Friday, November 16th, 2018
As a contractor, it's important to make sure you understand Yelp's policy on directly asking customers to post a review on the Yelp platform.
Yelp's policy, announced in 2017, is to monitor and penalize businesses that actively ask their customers to post a review on Yelp. As consumers ourselves, we can understand their motivation. If Yelp is to be trusted when we're looking for a restaurant, hotel or home improvement contractor, we need to know that the system is legitimate. While it might seem that asking a happy customer to post a review is harmless, it is a slippery slope and too many businesses have tried to "game the system," which hurts all those looking for legitimate reviews.
Reviews, from Yelp's perspective, should happen naturally. When satisfied with your services, customers who are active on the Yelp app or site may naturally choose to post a review. Yelp is a popular platform and many people do use it for not only searching and researching businesses but also for sharing their experience.
Contractors should not only NOT ask customers for reviews, but they also should not ask family and friends to post reviews. According to Yelp guidelines, they will monitor reviews posted and if they think you are acting against their policies, they will send you a pre-emptive email (to the email address associated with your company's Yelp account), giving you 90 days to comply.
Once you get to this stage, if you do not comply, Yelp may lower your profile on the platform, making it harder for future customers to find you.
Commit to providing great customer service that inspires your customer to sing your praises. This approach will never get you into trouble.
If Yelp is important to your business - if you already have some a healthy review profile and know that customers find you on Yelp - then don't risk losing this great referral source.
If you're a BigNet Leads dealer, note that our review widget allows you to ask for feedback from customers, but does NOT offer Yelp as an option for sharing any reviews you receive.
Read Yelp's Policy on Reviews:
Don't take our word for it. Take the time to read Yelp's policy on review solicitation. Here's an important excerpt.
Here are Yelp's tips to avoid hurting your rating:
"Don’t ask customer, mailing list subscribers, friends, family or anyone else to review your business
Don’t ask your staff to compete to collect reviews
Don’t run surveys that ask for reviews from customers reporting positive experiences.
Don’t ever offer freebies, discounts, or payment in exchange for reviews"
Your best bet to get high quality and unbiased reviews about your business is to provide a memorable and amazing customer experience – not by asking your customers to post on Yelp.
What About Google?
Google has made similar warnings and certainly could decide to police the review process more closely at any time. That's why it's best to be aboveboard when soliciting reviews. Make sure you do not offer gifts in exchange for reviews on Google My Business and focus on making your customers happy to share their experience with your company.
Contact your Account Manager with any questions. Not in the BigNet Leads program? Contact us or give us a call at 888-908-7806.
Originally published by the Treehouse Internet Group the marketing arm of BigNet Leads, updated November 2018.