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Yelp: Empowering Small Businesses Through Effective Review Management

COVID-19 unleashed unprecedented challenges for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), and Yelp reviews played a pivotal role in their fate. The pandemic not only made Yelp reviews an indicator of quality for customers but also became a nightmare for struggling SMB owners navigating new service requirements and restrictions. Shockingly, Yelp witnessed a 161% year-over-year surge in negative COVID-related user reviews (2021 Trust and Safety Report). Over 15,500 reviews were removed for violating COVID-19 content guidelines, shielding businesses from reputational harm stemming from circumstances beyond their control.

Yet, even beyond the pandemic, customer expectations for outstanding goods and services remain high. 58% of retail consumers now demand higher levels of customer service compared to last year, with 84% expecting swift and accurate resolutions to inquiries or issues (TalkDesk). About 90% of business leaders have reported an all-time high in customer expectations for 2021 (HubSpot). Although customers were once understanding of pandemic-induced challenges, their tolerance has waned, placing small business owners under pressure and exposing them to a flood of negative Yelp reviews.

So why are Yelp reviews crucial for SMBs?

The answer is simple: Online reviews are more important than ever!

A survey by Podium revealed that 93% of users make purchasing decisions based on online reviews. Most consumers refuse to engage with businesses rated below 3.3 stars. Around 90% of customers read reviews before visiting a business, and 72% take action after reading those reviews (Invesp).

The solution lies in prioritizing customer expectations and engaging with Yelp reviews to maximize satisfaction and cultivate long-term trust. Yelp users attach weight to online reviews, as 86% admit they would reconsider buying from a company with negative reviews and would instead turn to competitors. Notably, 53% of consumers expect a swift response to negative reviews. SMBs must initiate meaningful dialogues with customers, and we can guide you through the process.

Free Webinars and Workshop:

Unlocking the Power of Yelp to Grow Your Small Business

We are excited to announce a collaboration between Yelp and Universal Processing as a part of the Community Navigator Program Initiative (CNPP). The CNPP is a United States government-sponsored program that provides free resources and assistance for small businesses. We are inviting you to watch a free webinar dedicated to “Unlocking the Power of Yelp to Grow Your Small Business.”



If you have any questions or require further information, please feel free to reach out to us at

(212) 835-2485 or

You can also visit our website at

Kateryna Meshcheriakova

June 15, 2023

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