The Biggest Small Business Lessons Learned From Owners and Reviewers

Behind the Review celebrates 100 episodes of small business experience, talking about everything from review response to great customer service, to hiring and firing employees.

learn more about Emily Washcovick

By Emily Washcovick

Courtesy of Yelp

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Behind the Review host and Yelp's Small Business Expert, Emily Washcovick, shares a look at this week's episode of the podcast.

This week's episode of Behind the Review is a little bit different. We're celebrating 100 episodes of the podcast by taking a look back at some of the biggest lessons we've learned from small business owners and reviewers from the past two years.

Across all the episodes since the show launched in November 2020, there's been a common theme in the advice heard from small business owners: Respond to all of your reviews, both positive and critical.

Reviews are a hot topic for the majority of small businesses. And while criticism can sting, each and every business owner we interviewed said that the outcome of responding to a critical review could be even more valuable than receiving praise in a positive review.

One such benefit is improving how current and potential customers view your business. In fact, 87% of review readers say they're more likely to look past a critical review if the business addresses the issue and responds to the reviewer.

Those responses need to be genuine and thoughtful, said the businesses featured on the show. One manager of an HVAC company thanks his critical reviewers and said they help him improve his business by pointing out issues he may not know exist. Another business owner uses critical reviews to connect more closely with his patrons. By diving deeper into his customers' mindsets, he shows them he cares about their needs and experiences, key ingredients in making loyal customers.

Another common issue for business owners, no matter the product or service, is company culture. A business may start out with one employee—the business owner—but that's not sustainable as traffic and demand increase.

Almost all the business owners and decision makers we interviewed said the process of hiring and firing employees is essential to a great customer experience. Employees should reflect the culture and values of the business, whether through an existing familiarity with your product or service or a willingness to be trained so they can grow with the business.

Over the last 99 episodes, Behind the Review has uncovered countless lessons for small business owners around the country, from how to respond to reviews, to effective social media strategies, to investing in the right technology for your business, and so much more.

Season two, which launches in April 2023, will take an even deeper dive into review strategies, and we'll talk to some of the top restaurateurs in the country, pulled from Yelp's annual Top 100 Places to Eat list, to hear what's made them successful.

Listen to the episode below to hear more from our 100th episode, and subscribe to Behind the Review for more from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday, beginning April 2023.

Available on: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and Soundcloud

Emily Washcovick

Small Business Expert at Yelp

As Yelp’s Small Business Expert, Emily is meticulously focused on helping local business owners succeed and grow. Her expertise lies in customer engagement, reputation management, and all things digital marketing. Through speaking engagements and thought leadership, Emily shares industry insights that entrepreneurs in any business category can leverage for the growth and well-being of their businesses. She is also the host of Behind the Review, a podcast from Yelp and Entrepreneur Media, where each episode features conversations with a business owner and a reviewer about the story and lessons behind their interactions.

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