Yelp has launched a new Request a Quote feature that will allow customers to connect with business on the service under the Automotive, Financial Services, Local Services, Home Services, Professional Services and Event Planning categories.

The feature will allow customers to find out the rates of businesses for the services that they provide, which will help them decide which company to choose.

When users search through Yelp for a certain service, some of the business offering the desired service will display a Request a Quote option, along with the expected response time of the business. Those with the fastest response times are highlighted with green, which makes the businesses pop out from the search results and gives them incentives to respond as quickly as possible to customer queries.

Upon clicking on the Request a Quote button, customers can provide details on the service that needs to be done, such as the complexity of the service to be requested and how fast it needs to be done.

For users that would like to connect with several businesses regarding one service to have a wide range of options, Yelp is also offering a Bulk Messaging tool that will allow them to send the same Request a Quote message to up to 10 other businesses that are offering the same service.

The feature has been undergoing testing since September 2015 as an upgrade to the Message a Business option, with the response rates of business also made public. According to Yelp, since then, more conversations between customers and businesses are being initiated at 15 times the rate.

Yelp has served as the top search engine for local businesses over the past few years, but giants such as Amazon, Google and Facebook are attempting to enter the space. Amazon and Google are now allowing customers to book home services through the Internet, while Facebook has been making changes to its platform to make it more friendly for small businesses.

While Amazon has now allowed customers to pay for the services that they request for through their website, Yelp Product Manager Effi Fuks Leichtag said that payments will not be coming anytime soon to the platform as it is too complicated. Another Yelp Product Manager, Wayne Lin, said that it will not be following Facebook's lead of deploying chatbots for communications between customers and businesses, as the company believes that such interactions should be personal and not automated.

In other news, Yelp is teaming up with the Food Network for a show entitled 12 Hungry Yelpers wherein the Yelpers review a featured restaurant for each episode.

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