In a move likely made to compete with Amazon’s wildly successful on-demand home services offering, the local business review site Yelp recently announced that it has launched a new feature dubbed Request a Quote. Until now, consumers typically turned to the popular social networking site for tips on the best slice of local pizza or to find out if their neighborhood Supercuts is a legit place to get a haircut. In light of the recent announcement, however, Yelp is angling to be a one-stop shop for those looking for help fixing a leaky faucet or searching for someone to help manage their money.
As of September, Yelp has been hard at work testing its newest feature, leveraging the ability to message businesses directly that has been part of the site’s operation for years. Located previously under the “Message a Business” link, the option of contacting a service provider directly is now called “Request a Quote.” Instead of merely messaging a business to inquire about a potential service, Yelp users now also have the ability to see the rate and response time for a business. According to Yelp, messaging in its Home Services department has increased roughly 1,500 percent since the change was made.
What’s perhaps most useful about Yelp’s newest addition is the fact that users have the ability to message up to 10 different businesses for a quote on the same service. After drafting up a desired quote request, the site lets consumers send the same message to 10 businesses, making it incredibly easy to find service providers without having to navigate to different websites. Businesses do have the ability to opt-in for Yelp’s new service, so the feature won’t include each and every business that offers a particular service.
“We’re already seeing how the Request a Quote feature is changing the game for both consumers and business owners,” says Kristen Titus on Yelp’s blog. “Since changing the name of this messaging feature from ‘Message the Business’ to ‘Request a Quote’ in some categories late last year, we’ve seen message response rates from business owners increase 250 percent [and] over half of messages from potential customers were responded to within 24 hours.”
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Currently, Yelp doesn’t have the option of allowing users to directly pay for the services requested through the app itself, something Amazon Home Services does offer its customers. Though it would certainly make the entire process easier (for both businesses and consumers), it’s unknown if Yelp plans on integrating this particular feature in the future. Accessible on iOS and Android devices, as well as on the Web, Yelp’s Request a Quote feature is now live for anyone to use.