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Pet Business Owners Discuss Their Yelp Strategies

‘The only people who use it are angry people.’




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Do you regularly monitor activity on your business’s Yelp page?

Yes: 36%

  • I check it every few days, but honestly I don’t worry too much about it. Not many use Yelp, except for restaurants. They allow false reviews from former employees and don’t follow their own rules and regulations. I really just check it in case of an actual upset customer, and I only respond to those. —  Nancy Guinn, Dog Krazy, Fredericksburg, VA
  • About once a month or so. Yes, we definitely respond to the negative reviews and try to respond to the positive ones in a timely manner though not 100 percent of the time. —  Leel Michelle, Bow Wow Beauty Shoppe, San Diego, CA
  • When notified of new review, I always personalize a thank-you. —  Adrian Archie, AZ Healthy Pet, Coconut Creek, FL
  • I respond, but I dislike Yelp. My marketing team says they are a necessary evil. The analytics from Yelp are top notch, Yet they often put reviews aside and I’m not sure why. Some of my best reviews don’t show up. —  Angela Pantalone, Wag Central, Stratford, CT
  • I try to check our reviews weekly. The only reviews we respond to are ones that have a small grain of truth to them. Most are obviously made up. —  Connie Roller, The Feed Bag Pet Supply, Grafton, WI
  • I get the email from Yelp when a new review is posted. To reviews that are four or five stars, I send that client an email thanking them. One to three stars, I do respond publicly, and my approach is to either 1) respond and give a more accurate explanation of the experience (for those clients who may be exaggerating — or worse, fabricating — their version of the experience; or 2) in situations where we really dropped the ball on something and did not deliver an exceptional experience, I call to discuss it with the client, offer a resolution and then recap this in a public review. —  Teresa Hogge, Belly Rubs N Suds, Ashburn, VA
  • We respond to all reviews when they come in, both positive and negative. Personally, I hate Yelp and think it hurts small business and just gives customers a chance to complain, but we have to embrace it since it is here to stay! —  Keith Miller, Bubbly Paws, Minneapolis, MN
  • We get requests for grooming quotes, and I respond as quickly as humanly possible. Someone took the time to ask, and if they don’t get a timely answer, they’ll go ask someplace else. We have gained new customers because of a quick response. As for reviews, I thank the positive ones and apologize for a bad one as quickly as possible too. —  Terri Ellen, Nature’s Pet Market, Salem, OR
  • I will check Yelp. However, I get frustrated as I know certain reviews are NOT from clients. And there is not a good way to rebut a remark. Also, I have an issue that you can post a review but not have to identify yourself. —  Melissa Ripple, Paws & Effect, Eustis, FL
  • I log on to Yelp weekly. I respond to ALL reviews good or bad. It is very important that folks see you are engaged. —  Kristina Robertson, Barkley Square Professional Pet Services, Alexandria, VA
  • I don’t usually respond so that Yelp doesn’t know I’m active and doesn’t contact me about buying advertising. —  Jamie Cvikota, Simply Waggable, Chicago, IL

No: 64%

  • Our experience with Yelp is that the only people who use it are angry people. We have never had anyone leave us great feedback unprompted via Yelp. Google seems to invite more evenhanded reviews and especially Facebook. For whatever reason, people who were happy, witnessed something great, or whatever are much more likely to use those outlets as well — so it’s not all just angry yelling. —  Kris Minkle, The Whole Pet, Fort Smith, AR

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. pet business serving the public, you’re invited to join the PETS+ Brain Squad. Take one five-minute quiz a month, and you’ll get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the pet industry. Sign up here.



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