How One Restaurant LOVES their ONE STAR YELP reviews!



How One Restaurant LOVES their ONE STAR YELP reviews!

How One Restaurant LOVES their ONE STAR YELP reviews!

Most restaurant owners want the best-possible rating on Yelp, but Davide Cerretini is very happy to report that, based on more than 1,200 reviews, his Italian eatery has a dismal one-star score.

Cerretini lost his taste for Yelp when his own Botto Bistro in Richmond, California, began attracting reviews that were more negative than usual after he stopped advertising on the site. He told HuffPost Live’s Josh Zepps on Thursday that Yelp’s algorithm for featuring top reviews is not transparent enough, and he felt the absence of his advertising dollars was related to his restaurant’s diminishing rating.

To combat the problem, Cerretini got creative. He started offering a discount in exchange for giving Botto Bistro a one-star Yelp review, and customers complied en masse.

Credit: Huffington Post

50 stats that show the importance of online reviews

  1. 92% of consumers now read online reviews vs. 88% in 2014
  2. 40% of consumers form an opinion by reading just one to three reviews vs. 29% in 2014
  3. Star rating is the number one factor used by consumers to judge a business
  4. 44% say a review must be written within one month to be relevant.This highlights the importance of recency in reviews!
  5. 68% say positive reviews make them trust a local business more vs. 72% in 2014
  6. 43% of consumers search a business by reviews at least one time per month vs. 38% in 2014
  7. 60% of consumers have searched a business at least six times per year vs. 56% in 2014
  8. There has been a considerable decrease in those that “never” search for a local business online, down from 22% to 9%, and an increase in those that search for a local business every day, up from 7% to 14%
  9. 73% have read online reviews on a desktop
  10. 38% have read online reviews on mobile internet vs 24% on a mobile app
  11. 29% have read reviews on a tablet
  12. 33% believe all local businesses should have websites designed for mobile vs. 25% in 2013
  13. 61% are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile optimized site
  14. 40% of consumers form an opinion by reading one to three reviews, vs. 29% in 2014
  15. 73% of consumers form an opinion by reading up to six reviews ,vs. 64% in 2014
  16. 88% of consumers form an opinion by reading up to ten reviews vs. 84% in 2014. This means it’s important to have a large body of reviews, as customers are reading more reviews now than in all years past.
  17. Only 12% are prepared to read more than 10 reviews vs. 16% in 2014
  18. 26% of consumers say it’s important that a local business responds to its reviews
  19. Only 14% of consumers would consider using a business with a one or two star rating
  20. 57% of consumers would use a business with a three star rating
  21. 94% of consumers would use a business with a four star rating
  22. 51% of consumers will select a local business if it has positive reviews
  23. 88% trust reviews as much as personal recommendations, vs. 83% in 2014
  24. 48% will visit a company’s website after reading positive reviews
  25. 23% will visit the business premises directly after reading positive reviews
  26. 9% of consumers will phone a business after reading positive reviews
  27. 95% of consumers suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see bad scores
  28. Reliability (27%), expertise (21%) and professionalism (18%) remain the most important attributes to consumers
  29. More consumers are interested in “good value” than before, while less are concerned about the “expertise” of a business
  30. Word of mouth is still the most popular method of recommendation for consumers despite a 2% drop year over year
  31. On average, a consumer will look at over 10 information sources before making a purchase
  32. Over half of young people aged 18 to 34 say they trust online reviews more than the opinions of friends and family
  33. 88% of online shoppers incorporate reviews into their purchase decision
  34. Consumers who read reviews on a smartphone are 127% more likely to buy than those who read reviews on desktops
  35. Reviews are especially important for local searches as they influence up to 10% of the ranking
  36. Only reviews from friends and family are trusted more than online review. Reviews from experts and celebrity endorsements are less trusted than online reviews
  37. 30% of consumers assume online reviews are fake if there are no negative reviews
  38. The three online platforms dedicated to reviews with the most global traffic are: yelp, tripadvisor, foursquare
  39. 58% of consumers said they have recently (within the past five years) began leaving more and more online reviews based upon customer service
  40. 100% of customers who make over $150,000 annually claim to leave reviews when it comes to a poor customer service experience
  41. Reviews of 50 or more, per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates
  42. 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews
  43. 105% customers are more likely to purchase while visiting, when site visitors interact with both reviews and customer questions and answers, and spend 11% more than visitors who don’t interact
  44. Reviews produce an average of 18% uplift in sales
  45. 64% of consumers would read online reviews when purchasing technology items
  46. 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores
  47. Between one and three bad online reviews would be enough to deter the majority (67%) of shoppers from purchasing a product or service
  48. 86% of people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative online reviews
  49. Number of reviews posted every minute by Yelp users is 26,380
  50. If a business resolve its issue quickly and efficiently, 95% of unhappy customers returns back to your business

