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Get Ahead of Customer Q and A on Mobile Search

Users can now submit and answer questions within a business’s Google listing. As a business owner, make sure you’re prepared with the right game plan.

Do you have gluten-free options that are safe for a Celiac?

Where’s the nearest free parking lot?

Can I tie my Great Dane up on the outdoor patio?

Is there space to park a baby stroller?

Will I need my iPhone flashlight to view the menu?

Phew! Whatever questions your customers may have called or emailed to ask in the past, they can now ask within your business’s Knowledge Panel on Google Maps for Android, Android Chrome, and through an iOS mobile search. Google is calling it: “Questions and Answers” or “Places Q&A.”

Google feels that users have a lot of place-specific questions that aren’t getting answered, says Tim Capper of Online Ownership. With this feature, Google hopes users can make better, quicker decisions about a place. Businesses can now add frequently asked questions and answers to their GMB listing, answer user-submitted questions, and “thumb up” questions and answers from other people to acknowledge helpful contributions.

So what? While this feature is currently only available on Google through mobile devices, it could soon be available on desktop, too. Effectively embraced and managed, this new feature can help a business. Ignore it and you run the risk of incorrectly crowdsourced answers, the spread of misinformation, and frazzled would-be customers.

“Like reviews, there is no way to hide from this,” says Mike Blumenthal. “You are better off being proactive and getting ahead of it. It may be hard but take a deep breath and start planning now.”

Here are a few ideas to give your business the best opportunity for success and accuracy in Places:

  • Get ahead of user-submitted questions and more importantly, answers. Identify your top FAQs and post them to your business listing.
  • Consider designating a point person at each business location to regularly monitor Places Q&A and respond on behalf of your business. One option is to monitor Q&A on the Android Maps app, as you can receive notifications through the Android Maps app when a new question has been posted.
  • Answer questions in a timely manner. Wait for crowdsourcing and you leave room for errors and misinformation.

Q&A is currently available on the Google Maps app for Android, Android Chrome, and through mobile search on iOS devices, though the details on how businesses are notified and can respond to questions is a little fuzzy. Q&A is not accessible through a GMB dashboard. Our Presence Management team anticipates that this is a phased rollout, or even a beta, and will end up eventually on Desktop as well as the Google Maps app for iOS (not just Android). Learn more about adding questions, answering questions, and getting notified from Google and stay tuned for more information!

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