In August 2017, Google launched the ‘Questions and Answers’ feature on Google Business Listings. This new feature allows members of the public to post questions directly onto your listing, and either the business owner or other members of the public to respond to these questions.
This is a great way to share more information and communicate directly with your potential patients within the search results – before they’ve even clicked through to your website! And, if happy patients also find the time to respond to questions… even better. Questions and Answers could be a great way to build up your online reputation while communicating and connecting with patients online.
The feature should also allow you to find out what information your potential patients want to know, that they can’t already easily find. For example, you may receive a question about parking at practice, or if it’s a family friendly practice. Responding to these questions will give you another opportunity to shout about your facilities and provide the information your patients want to know.
However, reports suggest the feature is often underused by business owners, with many questions going unanswered. This could leave the questions open to be answered by anyone online – including unhappy patients, competitors, and spammers. You can imagine the problems this could cause! So, it is best to get in there quick and respond to a question online as soon as possible to provide a reputable answer. This means monitoring your listing regularly. Try and make it part of your routine, just like checking for messages on Social Media and online reviews.
Some practice owners have reported they have been unable to answer to the questions asked. And, unfortunately, the reason why this is happening is not clear. If this is the case for you, I recommend trying the following:
Originally the feature was only accessible via the maps app, so it could be a glitch with Google not fully rolling out the feature. The Google Maps App should also provide notifications when a question has been asked, making the monitoring much easier.
Google might be filtering answers from Business Owners in a bid to make the Question and Answer feature completely user-generated. This is just a theory, but try logging in as yourself and responding to see what happens.
Hopefully, Google will fix the issues with the Question and Answer soon and allow business owners to answer questions easily and glitch-free. In the meantime, keep monitoring and responding to any questions as best you can.