Here’s How to Defend Your Business On-line!

From retailers to service providers and restaurants, businesses receive a noticeable uptake if they receive positive write-ups on user-generated review sites. On average, a one-star increase on Yelp leads to a 5 to 9 percent increase in a business’s revenue, according to an infographic provided by Chatterbox, a company that builds customer-engagement platforms for marketing purposes. On the flip side, one negative review can cost you 30 customers.

Clearly, online reviews are serious business. And they are becoming increasingly important: By 2017, millennials — a group whose purchasing decisions are disproportionately impacted by customer-reviews — will have the most spending power of any generation.

Unfortunately, it’s easy for your business’s online reputation to get sullied. Cranky customers, disgruntled employees and even sneaky competitors can barrage your business with nasty social media mentions and online reviews. In fact, a whopping 45 percent of customers share their negative experiences over social media, while 35 percent post them on review sites.

All this online negativity can be very damaging, which is why it’s essential you respond to bad reviews in a prompt and appropriate fashion.

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Behind the Curtain of Yelps Powerful Reviews

In 2011, Paul Millington opened a Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Cary, N.C. He was a seasoned professional ready to provide lessons in partnership dances, such as ballroom and swing.

Like many entrepreneurs, he found himself quickly loaded with tasks to run his business, and one of them was managing his Yelp listing, which he checks daily. He has received dozens of reviews, mostly from satisfied customers, but he has also received negative comments as well.

The first one was a misunderstanding that the reviewer corrected immediately, but the second was a bit more troubling, since it came from a local competitor. Millington called Yelp, explained the situation and asked for the review to be removed. A representative explained that the company does not remove negative reviews for any reason.

According to Millington, Yelp said that “their algorithm would determine whether or not a review was featured.” Since this particular review seemed suspicious, it has not been featured.

Many entrepreneurs contact account managers at Yelp trying to get negative reviews removed, and more positive reviews publicly posted. All businesses get told is, “The algorithm makes the decision.” So how exactly does it work?

Darnell Holloway, a senior manager of local business outreach at Yelp, provided some insight into the mystery. Yelp has software that evaluates every single review based on quality, reliability and user activity on Yelp, he says. Here’s a breakdown:

Quality: The review must have new, helpful and pertinent information. Yelp is unlike the synthesis of traditional advertising as portrayed on Mad Men. For example, in traditional advertising a happy kid drinks orange juice in a commercial. It appeals to emotion. You, as the customer, have had orange juice.

Yelp does the opposite. It collects data to find trends that create a user/customer experience.

Holloway explains, “The experience that people read about online is going to be in line with what happens when they go to that business.”

The Yelp algorithm will usually disregard total raves and total bashes of companies because they are not content rich.

Reliability: Yelp works off data points. When a user sets up his or her account, they have the opportunity to give Yelp information about themselves. Points include information such as a user’s date of birth and city. Users can sync their Facebook account with Yelp. The more information Yelp has about a user, the more “reliable” he or she is.

