Ever heard that your reputation precedes you? It does! Have you looked to see what your patients are saying about you on Yelp?

Whether you personally set up a Yelp profile for your practice or not, patients could already be actively seeking your practice and talking about their experience on Yelp. What Yelpers say about your practice could have a big impact on your potential patients and customers. In Q2 2013 alone, over 108 million people visited Yelp, many of them actively seeking out businesses like yours!

Establishing your official Yelp account is a critical step to capturing business from local web searches. You can create your page easily by visiting the Yelp Business Owners Support Center. Once your account is set up, be sure to update and customize it with photos, business hours, and links to your website and social media pages. Yelp also encourages businesses to engage in the conversation. This is your opportunity to acknowledge kind words and rectify negative encounters with your business. This can be done either through private messages or public replies.

According to this Nielsen study, 89% of those on Yelp typically make a purchase within the next week. The most important factors people cited when making a decision were the written reviews themselves followed by the star ranking.

Tips for engaging with customers on Yelp:

  • Be open. Be open to constructive criticism. Take this as a learning opportunity. Discuss issues with your staff and make adjustments as needed.
  • Be calm. Sometimes it’s hard not to take a negative comment personally. Take time to cool off before writing a reply you may regret. If you handle yourself well, you could change the perception of both the reviewer and others that stop by your page.
  • Be personable. This is your chance to make a human connection.
  • Be truthful. Nothing loses trust faster than getting caught in a lie. So don’t! Acknowledge the issue and show how you plan to fix the situation. Then invite them back to do business with you again.

For more on best practices and tips to get started visit the Yelp Support Center.