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Looking back at the year in reviews



When we first started this podcast, our aim was to dig deeper into the business lessons that can be discovered on both ends of a Yelp review. As 2021 comes to a close, we’re bringing you something a little different for this week’s Behind the Review: a collection of our favorite insights from guests featured over the past year. 

We’ve heard from business owners across the country in all areas of expertise on why reviews matter to them. For Keene Addington, owner of fine-dining restaurant Tortoise Supper Club in Chicago, they’re about staying true to his core audience. “I don’t care what business you’re in—whether it’s Yelp… or a hardware store down the street—you have to stay in touch with your guests,” he said in a September 2021 episode. “And if you lose that, you potentially lose everything that is special about whatever it is you’re offering.”

Other business owners shared how they put this feedback to work. “Every time we get a bad review, we sit down and say, ‘What happened here?’” Nahuel Hilal, owner and founder of Miami’s Iris Tattoo, told host Emily Washcovick in April. We look into the case. We call the person. We make sure that we learn from our process and we make sure that we make it right.”

And what if there’s nothing to fix? Many business owners also look to Yelp to connect with customers and let them know their voice matters. “On every platform, I comment back on every review: good, bad, or ugly,” said Vadim Nayman, owner of Bagel Master in Syosset, New York in September. “You have to reach out to the people that took their time to give you a positive review and let them know that you appreciate them.”

In a turbulent year that saw new highs and lows for business owners, reviews are a reminder that small businesses are an integral part of their community. Jami Stigliano, owner and founder of dance studio franchise DivaDance, chooses to highlight customer stories to inspire the team. “I share those stories with our folks all across the brand because I want them to just remember that what they’re doing matters,” she said on a March episode. “Every little piece matters. It makes a difference to someone. And don’t just take my word for it—here’s someone telling you in a public forum.”

Of course, business owners represent just one side of a review. We’ve also spoken to reviewers about what they look for in a business, what motivates them to review, and how they approach giving feedback. While each customer brings their own values and perspective to a review, Yelp data shows that the majority of users display a desire to support their local community and help other consumers make informed decisions

According to reviewer Marla F., who was featured on the very first episode of Behind the Review, “If I want local businesses to continue to thrive around me, and if I want to continue to live in a city that is full of 5-star businesses, I need to reward them and give them that feedback.”

Editorial contributions by Alisa Gao


These lessons come from an episode of Behind the Review, Yelp & Entrepreneur Media’s weekly podcast. Listen below to hear more from these business owners and reviewers, or visit the episode page to read more, subscribe to the show, and explore other episodes.

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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.

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