Even the questions that do get answered may be inaccurate as they are provided mainly by Local Guides.
The addition of questions and answers to Google My Business was a welcomed and important one, particularly after the release of a brand new Q&A analytics tool. However, according to research conducted by ThriveHive, the Q&A platform on Google My Business has largely been neglected by business owners. This has resulted in many questions being left entirely unanswered.
In total, a huge 91% of questions were unanswered by business owners. This has meant that a majority of the questions have been answered by Google Local Guides instead. ThriveHive’s David Mihm said that “82.6 percent of all questions answered had at least one answer provided by a Local Guide.”
We know that we live in a time where consumers demand fast, accurate answers to their questions when it comes to search as well as other day-to-day activities. Research shows that most consumers expect responses to critical reviews in under 24 hours. With the addition of Q&A to Google My Business listings, and the general fast service they’ve come to expect from using Google search, consumers are no doubt expecting responses to their questions quicker than ever.
“As we reviewed the questions themselves, we found a surprising number related to ‘are you open today?’ ‘can I make a reservation?’ or other time-sensitive information,” In his blog post Mihm said. “This speaks to the demand from consumers for more real-time messaging.”
Not only does answering these types of questions assist the consumer and potentially secure some business, it also helps in promoting a good customer service and reputation. If the potential customer is looking for an immediate response and instead receives no answer or one that is too late, it could immediately affect how they perceive your business for both online and brick-and-mortar engagement.
Whilst some of these questions were addressed by Google Local Guides, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking to answer them as the business directly. Local Guides may not be providing the most accurate information, which could ultimately lead to confusion and a negative reputation for or business, even though the Local Guides aren’t employees or owners of said business. While there is no specific research or data on this yet, a meaningful percentage of questions also represent opportunities to convert prospective customers.
The research also unveiled that many of the common questions were directly related to “parking options, delivery options, gift certificate availability.” This gives a great indication as to the type of content that might currently be lacking on the business’ website. It’s therefore a fantastic tool for feedback that has gone underutilised.
A complete and thorough Google Business Listing can also be more appealing than one that appears to be lacking content. By interacting and engaging with customers and offering the best quality content on your Q&A section that you would on your website, you’re ensuring your brand is giving off the best possible impression no matter which corner of the internet it’s appearing!