Aug 20 2015

Yelp Reviews Are Coming to a Federal Agency Near You

The popular online review company reached a deal with the government to allow citizens to rate and review agencies.

Federal agencies curious about what their star rating would be if they were ranked by online users will no longer have to wonder, thanks to a new agreement between Yelp and the government. This deal will allow federal agencies to be rated, just as businesses are.

Under the deal, federal agencies will be able to take ownership of their Yelp pages, or create new ones, to engage with users. The hope is that the feedback will help agencies share information and improve relationships with citizens, Yelp explained in a statement:

We encourage Yelpers to review any of the thousands of agency field offices, TSA checkpoints, national parks, Social Security Administration offices, landmarks and other places already listed on Yelp if you have good or bad feedback to share about your experiences. Not only is it helpful to others who are looking for information on these services, but you can actually make an impact by sharing your feedback directly with the source.

The government is making a concerted effort to embrace technology, and this partnership will allow federal agencies to address concerns expeditiously. A major upside is that it will eliminate the barrier between the agency and the user.

“It’s exciting because it allows government agencies to take real-time feedback from citizens and act upon it in a way that helps our democracy operate better,” Luther Lowe, Yelp’s vice president of public policy, told Time.

Above all, working with Yelp lets agencies incorporate reviews and responses into their products and services FedScoop reports.

“In the coming months agencies will kick the tires on Yelp, just like any other social media platform, to see how they can use it to drive improvements to their programs — and I suspect how that will take shape exactly will look different for each agency that chooses to use it,” said Justine Herman, social media lead for the General Service Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.

Agencies should have this capability soon, making them more transparent and accessible to the people they serve.