Body shop owners and Yelp experts who work with the collision repair industry weighed in recently about last month’s article (Does Yelp Bully Body Shops?) in the wake of Billion Dollar Bully, a documentary about how Yelp can adversely impact small businesses.
It claims that Yelp extorts small business owners for advertising fees in return for promoting positive reviews and hiding negative ones.
So, I asked four marketing gurus about the role of Yelp in this industry, and how can a shop avoid being bullied by it?
Micki Hazz, owner of Hazz Marketing: “Yelp comes up frequently in my talks with clients in building their brand online,” she said. “As frustrating as the platform can be for business owners (and understandably so), it is a tool that is not going anywhere; so, your best bet is to embrace it and maximize it! I’d recommend that your business claim its free Yelp listing and fill it out to the best of your ability.
“Make sure to add pictures of not only your logo but the front of the building, check-in area, employee pics (as long as you have had them sign a waiver) and some before and after photos of the work you’ve done,” she said. “Make sure to add an explanation to each photo and please use proper English with decent grammar! When customers give you a good review, you’ll want to click the ‘Thanks’ button in your dashboard at the very least. If you can, write a short, public response thanking them for taking time out of their day to write a review for your shop.
“Yelp is a tool that Americans nationwide turn to for validating a business of any kind. Even if you have some grumpy customers, it’s your opportunity to put your best foot forward and represent yourself honestly to make visitors to your Yelp page feel like you really care and that they won’t just be ‘a number’ getting processed like so many places of business have left them to feel.”
Chief Marketing Officer Megan Williams at Lefler Collision & Glass Repair Centers: