In 2017, a Yelp rating can make or break a business. Word of mouth referrals from friends and family have been replaced by crowd-voted referrals on review sites. How can localized businesses stay ahead of the competition? Here are a few clever tips for being a 5-star business.

1. Be the first point of feedback.

Don’t be a passive participant in the feedback process. Ask potential and existing customers about their experience. This is an opportunity to turn every review into a 5-star rating.

2. Ask them to leave a review.

Have you noticed that most retailers incentive their employees to ask for feedback, circling the link at the bottom of the receipt, and even offering prizes? It’s because it works. People value human connection and feel a sense of obligation. Another great tip is to celebrate employees who are mentioned in reviews.

3. Have a check-in offer.

When people check-in Yelp retargets them with a request to review your business. Customers have greater purchase satisfaction if they feel they got a deal and might leave you an extra star.

4. Surprise and Delight your top reviewers

People don’t like being pushed to leave a good review, but if you decide to surprise reviewers with discounts and special access. That is totally legit!

5. Report negative reviews that violate Yelp’s Terms of Service and respond to disgruntled customers.

Yelp allows business owners to remove reviews that violate their terms. If you have the funds, take them up on their offer. Also, remember to call every negative review and then post about your customer service and resolution on the negative post.

There you have it. Have more great advice for your fellow Yelpers? Leave it in the comments below.