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“Customer Service” has a Big Impact on Yelp Ratings

Yelp has long advised businesses to “focus on great customer service and the ratings and reviews will come”. Working with our Search & Data Mining team, we took a deep dive into the data to see how perceived “customer service” impacts review ratings, both good and bad.

Of course, other factors in a reviewer’s experience come into play when rating a business, but what we found is that customer service plays an incredibly crucial role when it comes to having a strong or poor rating on Yelp.

Let’s dive in further and find out if good or bad customer service really makes a difference in a review. We looked at people who mentioned “bad” or “awful” customer service versus those that mention “good” or “great” customer service. If a yelper mentioned good customer service, they are over 5 times as likely to give a 5 star review rather than a 1 star. Similarly, nearly 70% of “bad” customer service experiences are given 1 star, compared to less than 5% that get 5 stars.

Saying “focus on great customer service and the ratings and reviews will come” is easy, but what do yelpers think is good or bad?  Of course, every business is different, but we grabbed the words that showed up more often in positive customer service reviews and threw them in a cloud to see what stood out.

It looks to us like yelpers care about the simple things. Aside from the generally positive feeling about a place that yelpers love, “friendly”, “nice” and “helpful” stand out as things that are often mentioned with positive customer service, and hence good reviews.

If you are serious about improving customer service for your business, you might take some time to read your reviews and see if there are perceptions of your business that aren’t as positive as the ones above. In some instances, it may be tough, but challenge yourself to look at what you’re doing consistently well and what you’re doing consistently not so well. From there:

  • Familiarize yourself with Yelp’s free tools and tutorial videos available to you in our Business Support Center and take the first step unlock your Yelp page.
  • Create an actionable plan and work with your staff to address the concerns of your customers.
  • Use our free tools at to respond to yelpers who have reviewed you.
  • You can even outline the steps you’re taking to address customer concerns in your “About the Business” section via our free tools.
  • Stay positive. No one spends their hard earned money at a business hoping to have a bad experience. Yelpers love it when businesses reach out to them, and want small businesses in their community to succeed.

*Based on Yelp reviews as of April 2012, excluding reviews that were filtered or removed.