We’re going to keep the answer to this one very short.
NO – Do Not Ask Your Customers for Reviews on Yelp!
Yelp has made it very clear on their website that they do not want businesses to solicit direct feedback from customers. Most businesses might ask their happiest customers to write reviews, not the unhappy ones. Self-selected reviews tell only part of the story, and that’s not fair to consumers. Below is an excerpt from their website:
Yelp’s recommendation software is designed to highlight reviews from people who want to share their genuine experiences—without being asked or tempted. Proactively asking for reviews may hurt your Yelp rating because our automated software may not recommend reviews that seem to be prompted or encouraged by the business. Also, many businesses only ask happy customers for reviews, which leads to biased ratings. Yelp’s software tries to identify any reviews that appear to have been requested, and not recommend them.
This policy is part of Yelp’s Content Guidelines, and helps us create a level playing field for all businesses who rightfully earn their great reputations on Yelp. It shouldn’t be about who has the time and resources to ask the most people to write reviews. Great Yelp reviews and ratings should come from consumers who had a great experience that they’re inspired to tell others about.
Yelp even took this a step further and published a blog article on why it does not recommend solicited reviews.
So what can you do to get good reviews on Yelp?
Provide a superior customer experience, day in and day out. Practice extraordinary customer service and go above and beyond in every facet of your business. At some point people will begin talking about what you did. They’ll share your story with others. And the natural outcome? Customer trust skyrockets, and the customers who do use Yelp will make it a point to share their experience. But only if you’re patient and you allow this strategy to grow organically.