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Behind the Reviewers: What Makes a Reviewer Tick?

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Behind the Review host and Yelp’s Small Business Expert, Emily Washcovick, shares a look at this week’s episode of the podcast.



Courtesy of Yelp

Every business owner wants to know the trick to getting great online reviews. The truth is: There isn’t one. Businesses will almost always receive both positive and critical reviews, though most reviews (more than 70%) on Yelp are 4 or 5 stars.

The best way to inspire customers to leave positive reviews, according to reviewers themselves, is by creating a fantastic customer experience in person and with every interaction.

Kayla J., a Yelp reviewer of Dogue Spa in Austin, places great importance on the business owner making a personal connection. “I definitely think, even from the first interaction of going to Dogue, just by talking to the business owner and him getting to know not only me, but also my dog, that helped me have trust. That’s really important in this dog grooming relationship. Each time, each interaction, it got better.”

Methods for building customer trust can vary, but starting with something as simple as learning regular customers’ names, their preferences, and what’s important to them can help create a connection that only gets better over time.

“The difference between a sale and a relationship is a connection—really frankly, giving a crap about the people who are coming in the door and why and what they’re on a mission to look for,” added Yelp reviewer Shelby F., who frequently shops at Adornment & Theory in Chicago. “It’s made me very attached to the brand. I’ve been there at least three or four other times to buy milestone jewelry and gifts for friends on different occasions.”

Genuine interactions with sales staff made Shelby a regular, but in the case of Yelp reviewer Reggie M., the extra attention shown at Boite de Fleurs in Phoenix to his young son was even more special than if it had been directed at him.

“They gave me an experience, and they gave him an experience,” Reggie said. “You don’t find that everywhere. And it was to try to make the connection. They were seeing he identified with Cocomelon, so they were putting things on little screens where he could watch it, and it was just excellent.

“Every time I look at a picture that came from there, where he’s bending over, and he’s smelling the flowers, I get emotional. It tears me up. And they did that. And I’ll never forget that.”

Building a personal connection is especially key for businesses focused on wellness, where interactions with clients can be more intimate, as is the case at Aligned Modern Health, an integrative healthcare practice in Chicago.

Yelp reviewer Atiyah S. shared that her connection to the business helped alleviate her concerns about visiting a healthcare provider. “Going in and getting treatment can be a really scary thing for people. They just make you feel so comfortable the minute you walk through the door. You feel okay asking questions that you might feel scared about asking. There’s no stupid question or no wrong question when you walk in and you feel cared for by everyone.”

This unique episode of Behind the Review features a number of important lessons about reviews from reviewers themselves. Who better to learn from about how and why Yelp users leave reviews than your own customers? In the episode, discover more helpful tips like:

  • Caring leads to sharing. If reviewers feel like a business owner cares, they’re more likely to write positive reviews.
  • The point of most reviews is to help. A majority of Yelp reviewers say they leave reviews either to give feedback to small business owners or let other reviewers know about your goods or services.
  • Critical reviews can help your business. Taking customer feedback into consideration can help you build reputation, customer relationships, and stronger business practices.

Listen to the episode below to hear directly from these reviewers, and subscribe to Behind the Review for more from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday.

Available on: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and Soundcloud

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