A single review can tell you if a customer is happy or frustrated—but analyzing all of your reviews can lead to insights that can help you generate more business.
To prove this point, I teamed up with Emily Washcovick, Yelp’s small business expert and host of the Behind the Review podcast, to analyze the Yelp reviews of three small businesses and help each company discover at least one new insight to grow revenue.
Bird Bird Biscuit
Austin-based Bird Bird Biscuit wants to “blow your mind with chicken and biscuits.” Now with two locations, the original site has a 4.5-star Yelp rating with over 1,000 reviews.
- 73% of Yelp reviews contain positive comments about the food
- 57% of the reviews specifically mentioned the great biscuits
- 25% of reviews contained a negative comment about wait time, including 33% of 5-star reviews
The mission: Manage long wait times
Customers will line up for stellar food, but that doesn’t mean they love the line. This is the case at Bird Bird, where there is often a wait—and long wait times can cost you customers.
Insight and solution
Fortunately, the answer to this problem was hidden among the reviews. 31% of 5-star reviews mentioned they came from out of town, and many first-time customers didn’t know they could save time by ordering online. We also identified that these customers were more likely to have questions about the menu or be confused by the ordering process, which is done via a self-service kiosk.
Armed with this information, Bird Bird Biscuit co-owner, Brian Batch, identified a solution. He plans to hire an “ambassador” who can greet customers, answer questions about the menu, and keep people informed about their order as they wait. The ambassador will use self-service assistance techniques to help people place their orders and engage them so the wait feels shorter.
This small change will encourage more people to visit Bird Bird Biscuit on a regular basis.
Ideal Plumbing Heating Air and Electrical
Ideal Plumbing Heating Air and Electrical has been serving customers in San Diego for over 60 years. It has a 4-star Yelp rating with over 200 reviews. I’ve personally been an Ideal customer for over 20 years and have referred many friends and neighbors.
The mission: Earn more word-of-mouth referrals
Online reviews are a valuable form of word-of-mouth advertising—but if customers don’t know about all the services you offer, they can’t try them, much less recommend them.
Insight and solution
Every review we analyzed mentioned plumbing, even though Ideal offers many other services. This means a customer looking for an electrician, air conditioning repair, or a kitchen remodel might not consider Ideal, even though these are all areas where the company excels.
A close look at the reviews revealed two clues about how Ideal could inspire customers to write reviews about the services they offer besides plumbing.
First, almost every positive review described a sense of relief. (Research shows that relief is one of the most powerful customer service emotions.) According to Ideal’s Marketing Director Natalie Barillas, a manager often calls customers to follow up after urgent or complex jobs to ensure complete satisfaction. This small act of customer service is a crucial one and not only heightens the sense of relief but makes customers feel valued.
Since plumbing repairs tend to be more urgent and complex than other issues, most of those follow-up calls were to plumbing customers. This insight gave Barillas the idea to expand follow-up calls to customers who used other services as well, showing that Ideal truly cares about them and providing the opportunity to identify any small issues before they become big ones.
The second clue was nearly all 5-star reviews mentioned an employee by name. This suggests the technician had made a personal connection with the customer during a stressful repair. Customers tend to have more positive emotions about a company when they create a personal connection with an employee—and all of Ideal’s technicians are friendly and personable.
After deciphering the clues, Barillas gave each technician business cards to help customers remember their technicians’ names, open future doors of communication, and make referrals much easier.
Tempoe Entertainment DJs
Tempoe Entertainment DJs is based on Long Beach and serves much of Southern California with DJs, lighting, photo booths, and other services for weddings, parties, and special events. The company has a 5-star Yelp rating with over 800 reviews.
The mission: Find a hidden strength
The DJ business tends to be seasonal. Holiday parties are concentrated in late November and December, and weddings tend to take place late spring through early fall—but if the business could provide its services year-round, its revenue could grow significantly.
Insight and solution
Tempoe’s reviews contained a hidden clue to securing more bookings throughout the year. Birthday parties were mentioned in 34% of the company’s Yelp reviews, with half of those specifically describing a quinceañera, or a fifteenth birthday celebration.
This fact gave owner Ryan Girgis the idea to promote Tempoe’s birthday party capabilities, with a specific focus on quinceañeras, which are popular in Southern California. To accomplish this, Girgis is adding a birthday section to the Tempoe website, including videos and photos from the many events they’ve hosted to showcase Tempoe’s ability to provide exceptional entertainment and great value to its customers.
Using reviews to your advantage
All three businesses we met with were already successful. They had a positive reputation and did steady business with an enthusiastic customer base. Each business also cared deeply about customer feedback and had a process already in place to learn from customer reviews.
Yet with each one, we found a new opportunity to increase revenue (and customer satisfaction) by analyzing clues in their online reviews.
To take full advantage of your own online reviews, follow this step-by-step guide to uncover potential ideas to increase your revenue, or watch below.
The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.