User activity: Activity tracks how often these “reliable” people write pertinent reviews. These are the reviews that get featured. Users with less activity, fewer friends or fewer reviews are less likely to have their review recommended. That does not mean with absolute certainty it will not be recommended.

Nearly every business can be found on Yelp. Once, you, as a business owner, claim a listing, you gain access to a free suite of tools that allow you to respond to reviews, and track how many people are visiting your listing. Yelp encourages adding photos. Listings with photos usually receive more activity.

It is also worth noting that Yelp tracks reviews written from the same IP address to ensure people who work at a company are not writing these reviews. Customers should not be encouraged to write a clearly biased review.

With great power. Yelp has 132 million visitors every month. According to Nielsen, four out of five users visit the site when they want to spend money. There is a ton of money to be made and lost on Yelp.

“These reviews have an awful lot of power,” says Dr. Peter Zandan, global vice chair of research at Hill + Knowlton Strategies. “It is not as dramatic as the success or failure of a business, but in terms of incremental sales they have a huge influence.”

When businesses are five-star rated, with glowing reviews that are information rich, this can mean a bump in sales. However, the opposite can be true.

“We know from research that negative comments are weighted more than positive comments,” Zandan says.

A good example of this is the ads that run around political campaigns. Candidates have won elections by running ads with negative comments about their opponent instead of highlighting their own agenda.

When approaching a negative Yelp review, Holloway explains, “A business should think about the policy they have about face-to-face interactions.”

Big issues for service professionals. The reviews site has a really important role in our economic system, especially with small businesses, and that responsibility is a social contract. Yelp is a technology company that has put the ability to critique any business in the hands of anyone. Most people can go to ballroom dancing and make a fair judgment of what they learned. It is straightforward.

In other areas, such as law or medicine, this is more difficult. Additionally, certain fields are bound by confidentiality, and an owner cannot publicly respond to a negative comment on Yelp in a specific way.

Jessica Kaminski, a marketing associate at Goldberg Jones, a Seattle-based family law firm primarily representing men in family court, knows all too well what Zandan is speaking about.

“It has been challenging to follow Yelp’s recommendation of publicly replying to each negative review,” she says.

The law firm has refrained from posting public generic responses due to the sensitive and personal nature of each case, which has worked against it.

“We have had clients call and cancel consultations, saying that after reading our Yelp reviews they were not interested in our services,” Kaminski says.

Goldberg Jones, like many businesses, has tried to flag reviews to get them taken down. But like all businesses, it was told, “Sorry, but we do not take sides in factual disputes. If a review appears to reflect the user’s personal experience and opinions, it is our policy to let the user stand behind their review.” This leaves all the more power in the hands of a Yelp user, and businesses are at the mercy of whomever they may be.

Fighting back (or not). Currently, there is no way for a business to defend itself against a dissatisfied customer no matter how big or small they are.

Millington, the owner of the dance studio, says that he wishes “Yelp was more transparent in allowing business owners to see who the reviewers are. Businesses should be allowed to contest a review by requiring reviewers to respond or have the review removed.”

Zandan points to the format of movie-reviews site Rotten Tomatoes and the level of sophistication of its reviews, which are collected from experts who are professional writers and critics, as a possible change to Yelp.

“Sooner or later,” he says, “the model of their reviews will have to change [with] enough push back.”

Comparing Yelp to the non-profit Consumer Reports, Zandan adds, “Due to the fact that it is a public company, they are supposed to overreach. It is in the business to make money.”


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Reviews establish credibility. Customers are more likely to trust online reviews over traditional advertising for obvious reasons, who better to ask than those who have knowledge of your business first hand? People turn to online reviews to decide where to eat dinner, what kitchen appliance to buy, where to shop, and which service provider to hire. Within major verticals there are also review sites, but in general Yelp and Google are the two primary tools used. As we look at these two sites when it comes to online reviews and each has their own positives and negatives, but which is better for your business?

