I recently had a conversation with the Chief Marketing Officer of a major online company. While his company sells to small and medium size businesses, one of the places where his company has the most reviews is Yelp.
The problem is that Yelp is not really a site for rating business products. There really aren’t good places for rating business products. As are result, when one searches for reviews on business products, there are generally three types of “reviews” that appear:
- Reviews from individual clients. These reviews can be insightful, but it’s difficult to rate a product based on one person’s experience.
- Reviews (I am using the word loosely) from companies which are nothing more than lead generators for the companies that they rate (ie Top Ten Reviews).
- Consumer review sites like Yelp that mainly serve as a place for consumers to leave reviews.
In general, the reviews on Yelp for business products are negative. As it is not a natural place to leave reviews for business products, the people that leave reviews for business products on Yelp are not typical business people. They have a retail consumer mindset and are much harsher and more critical than the typical business user, in my opinion.
The natural question is should one pay attention to the reviews on Yelp or consumer sites.
My answer is yes, but with healthy dose of skepticism. For example, two of the largest companies in the business VoIP space are RingCentral and Nextiva. Both of them have a sizable number of negative reviews. Many smaller companies don’t have any reviews or a couple of postive reviews. In the case of RingCentral and Nextiva, the negative reviews are more of a company’s size than the quality of service. On the other hand, if a small business services company has lots of negative reviews on Yelp, I might think about avoiding them.
If you are a small business owner that needs help with improving your online reputation read our guide: Online Reviews – The Small Business Owner’s Guide.
The subject of the cartoon is why aren’t there more positive reviews. One reason may have to do with price negotiations. The price of many business products and services are negotiable. As a result, business owners may play up their unhappiness with a product or service to help with the negotiations.