With more than 57 million local reviews contributed across 27 countries, there’s already a boatload of info people can gather through Yelp on any local business they’re thinking about trying. Not to mention helpful photos (and soon videos!) and attributes, like phone number, hours and Fido-friendliness. But we realize there are times when a very specific question might not be easily answered with a quick look at a business listing (and you don’t always feel like picking up the phone to inquire about). For instance, whether a restaurant will be serving a special pre-fixe menu for Mother’s Day or what a spa charges for a manzilian very specific treatment for males. So to ensure people never have to leave Yelp to find all the info their hearts desire, we’re adding the ability to message business owners directly from their Yelp listing.
While some customers prefer to pick up the phone, others would much rather communicate via a keyboard, so this feature adds one more way to reach out to businesses, while giving business owners another opportunity to close the loop and receive even more leads. Biz owners will receive an email when they get a message from a consumer and can reply directly from that email without even having to log into their business owner’s account. When people click on the “message the business owner” button for a particular business, they’ll be shown the average response time to help them understand when, on average, they might get a response.
This feature is rolling out for all businesses who have claimed their free business owner’s account and is a great way to get new customer leads from Yelp. As Wade Lombard, founder of Square Cow Movers in Austin, TX puts it, “This feature is a conversation starter. Responding takes just a few minutes and it almost always leads to further correspondence or a phone conversation. We believe that responding quickly helps to show the client we deeply care about winning their business.“ Alternatively, if a business would prefer not to receive written inquiries from potential customers, they can simply disable the feature.