Yelp Reviews Continue to Dominate Search – Why Don’t Business Owners Listen?

Ah, Yelp. The love it/hate it relationship with this site continues to be top of mind for many business owners. I type this as I sit in my childhood dining room. My family and I are visiting my parents in Michigan. The hubby and I are interested in partaking in some craft brew discoveries this evening and, of course, I am cross-referencing my friends’ recommendations with Yelp reviews. I’m sure a good chunk of people do the very thing I am doing now.

So imagine my disappointment when I look up about 3-5 popular brewhouses/bars and see little to zero interaction from the managers, owners, etc. No response to poor reviews. No clarification regarding confusing ordering scenarios or shoddy service. Zilch.

In a world where SEO rankings and feedback about a business or service take priority when consumers decide where to spend their time and/or dollars, why do businesses decide not to respond? If I ran a hot dog stand and someone commented that my buns were increasingly soggy and the dog had no bite, I would ensure that someone responded. I couldn’t imagine a lingering negative review about my food just sitting out there, hanging in Cyberspace, for every potential new customer to see, prompting them to patronize another hot dog stand.

I come from a family of small business owners and I know how hard running a business can be. (I used to peel potatoes at my grandparents’ diner.) By the time the inventory is ordered, rent paid, and receipt checks accounted for, the last thing many small business owners may want to do is read online reviews and respond to them.

I urge every small business owner, all the way up to the CPG CEO, to take serious heed to the online reviews your consumers take the time to pen. If you can’t read all of them, bring on a team who can. We do this day in and day out at ModSquad. From franchises to video game companies, we provide real-time intelligence to our partners on what consumers are saying about their products — and we help them make these businesses better. It is fulfilling work to hear from a client for whom we helped mitigate a crisis or make a service offering flow in the way that it should.

As for me, I’m going back to my Yelp reading and hope to find a craft brew place that responds back to its patrons. Wish me luck.

Blagica Bottigliero
VP, Digital Media

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