With a just-announced direct messaging feature, Yelp is aiming to make communication between business owners and customers even more seamless.
For specific inquiries unlikely to appear on general listings -- or for when customers simply don’t feel like picking up the phone -- users can now click on a link appearing beneath each claimed company’s contact information to compose a direct message.
Business owners receive these messages as emails but can respond directly without having to log in to their Yelp accounts, the company explained in a blog post.
Upon sending a message, consumers will be notified of each business’ average response time.
Though the feature bypasses in-person interaction, one business owner found that it actually increased contact. “It almost always leads to further correspondence or a phone conversation,” said Wade Lombard, founder of Square Cow Movers in Austin, Texas.
The feature is optional for businesses and can be disabled, Yelp said.