Meet Valerie. She’s the owner of Les Deux Gamins in Montreal, QC. We recently caught up with her to get some insight into how she is managing to attract new customers and maintain local customer loyalty on the restaurant-packed, pedestrian-only street that her business calls home. While lots of factors have played a part in this restaurant’s success, Valerie shares how Yelp has become a key part of her strategy.
Photo credit: Les Deux Gamins
Yelp: How do you use the free tools for business owners available on biz.yelp.ca?
Val: We use biz owner tools to reply to our reviews, and also to track the user activities, which as is turns out is a good way to find out how busy we will be in advance, based on traffic. We also use the check-in tools to promote cocktails, imported wines, and new dishes like our tapas.
How do you find Yelp has impacted your business?
Yelp helped us get a selected clientele that only uses the internet and/or smartphones to find places to try. It is a great way for word of mouth marketing to reach a larger client base, both locals and travelers. It has also been used to adjust our client services. Specifically, we use the feedback to either improve when needed, or to stay the course with what makes our clients happy.
What advice would you give to other Canadian business owners for using Yelp as a tool? What’s one thing you’ve learned?
I would suggest that biz owners would be foolish not to take advantage of the tools available to interact with their real clients, getting new clients is one thing but maintaining client relations through communication is key to success in any business. Unlike many new promotional options like discounted coupons, the check-in allows a merchant to offer various products directly to mass audiences without having to pay a third party. I would also suggest trying Yelp events* (like the Elite Events, and the Yelp Helps event we are going to host July 28), which aside from the good will is like holding a press conference for foodies. The guests are sure to be food lovers who already like to share information which directly impacts your business.
What advice would you give to a business owner who just got a negative review?
My advice is to sit back and have a glass of wine! I guess in our case we try and figure out where things went wrong, in some negative reviews you can tell that the person is venting, but beneath the anger is a true example of what might have caused the upset: long wait, lack of attention, or just a dish that doesn’t work. Once you identify the issue, you can adjust accordingly, or at the very least offer an apology.
How important is it to be diplomatic when you respond?
Very important. Especially when responding publicly, whatever you write will be judged by others who see your response. Being defensive or arrogant is never an option. If the reviewer appears to be outrageously impossible to please there is very little you really need to do, the readers will make their own assessment of the situation. But It doesn’t hurt to be gracious and take the high road.
Words to live by!
* Across Canada, Yelp Community Managers partner up with local businesses to host events geared towards exposing the most active members of the Yelp Community to your business. If you’d like to discuss the possibility of getting your business involved, please email email@example.com.