How much should grocerants care or pay attention to Yelp reviews?
There’s no question Yelp is one of the most popular review sites, as well as Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Recognize your online reputation at a glance can secure or lose a customer. And these reviews, good or bad, provide valuable feedback for your business.

Yes, some bad reviews can be deleted.  But unless the content contains four-letter words, it’s going to be difficult to remove, even if it was a disgruntled employee seeking revenge.

So how can you be proactive? Think about what you’d want to see if you were a customer reading through Yelp reviews:
1. Respond to every bad review publicly and in a personal message. The good thing about these reviews is that an unhappy customer that may have been too shy to make a personal complaint in your store, may feel very confident doing it online. This offers you an opportunity to make the situation right and to earn another chance with that customer. And if the customer is satisfied, they may even delete their bad review or at least update it to show a change of heart.
2. Ask your customers for reviews. You can send out an e-mail encouraging customers to offer feedback on your Yelp page, or simply have your clerks suggest it to customers at checkout. There is no need to offer prizes or incentives, as that would appear inauthentic and take potential altruism off the table. Don’t underestimate that if you are truly doing a great job, your customers will want to share that with others as a personal service to their community.
3. Thank as many positive reviewers as you can. Just like responding to a customer with a bad review can have a positive outcome, so can letting those that post positive reviews know how much you appreciate the feedback and having their business. Any opportunities you have to acknowledge, engage and make personal connections with your shoppers are wins.
4. Use reviews to improve your business. While you may disagree with a review, there’s always a lesson to be learned from someone else’s point of view. Even if a disgruntled employee wrote a poor review, this might signal it’s time to reevaluate employer/employee relationships. Or if a diner is upset by the lack of certain menu choices, maybe it’s time to open a prominent diner request process for items they’d like to see you offer.

The most important takeaway for grocerants is to not see these review platforms as working against you. Think of them as cost-free advertising and opportunities to really see what your shoppers think and to connect with them.