How Customer Review Sites Can Help A
Small Businesses AND Consumers


It seems like there are news stories coming out everyday about the virtues and disadvantages of customer review sites like Yelp and Angie’s List. While the intent of these sites is to give a voice to consumers and reward businesses for excellence, in the age of internet anonymity people often take to boards to unjustly accuse businesses of poor service. For instance, recently a man in Millbrae, California gave a one-star review of Wonderful Chinese Restaurant based on the claim that he was refused a table. The owners of Wonderful released a video showing the man in fact spent little more than 20 seconds in the restaurant, not even giving the service a chance to see him.

While stories like this can make business owners feel jaded about the prospects of customer review sites, it’s important to realize that these incidents are isolated. There are actually several benefits of sites like Yelp.

  1. employee1They connect the customers to their favorite businesses

Great businesses are born from mutualistic relationships with their customers. Sites like Yelp are great tools to foster these relationships. Knowing that customers can voice their opinion at any time encourages business owners to get to know their clients. If business owners are proactive with their customer service and interactions, clients are more likelyto take the time to go onto Yelp and leave a positive review.

However, even the best businesses can get a bad review. Instead of losing sleep over these comments, small business owners can use the review to their advantage. By taking the criticism and apply it to better the business practices, the owner turns a negative experience into a profitable training tool.


  1. They help keep an eye on employees

Small business owners are busy, to say the least. While managing employees is an important aspect of the job, a manager might miss an instance of poor customer service. Yelp reviews can provide insight to what’s going on when the boss is away. Of course, it’s important for reviewers to distinguish a bad employee from the actual business. If reviewers want their comments to mean something, making this distinction is ideal.

On the other hand, if a good employee performs excellently they’re not likely to go up to their manager and brag about it. When clients praise employees on customer review sites, owners can get a sense of how valuable their workers are which facilitates a strong staff culture and a better business overall.


  1. They introduce quality businesses to consumers in need

Both Yelp and Angie’s List are used as tools for consumers to find a service. They organize by industry and rankings and give a peek into what the business has to offer. Everyday people find new favorite restaurants, shops, and more simply because people are talking about it. This doesn’t just help the consumer searching, it also acts as free advertising for the business!



So how can customer review sites keep working positively for both the business and the consumer? Participation! Have you had a great experience working with Austin’s own Gwyndows? Tell us about it on Yelp!