Carlos Rodriguez, owner of Mr. Roofing in South San Francisco, recently sat down with us and shared why he started to pay attention to Yelp and the benefits of using the free tools available in Yelp’s Business Account to connect with his customers. Here’s what Carlos had to say:
Q: When did you start noticing people were finding your business on Yelp?
A: I first noticed people finding us on Yelp when we received a couple of 5 star reviews, from completely satisfied customers, in 2007. I was immediately intrigued by this forum called Yelp and was excited about the possibilities – I understood that this Yelp thing would be word of mouth advertising exponentially magnified by the power of the internet.
Q: Have you responded to reviews? What are a few of your best practices when responding to reviews?
A: I always respond to reviews. It is important to recognize what someone is saying about your business. Perception is reality and if we don’t help manage our business’ reputation then that reality can get distorted. The ability to respond allows us to clarify our position and address questions, concerns, and even compliments! When we receive a review I always take 10 deep breaths, because it feels like when you were in school and getting a grade back on a project – even though you know you did well there’s still some drama and intensity because you never know what is on the other side. Once I read the review, whether good or bad, I take the time to research the client project (we install roofs and solar), talk to my teammates that were involved to get more background, and then I share with our entire team. We celebrate the successes and train on any shortcomings. I always take a day to reflect on the review and then I respond sincerely. I appreciate the opportunity to respond because it helps me stay connected to our team and our clients – so that I have a real pulse on our business. I dislike forums that are anonymous and we can’t respond to because it is harder to trust those forums and the people reviewing on those forums. I love this era of transparency because dishonest business people can’t hide and take advantage of people. Yelp provides the opportunity for businesses that want to do right, to be transparent and demonstrate their integrity. These are a few of our core values at Mr. Roofing, Inc and Solar Universe SSF.
Q: From the suite of free tools available in your business account, what have you found to be the most successful in attracting customers to your business?
A: From the suite of free tools available in our business account I believe that messaging reviewers has helped attract customers to our business because they get some insight to our level of care, respect, and concern for our clients. Prospective customers can read through reviews and our responses so that they can perform their due diligence. This way they can sift through and get the whole perspective/disposition of the businesses they are considering. Anyone can put up pictures of their best work and write some good content about their business but only an owner that cares about their clients will take the time to review, learn, respond, and manage their business from the feedback they are getting from reviews.
Q: Any Yelp success stories you’d like to share?
A: There are a couple of Yelp success stories, for example an Elite Yelper wrote a funny and gracious review about our service – defending the fact that we get backlogged in the Winter because of demand for our company. She expressed that it was more than worth the wait for her experience in doing business with us. The funny part was that she said we saved her cat from getting continually wet from her roof leak and she suggested to Yelpers that if they were unemployed and needed a job they should consider roofing. The most important Yelp success story though is the fact that we generate approximately 8 – 11% (each year has been different) of our revenue from Yelp inquiries. So far Yelp’s demographic is our target clientele.
Q: Why should other businesses in your community claim their business page on Yelp?
A: Other businesses in our community should claim their business page on Yelp so that they can manage their online reputation and keep an internet eye on what the community is saying about their service. It is a good opportunity to learn and manage their business from the feedback they receive. It is also a tremendous marketing opportunity to raise their hand, figuratively, and let people searching for their service know they are open for business.