As a frequent user of Yelp and Seamless and other social web apps, I feel compelled to send a message to business owners with a bad rating or no rating at all.Perhaps you’ve never heard of Yelp or perhaps you think it doesn’t matter. Word of mouth and newspaper reviews were enough to bring in customers for the past thousand years. Why change?
What I want you to understand is that I and over 50 million other Yelp users like me will never be your customer.
Yelp is the first and last thing I check when looking for a restaurant or tailor or dry cleaner. I sort the dozens of local businesses by rating and then choose among the top few.
I steer clear of places with only a few ratings. I don’t even consider places with bad ratings. And I don’t even see places with no ratings (which show up at the bottom of the list if anywhere at all).
If you want to get my generation as a customer, there is a simple, obvious way to improve your Yelp presence: Get your customers to write reviews.
A few reviews will at least get you on the scoreboard. A large number of reviews will prevent your rating from getting trashed by a few bad reviews. A large number of reviews will also provide valuable feedback that will help you improve.
If you invite your regular customers to write reviews, they presumably with have something positive to say.
How big a difference can a good rating make?
Just ask Prints Charming, a five-star rated framing shop in Brooklyn. When I went there earlier this year, the owner asked me how I had heard of his shop. He nodded when I said Yelp. Every other person who walks into his shop came there because of the rating on Yelp.
We can’t advocate it, but there’s also an illegal way to improve your rating.
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