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World's Oldest Yelp Review

Alison Kawa - Thursday, January 31, 2013

Yelp Review from 1945I was recently at a second hand bookstore looking through a complete collection of Mark Twain's works when I came across a yellowed article from The New York Sun dated Saturday, April 21, 1945. It was a letter to the editor from an aggravated job hunter in Brooklyn describing, in excruciating detail, his attempts to "obtain a release from the USES [United States Employment Service] of the WMC [War Manpower Commission]", which had been created only three days prior.

I noticed a few similarities with some current Yelp reviews:

  • Someone felt the need to voice their opinion, whether to vent or to warn other job seekers about the challenges they would face.
  • The letter was written anonymously, and no names were named, so it was less about a specific person and more about a specific problem. 
  • This reprint had obviously struck a chord with the person who tucked it away in a book. Maybe it helped him or her make a decision or influenced their own job hunt.
These days it's a lot easier to voice an opinion due to review sites, and hopefully that makes customer feedback more accessible to business owners. However, there are still some steps you can follow to make to encourage people to provide constructive criticism:

1. Show You're Listening.

Ask people for feedback by creating an online survey or creating a simple poll on Facebook. If you have a physical location, provide comment cards people can fill out, and post the Yelp logo in a prominent place.

2. Respond to Reviews.

Whether positive or negative, someone took the time to provide you with feedback. Publicly thank the person for taking the time to write a review and address some of the issues or compliments they mentioned. Whether or not you are building a relationship with that reviewer, future visitors will see a responsive business owner.

3. Thank your Critics.

When you make a big change due to client feedback, let all your clients know their opinion was the driving decision. Even if they weren't the person who made the suggestion, they will appreciate feeling like you are willing to take their needs into consideration.

Have any other suggestions on how to receive and use feedback? Let us know below.
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