Yelp's new AI assistant can help you find service pros for all your spring projects

Whether you're looking for a contractor, a plumber, or a hair stylist, Yelp's AI-powered chatbot can help. Here's how it works.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor
Yelp AI Assistant
Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

Yelp's original claim to fame was connecting people with restaurants, but the platform has since expanded into other areas, including helping people find and hire service professionals. Now, Yelp is implementing generative artificial intelligence (AI) to make hiring a service professional even easier.

On Tuesday, Yelp announced its Spring Product Release, which brings new features for consumers and businesses. The biggest standout of the launch is the company's new AI assistant, which is designed to help users find service professionals for anything from home improvements to haircuts.

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To start using Yelp Assistant, prompt the chatbot with details that may help it understand the project or problem. Yelp Assistant should then respond with follow-up questions to gather all the necessary information.

You can respond to the follow-up questions with your own replies or select from pre-written one-click responses. Similarly to chatting with a human, if you want more clarification on a question, you can draft a question back. 

After the chatbot learns about your project, you can review and approve the final request, which Yelp sends to local professionals. Those businesses and professionals can then use that information to message you back with suggestions, including quotes. 

When I tested Yelp Assistant, I entered this simple prompt: "I'm looking for a hairstylist in Brooklyn." The Yelp Assistant answered with follow-up questions, which pleasantly surprised me because they were pertinent to finding the right stylist. 

I chose to use the one-click feature for all my responses. They proved effective. Within seconds, Yelp generated a little request that I could have confirmed to send to professionals in the area. You can see my entire interaction in the screenshot below. 

Yelp AI Assistant
Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

Yelp said that its Assistant is powered by a combination of large language models (LLMs), including OpenAI's and Yelp's own, which is trained on Yelp's dataset of business information, user inputs from the Request a Quote feature, and more. 

Also: 7 reasons I use Copilot instead of ChatGPT

Having tried the Yelp Assistant early, I can say it's as intuitive as it sounds. iOS users can begin accessing it now from the Project tab on the banner at the bottom of the app. Yelp shares that it will begin to roll out the feature to Android users later this summer. 

Yelp also has a new Project Ideas feature in the same Projects tab that provides users with inspiration and recommendations for future home upgrades. In the summer, Yelp plans to refine Project Ideas with predictive analysis to give users more personalized results. 

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