You've built a website. You have a Facebook page. Some of you have even branched out and have a Twitter. But do you "Yelp"? What is Yelp? "Yelp aims to connect people with great local businesses and Yelp Business Accounts allow businesses to share information with the Yelp Community. Simply put, it's word of mouth -- amplified." With 60 million+ users worldwide, Yelp is a dominant force in social review for independent, local brick and mortar businesses. Here's why you should make sure you have your therapy practice on there:
Yelp is local
Beginning in the days of flipping through the old yellow pages, people have always been on the lookout for a service provider who is within their community. Yelp's search parameters are primarily based on location, so services within a certain radius will be displayed at the top of the list. Community recognition is always valuable in helping a private practice gain success.
Yelp Favors Independent Businesses Over Chains
For Yelp reviewers, it's all about finding that "Hole in the wall" local business to frequent. This isn't just limited to restaurants. A smaller practice that garners high ratings from community reviewers for the quality of service is far more appealing to locals than a large facility.
"Google sends me folks looking for the lowest price rather than the highest quality. Yelp sends me high-quality patients." Dr. James Tsau, DDS Peninsula Orthodontic Group, Redwood City, CA
Customer Service Has Strong Effect on Reviews
Yelp has released research showing that a customer whose review primarily focuses on customer service is far more likely to award a 5-star review rather than a 1-star review. Based on common terms that appeared in positive reviews, Yelp reveals that it's obvious that people are giving "Helpful, friendly and nice" businesses higher ratings. Therapy professionals enjoy more one-on-one client time than many professions, making exemplary customer service critical to success. If you're doing it right, it will reflect in the reviews and, subsequently, your ratings.
Every Star in a Review Can Lead to an Increase in Revenues
A recent study by a professor at Harvard Business School, Michael Luca, revealed that there's a correlation between a higher Yelp ranking and business revenue. While his study only looked at the restaurant industry in one city, other businesses makeup 75% of the listings, showing that customers turn to the site to make decisions for all sorts of local businesses. Luca's findings are definitely a great endorsement for Yelp.
Yelp is Free and Easy
Setting up your business page or claiming one that is already there is free and very easy to do. All you have to do is log in to their business portal, locate or create your business and you're ready to go. Once you've "unlocked your business" you'll be able to:
- Communicate with your customers, both privately and publicly
- Track the User Views on your business page
- Add photos, a detailed business description, up-to-date information, history, and specialties
There is the option to upgrade your page with video or site advertising but be cautious about paying for ad space on Yelp, and do your homework thoroughly to make sure that it makes sense for you. And always monitor your page regularly, respond to reviews as needed and keep your information up to date.
Yelp Gives You Direct Feedback From Your Customer
Unlike Facebook, which is more about social interaction, Yelp is "review-centric" so the feedback you're getting from your customers is going to be specific to their experiences with your practice. Facebook and Twitter are great for building a positive brand image as well as relationships with your clients, but when it comes to getting the real scoop about the quality of your business, they'll head to Yelp.
Todays business world is increasingly consumer driven. All businesses, large or small, are trying hard to improve their consumer rating. Having a free and easy business tool that connects clients with local practices and allows you to take a proactive approach to connect with your potential patients is something that you should be taking advantage of.