Online review site Yelp has collected over 57 million reviews of local businesses around the world, which makes it a great source of information for consumers looking for a place to eat, stay in, check out, and discover.
Apart from reviews and ratings, consumers can also find other types of information about your business – like hours of operation, menu items and bestsellers, health inspection scores, reservation options, parking information, or even if your establishment accepts Bitcoin or not.
Sometimes, though, consumers are looking for something that might not be on your Yelp profile page – something that would typically require a phone call or an inquiry via E-mail.
It was with this in mind that the online review site recently introduced to Yelpers the ability to send messages directly to your business.
Here’s how the new feature works: when a Yelper sends you a message, you as a business owner will get notified via E-mail. You can reply directly to that E-mail message without having to log into your Yelp business account. (Of course, you can also reply from your account.) Just to make sure that Yelpers have the right expectations, your average response time will be displayed whenever they send you a message.
Check out the screenshots below:
For business owners, the new messaging feature on Yelp is a new way to interact and engage with existing and potential customers. It can also be a great reputation and review management tool: after all, consumers value responsiveness, and if you communicate actively, promptly, and efficiently with Yelpers – either by responding to Yelp reviews or to direct messages – you’re helping build your image by demonstrating that your business is the kind that listens to its customers.
“This (new messaging) feature is a conversation starter,” said Wade Lombard of Square Cow Movers in Austin. “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.”
By the way, we don’t recommend this, but business owners also have the option of disabling the Yelp messages feature if you prefer other ways of communicating directly with customers.