Keeping your small business open may mean shortening your COVID-19 security practices. Yelp is adding its COVID-19 section. They are adding to customers’ comments on social distancing and wearing masks. There are also new content guidelines to protect businesses from inappropriate reviews. And new health and safety measures.
The section already informs SMB customers about their ongoing health and safety efforts.
Small Business Trends contacted Akhil Kuduvalli Ramesh, head of consumer products at Yelp, to learn more about the new changes.
Yelp COVID Security Features for Business Owners
He supplied some history.
“In March, Yelp introduced a COVID-19 banner warning at the top of business pages,” he writes. “It was a customizable message for customers. The banner quickly evolved into a new COVID-19 section. It covered the business’ current service offerings. “
These included options such as sit-down dining, outdoor seating, in-person visits, virtual services, curbside pickup, and delivery options.
As the epidemic wore on, the process was refined.
Enforcing social distinctions
“In June, we released health and safety measures for businesses. They can report implementing social disturbances, the need for temperature checks, the supply of masks, the supply of hand sanitizers and more. “
The latest changes engage customers. Kuduvalli Ramesh explains:
“We will start displaying user feedback in the COVID 19 section. This will help users understand the security practices that a business is or is not using. “
The new segment focuses on social distancing efforts. And whether a small business requires employees to wear masks. This new input uses the existing user feedback format that Yelp uses. It speculates whether a business meets other categories such as “child friendly” or “great for groups”.
Some other services are being added.
“We are adding new service offerings and health and safety measures. These have become more important, ”says Kuduvalli Ramesh. “These will allow businesses to update how they have moved and developed their operations.”
Some new box businesses can check to display their COVID 19 preparations:
- Staff check for signs (available to all businesses)
- Disposable or contactless menus (available for restaurants, bars and nightlife)
- Heated seating area (available for restaurants, bars and nightlife)
- Outdoor seating (available for restaurants, bars and nightlife)
- Indoor dining (available for restaurants, bars and nightlife)
- Private Dining (Available for Restaurant)
- DIY food kit (available for restaurants)
- Outdoor services (available for fitness and beauty businesses)
- One of the available sessions (available for fitness businesses)
- Limited group sessions available (available for fitness businesses)
Yelp has also focused on how they review and publish the business. The new guidelines take into consideration the current environment.
“We are encouraging users to be thoughtful in their reviews,” Kuduvalli Ramesh says.
He added some tips in July. Now he has taken the suggestions a step further by providing ghost lessons. These pop up in the text box with positive views as users write reviews.
This is a good way to remind everyone how many businesses are struggling.
There is also a one-time pop up.
“We want users to know that many businesses are doing their best during COVID-19,” says Kuduvalli Ramesh. “And if we keep them in mind and appreciate them if things don’t go as planned.”
The new service offering and health and safety measures are available in your Yelp for business accounts.