Here are four more great tips for chiropractors to make sure Yelp is working for them – not against them!
1. Respond to all reviews
If you want to boost your presence on Yelp and take advantage of the platform, make sure to respond to every review, good or bad. For positive reviews, a quick sincere “thank you” will do. Studies show that customers are more likely to return and do business with you again if you leave even a simple affirmation on their Yelp review.
Respond to blatantly negative reviews – no matter how searing or inaccurate - in a courteous, professional, and dispassionate tone. Don't try to make them wrong, debate or argue – that's a no-win proposition. Instead, you'll "kill them with kindness," which other Yelp visitors will see, instantly setting in their minds that you're a reasonable, fair and level-headed person…but maybe that reviewer was not. Using this method of de-escalation, the worse the review is, the less you should write. When someone completely scorches you via Yelp, the only way you'll win is by saying "Thank you for your honest feedback. We'll take it into consideration and see if there are areas we can improve," or something to the like.
But for those that had a negative experience but you think you can salvage or "solve" it, invite them to come back in. Always include that you hear their complaint with an open mind and will seriously consider them.
It’s important to note that Yelp’s algorithms are designed to filter out inauthentic reviews – so forget about having your mother or your assistant leave multiple glowing reviews!
2. Run a Yelp Deal
Many business owners don’t realize that they can offer Yelp Deals, giving coupons or discounts to Yelp users. There’s no upfront cost to you (unlike Facebook advertising, etc.) but Yelp’s charge is significant – 30% of the discounted price you’re offering. Still, it’s a great way to jumpstart traffic and get new patients into your office, following the Groupon model, and since you only will pay Yelp something once you have a paying patient, your ROI is easy to measure and control. With Yelp metrics (we’ll cover that later), you can even control the timing and audience it reaches.
Aside from Yelp Deals, you can also create online gift certificates through the platform and create Check-In Offers for mobile users who check in to your practice on Yelp. Only a very small percentage of business owners (and even fewer chiropractors!) utilize these tools, so there's an opportunity for you to gain a competitive edge!
3. Did you know that you can flag negative reviews, or even ask for a re-review?
If someone leaves a particularly scalding review that you think is totally unfair, you might be able to “protest” through Yelp’s flagging protocol. Yelp has certain Content Guidelines and if a review is in violation – for instance, if it uses offensive language, etc. – then you might be able to make your case, asking them to remove the review. That could be a HUGE help for your rating as even one 1-star review will drag down your great average rating score.
Before you flag the review, read up on Yelp's Content Guidelines and quote sections and points in your request. If Yelp agrees with you, you'll receive an email a few days later that the review was taken down. In some cases, the consumer's review might have already been reviewed by Yelp for the same reasons before you flagged it, which means that your request will always fall on deaf ears.
But you can escalate the case for them to consider further via this form:
They probably won't turn over their previous review unless you have a compelling argument, but if there's something the reviewer did or said that's out of bounds, it's a great last recourse!
4. Make sure all of your positive reviews are clearing Yelp’s filters, too
Another thing that most business owners don’t know is that there may be some positive reviews that are not being posted because they didn’t pass Yelp’s filtering process. Yelp distinguishes between Recommended Reviews that are prominently displayed on your page and factor in your score, and those that are Not Currently Recommended, which are hidden behind a grayed out bar at the bottom of your page. They can still be seen, but only if the user clicks on the link.
So if someone wrote you a fantastic review, but for some reason Yelp didn't think it was authentic, they may pull it back from being posted, so it never will show up or help your rating. Unfortunately, this happens all the time!
Some of the reasons why Yelp may not recommend a review include:
• The reviewer has an incomplete profile without a photo or completed basic information.
• The reviewer is inactive, or this is their first review.
• Short reviews that lack details.
• Obviously biased or strongly worded reviews, whether positive or negative.
• Reviews submitted from an IP address close to your business!
• Duplicate reviews from the same IP address.
• An uncharacteristic number of reviews all at once or in a short period.
You can check to see if you have any Yelp reviews that were caught up in their filer. If you find you have some, try reaching out to the customer that first left the review via the Yelp messaging function (another great tool most people don't know about), asking them to amend their review, so it passes through the filter and posts. They can also try to tweak the review by adding photos, more detail, updating their profile to show it's more legit, or adding other new information according to the list above.
Yelp reports that about 75% of all reviews pass filters and become recommended, factoring into a company's rating, so it's not an exact science, but using these strategies, you may be able to clear a few positive reviews that aren't showing, and get rid of a biased negative review or two.