Let’s break them down below:

GOOGLE – Everybody knows Google (they also have the majority of local search traffic)

  • Google is the most powerful search engine in the world, people use it to find almost everything!
  • Google reviews are attached to how Google organizes search results.
  • The more activity you have on any of Google’s platforms, the better your business performs in search engine results. Thus, the more reviews you have, the more exposure you receive.
  • Google reviews show up everywhere and across many services and sites aside from search engine results.
  • Even though Yelp reviews will pop up on a Google search, it’s likely to be 2 or 3 down the line with Google reviews and information posting priority at the top right of the results page.
  • Google is better at minimizing spam and sorting out false reviews

Yelp – Geared more toward local businesses.

*Of note, Google tried (unsuccessfully) to buy Yelp at one point

  • Yelp acts as a sort of virtual yellow pages where people can go to find out information about a business (hours of operation, location, phone number, etc.).
  • Yelp has feature to run ads and specials on the site for customers to take advantage of
  • Can pay to advertise your business to show up more frequently on Yelp search results
  • Yelp is meant to be used in mobile or tablet form, making it easy and convenient for people to pull up reviews and information.
  • Yelp requires that an active user be the one writing a review in order for it to pass through some of its security filters, which means that a happy customer can’t just create a new account, write a review and have it count the same as it would coming from a regular user. Reviews from regular Yelp users carry more weight.
  • Yelp’s mobile app is very popular and operates independently from search engines, a feature that many use and appreciate.

Google vs Yelp? The truth is that any positive online review is a good thing regardless of where it’s left. It can be a bit of overkill to ask your customers for reviews in more than one location so take the above information into consideration, decide which works best for your business and send your customers that way.

Facebook Reviews and Your Online Reputation

It’s one week before your mother’s birthday and you want to find the perfect gift. You would like to buy from a trustworthy company with good prices and great quality, but have no idea where to start.

You ask friends and family about gift ideas and you go online to search reviews from other customers.

85% of consumers use the Internet to find local businesses and 88% of consumers read online reviews. With statistics this high, it is evident that people will be searching for you and seeking out reviews for your business.

Facebook is Very Important to your Business

Facebook is one of the most important sites where reviews cannot be ignored. With 864 million daily active users, Facebook is no longer just a social site to connect with friends and family, but is now a major site for researching and connecting with local businesses.

If your business is on Facebook and you’re not monitoring reviews, you’re missing out on important feedback from customers and failing to impress potential buyers who are judging your business based on these reviews on your page.

Facebook Reviews: Who, Where, How?

Facebook reviews can be written on any local business page, by any Facebook user, at any time and all reviews are public.

Seen on the left, your overall rating for reviews is directly located under your business name, which immediately associates your business with either a high or low score.

If your rating is 4 stars or above, 92% of users are likely to use your business. 3 star rating? Now, only 72% of users will use your business. With 2 stars, only 27% are likely to use your business.  It’s obvious to see the decline of trust in a business when their ratings are low.

Don’t let your company lose business and revenue from a low Facebook rating. Give users a reason to look further down your page after you impress them with your 5 star rating!

How do I Handle Facebook Reviews?

Your Facebook reviews need to be monitored daily and responded to ASAP. Whether you’re responding to a positive or negative review, your customers expect to be answered.

Responding to negative reviews gives you the chance to turn a negative experience into a positive one. Take this feedback seriously and make time to find out more about their experience. This also gives you a chance to impress others by showing that you truly do care about all customers’ experiences and make an effort resolve the issues.

When responding to positive reviews, thank your customers for their business and personalize your response as much as you can. By responding, you show your appreciation for their feedback and increase your chances of them using your business again.


Quick tips for high Facebook ratings and reviews:

  • Give high quality customer service to each and every customer in person and online
  • Monitor all reviews and ‘like’ positive comments
  • Respond to every review, positive and negative
  • Keep your ratings 4 stars and above to make the most of your online efforts
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Five Reasons Why Your Company Needs Negative Reviews!

