Photo courtesy of Valerie G.
When did you start noticing people were finding your business on Yelp?
We have always checked online to see what people were saying about us, so as soon as the first Yelp review showed up in a google search (for Les Deux Gamin) we saw it. This was in 2011 and we had started a survey in our restaurant where in exchange for signing up to our preferred client account, they would receive a $25 gift certificate on their birthday. The survey basically got a rating (out of 4 stars), their name, e-mail, and how they found us. Yelp became the leader within a few weeks.
Why should other businesses in your community claim their business page on Yelp?
That is a no brainer. Everyone should claim their business page on Yelp because it’s free and provides a stage for you to put your best foot forward. What you ultimately do with it is up to you, but even if you do nothing more than add a business description, you will see the results of doing so in the activity section (of your business account). You can also add a check-in offer and measure how customers respond to it. I can think of no other way in marketing to get this precious information out to the world at large, at no cost.
Do you respond to your Yelp reviews?
Yes, pretty much all of them – the good, the not as good, and the truly ugly. I treat my customers online the same way I would if they were standing in front of me at the bistro. I would find it very difficult to ignore them in person regardless of if they are complimenting us or complaining.
Any Yelp success stories you’d like to share?
Two come to mind, the first was our participation in Yelp Helps which brought together 300+ people, 15 non-profits and several media outlets. The second was hearing from a client who told me that he chose our bistro because he felt a connection to our place because he saw our listing, read the reviews and our replies. He told me that any business that showed that much respect for their clients was a place he wanted to visit.