you. If somebody left a bad review about your place of business there are some steps you can take, which we will cover at the end of this article.

But first, let’s look at other ways review sites can actually be useful to your business.

1. Puts You On The Map –You want people to discover your place of business when searching online and review sites like Yelp and Google Places have been holding down page one of search engines, especially Google, for quite some time. What better way to show up first than to be on a review site?

2. People Read Reviews – If you really want to showcase your place of business, focus on getting people to talk about your special features when they are visiting. Take the time to point out what makes your place of business unique and the next thing you know, those same people will be providing you with some free advertising with their comments.

3. Learn From Your Mistakes – Getting the feedback of guests is valuable. Don’t get angry when somebody didn’t have a perfect experience in your establishment, learn from it, fix it and make a public statement to the one who reviewed you apologizing and asking them for a second chance.


What You Can Do

This leads us to what you can do to maintain your review sites. Yes, review sites should be monitored and maintained, not ignored and shunned.

1. Claim your business page on Yelp, Google Places or any and every review site you can.

2. Respond to all reviews, both positive and negative. Thank people when they say something kind and publicly apologize to those who think your business provided them with the worse experience on the planet. Be open and honest about how the mistake was made and what you have done to correct it. People are more than not willing to forgive.

3. Resolve false reviews. Yes we know competitors will often leave nasty reviews on others sites just to make their place look better. If you have what appears to be an obviously false review, sometimes you can ask to have it taken down by the review site. If this doesn’t work, and often this doesn’t work because too many business owners just want anything and everything negative off their review page and take advantage of this feature– then just make sure that you have more positive reviews that outweigh the negative. People know review sites are gamed and are willing to overlook weird off-the-wall reviews if everybody else is saying something kind.


How is your company using review sites? Are you utilizing the above steps? What experiences have you had? Please leave us a comment with your own direct experience or results.