OPEN LETTER TO YELP!
We created this page to show all the great reviews that Yelp! is hiding.
Almost EVERY filtered review is a 4 or 5 STAR REVIEW of our business. Yelp! may not want you to see them, but WE DO.
Open Letter to Yelp! Audio Version
12/15/2015, 5/18/16, 11/3/16, and 5/20/17
To Whom It May Concern:
I’m resending this letter in the hopes a human somewhere reads this to the end and has the heart and the head to do what’s right. We have sent it three other occasions on the dates listed above. We have sent it via USPS and email. We need a real person with authority at Yelp to help us. We have 70 positive reviews that are hidden because Yelp’s algorithm doesn’t like them.
After multiple phone calls with Yelp support staff, we have discovered Yelp doesn’t like our reviewers for three simple reasons:
1. We have no “location” to check in from and so Yelp is wary of those reviews
2. We get reviewed more than other businesses our size, and mostly positive
3. Many of our customers are over 55 and don’t have Yelp accounts with lots of friends, reviews or history.
I would like to petition one of your staff to review our Yelp profile as soon as possible http://www.yelp.com/biz/smart-energy-today-inc-olympia-2 . For the rest of this letter, I’m going to address these three points.
1. Yelp works great for restaurants, but we are not a restaurant so their algorithm doesn’t like us at all. In fact, we have no “location” or storefront where our customers can check in. We meet our customers at great restaurants, home improvement shows, and community events. Our teams go to their homes to do the work on their roofs and in their attics and crawl spaces. Because of this, we believe many of our positive reviews have been filtered. Where should our customers “check in”? We understand Yelp gives more weight to reviews with a “check in” and so all our reviews float by into the filter.
2. Watching all of our positive reviews slip by into the “not recommended” category has been frustrating, to say the least. We’ve sent you letters and called you on the phone. On our last conference call with a manager in customer service, we were told that we simply get “too many” reviews “too frequently” for a business our size. We are the second fastest growing private company in Washington state… we meet a lot of folks and get a lot of reviews. We care so much about our customer service we send out a survey at the end of every install to make sure our customers are happy. At the bottom of that survey, it says, “Check us out on Yelp” using the badge Yelp provides. This, of course, generates more Yelp traffic and that’s why we get a lot of reviews.
3. Many of our clients are over 55 and have just made a Yelp for the first time to review us because their experience was so great… consistently all their reviews are filtered and not shown on our profile. We believe these customers should get a voice. We have sent Yelp proof that these reviews are from real customers. We could work with Yelp and show receipts from purchases and SalesForce data… but Yelp won’t listen. We’ve even had customers write emails to Yelp with scanned in receipts to prove they are real… still, they get filtered.
This has to get fixed. It’s affecting real people with families at our company. We have hundreds of customers saying great things about us, but Yelp silences them into the filter.
The last thing I want to bring up in this open letter is from the reviews that Yelp DOESN’T filter. I want to talk about the reviews Yelp shows the public.
Let’s take this 2-star review from C.A. which is also the longest review that takes up a bunch of space on our Yelp profile:
C.A. states in the first sentence of his review that he never purchased anything from us, and then in his final statement he says our products are great are sales people were great but our prices are too high for him.
“I want to start this post by saying we did not purchase any products from Smart Energy Today (the reasons for which I will spell out), so this is not an assessment of their quality. It was their pricing that drove us away.”
“My overall assessment of this company is that they have very well trained sales professionals and most likely sell a quality product. Yet their products are so incredibly overpriced in comparison to everything else I have been able to find. I think that their is a tremendous need for their products, and we were very excited to hear their presentation (we would have eagerly attended without the dinner included – we felt that was very kind but not necessary). I am very disappointed with the prices they are charging as well as not being any closer to having solar on our home. We will be doing solar and the insulation blankets with another company.”
There are all sorts of products cheaper on the Internet through Amazon or Alibaba, but that doesn’t mean we deserve a 2-star review. A reviewer SHOULD BE FILTERED if they go on Yelp and give Nordstrom a 1-star review because they simply can’t afford the merchandise. When shopping at Nordstrom they shoppers are getting excellence service, a unique shopping experience, piano players, clean restrooms, delicious cafes and Nordstrom’s curated inventory. All of which are reflected in their pricing model.
Similarly, when you purchase from us you’re getting expert installers and licensed electricians to install your products and some of the best Solar designers available. These are all benefits that C.A. never got to experience because C.A. looked at the price tag and walked away. A customer only knows these benefits if they actually do business with us. We are so confused as to why C.A.’s review haunts us to this day on our profile when it should clearly be filtered.
Yelp can really help businesses, but the flipside of that coin is also very true… it can really, really hurt them. We have 100 people at our company that depends on this income, are you willing to risk their livelihoods due to a very flawed set of policies?
If you believe that this is an area that can/should be addressed would you be willing to work with us? Would you be willing to alter your policy so it doesn’t keep happening to us or other small businesses? We sincerely hope you will consider.
-The Staff of Smart Energy Today