All business owners cringe at the sight of a one- or two-star review shown publicly on any review site.

The immediate feeling is often disbelief, anger, and resentment toward both the customer and the review site. There is almost nothing that makes business owners more emotional than public criticism of their work.

But emotions aside, negative reviews can actually be a good thing. Here are five ways they can help your business thrive.

1. They improve conversion rates.
On SiteJabber, businesses with 10-30 percent negative reviews actually receive more than 10 times more leads than businesses with nearly all five-star reviews. Other studies have shown that 68 percent of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad reviews.

This is true partly because many consumers want to understand “worst-case scenarios” before doing business with a new company. If they feel that they can live with the worst-case scenario, they may decide your company is one they want to work with.

Perhaps ironically, if potential customers cannot find any information on “worst-case scenarios,” their imaginations may run wild, leading them to decide your business is too risky to engage with.

2. They instill trust.
It may seem counterintuitive that reading bad reviews can make a consumer trust a company more, but we live in an age where fake “social proof” is everywhere. Nowadays, anyone can buy thousands of Facebook likes or Twitter followers for a few dollars.

Savvy consumers understand that reviews also can be fake, so when they see a business with 100 perfect five-star reviews and no bad reviews, they tend to believe all the positive reviews are fakes, even if they are real.

Customers are smart: They know that all businesses, even the best ones, have at least some unhappy customers. So as long as negative reviews are seen alongside good reviews, they can humanize your business and reassure consumers that the rest of your reviews are legitimate.

3. They highlight brilliant customer service (if you respond to them publicly).
Consumers trust brands that have great customer service. Nordstrom is a great example of this.

However, smaller companies often find it challenging to show that they, too, strive to provide the best customer service possible. Responding quickly and proactively to negative reviews is a great way to show you care.

When companies respond publicly to negative online reviews with comments like, “We’re so sorry for the miscommunication. Please contact our representative and we will take care of your issue right away,” prospective consumers gain confidence that the business will address their needs if something goes wrong.

Moreover, customers who rewrite their review after a bad experience can be some of the best public reviews you can get because they show consumers you will work with them if a bad situation arises. So the next time you get a bad review, think of it as an opportunity to show off — and show that you care about customer experience.

4. They publicly educate future customers.
Many business websites have FAQs and return policies that no one ever reads. When things go wrong, consumers often blame the company for bad customer service, even though the business tried its best to state its policies upfront.

By addressing negative reviews publicly, you can help future customers understand your policies and why your company makes certain business decisions. For example, say your business signs up customers to a subscription program when they make an initial purchase. This information is written on your site, but some customers miss it. They then write a negative review explaining they didn’t know they were going to be charged on an ongoing basis.

By answering that review and saying, “We’re sorry you weren’t happy with the subscription. We only use subscriptions because we feel it’s the best way for us to deliver our service to our customers, but we’ve refunded your account and hope you try us again at a later point,” you can show prospective customers how and why your product or service works the way it does.

5. They give you a competitive edge with insights for improvement.
Large corporations spend millions on customer surveys and feedback forms to improve their customer service. Negative reviews are an untapped goldmine of valuable information that can help a business grow and expand.

If someone writes a negative review — justified or not — a business can assume that many other customers feel the same way but didn’t bother to express themselves online, and just stopped using the business’ product or service instead. That review has information that the business can use to its advantage — and that its competitors might not have.

Embracing a glowing five-star review is easy, but even a few one-star reviews can paralyze business owners and cause them to ignore reviews altogether, to the detriment of their business. Instead of fearing reading one-start reviews or engaging with the customers who leave them, you should see each negative review for what it is: a golden opportunity.

Written by: Rodney Gin
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Rodney Gin is co-founder of SiteJabber, the leading community of online business reviewers.