Once you’ve had a chance to create a Yelp profile that you are pleased with, the next and, equally important, step is to get reviews from customers.

Getting Yelp ReviewsBecause the majority of people are turning to the Internet to research a product or service before making the decision to buy it, Yelp reviews offer a unique opportunity for consumers to read an actual customer’s true experience with your brand.

Your customers have the option to rate their experiences with your business on a scale of one star to five stars, with five stars being an exceptional experience. Your brand becomes more credible as you bring in more and more positive reviews.. 

So how do you go about getting Yelp reviews for your business? 

The point of a Yelp review is to provide a real-life account of a customer experience with your product or service. The best reviews are written spontaneously by customers with recent experience with your business. While one of the most challenging tasks of building a strong Yelp business profile is earning positive reviews from customers, here are some helpful tips for getting reviews from customers: 

  • Include a link to your Yelp page on your website, social media sites, and email signature. If you send out a regular newsletter, be sure to make your readers aware of your Yelp page. 

  • Post Yelp signage at your place of business to increase awareness of your company’s presence on the review site. 

  • Frame and hang your positive Yelp reviews at your place of business for customers to see. Not only will this give kudos to your business, but it may inspire others to write a review of their positive experiences in dealing with your company. 

  • Host a Yelp event to thank your customers who completed reviews on the site. By advertising your upcoming event, you may entice more people to write reviews about your business. 

As you can imagine, not all reviews will be positive for your business. In fact, one of the biggest challenges that small business owners have with Yelp is the impact that a negative review can have on their image.

Read: How to Deal with Negative Reviews Online

According to the latest data collected by Yelp, 39 percent of reviews were five stars, 27 percent of reviews were four stars, 13 percent of reviews were three stars, 8 percent of reviews were two stars, and 13 percent of reviews were one star. Because it’s inevitable that your business will receive a negative review at some point or another, here are some ways to rectify the situation while keeping your brand’s image intact: 

  • Decide whether to publicly or privately respond to the comment. A public response that is dealt with and resolved in a positive manner can actually build more respect for your brand. Also, once the issue has been addressed and the customer is once again satisfied with your brand, you could ask that he or she submit an update to the negative review on Yelp to portray your business in a better light. 

  • If you would prefer to deal with the negative review privately, ask the customer for feedback on what you should have done differently to have created a more positive experience. Depending on the response, you could ask the customer for a second chance to win him over, or at the very least, the customer could evaluate how you have taken his feedback into consideration by paying your business a second visit. 

  • If you feel that the negative review is defaming your business and there is no resolution to the situation, you can contact Yelp directly to get the review removed from your business profile. While this option may be tempting with each negative review, it should be used as a last resort as it’s in your brand’s best interest to resolve the dispute with your angry customer. 

Probably the primary reason why consumers consider Yelp to be such a credible review site is that it is filtered to weed out fake reviews from a business owner who aggressively puts a laptop in front of his customers and requests positive five-star reviews.

A common frustration business owners have with Yelp is that customers will tell them that they gave the business positive reviews on the site, but those reviews are nowhere to be found.

This is because the Yelp filter typically kicks out reviews completed by newer and less established Yelp users. Therefore, if a customer recently created a Yelp profile simply to write a positive review for your business, it probably won’t land on your business’s Yelp profile. The best way to correct this is to encourage your customers to create full Yelp user profiles versus just providing the basic information as this will make them more credible reviewers by the Yelp filter’s standard.

Regardless of whether a review is positive or negative, you should take the time to respond to them. Not only will this help to further build the relationship between your business and the customer, but it can earn your business higher rankings through Yelp’s internal search engine.