Did you know that Google My Business listing enables Google video appointments? As Search Engine Land reported last week, Google made its video appointment platform more widely available across businesses of all types. If you’re concerned with maintaining the pace of your business’s day-to-day operations while upholding social distance measures, this could be a great way to interact and diagnose problems without putting your team or clients at unnecessary risk.
We think there’s a lot of potential to use this tool to your advantage. After all, your Google listing is your business’s virtual “welcome mat”, and a direct link to schedule virtual appointments might help to make your business an obvious choice. Potential customers would rather not make a round of phone calls to connect with the right provider, but they may be more willing to schedule a virtual appointment if you make it really easy for them.
If you’re a home service provider and are interested in connecting with more customers in your area, think about all of the ways video appointments might improve your service delivery. Just a few come to mind:
One-click scheduling removes friction from the process – The majority of potential customers in your area will initially find your business through a Google category search (ie. Plumber in Naperville, IL) or, if they were referred or know you already, they’ll search for your business directly by name. In either scenario, they’re likely to see your Google listing. What happens next? They may visit your website, they may click to call you or, if you’ve activated messaging, they may shoot you a text. If you opt-in to virtual appointments on your Google listing, you’ve created another ‘hook’ to convert their interest even before they dive onto your website, get forced into a phone call, or move onto your competitors’ listings.
Initial inspections and diagnoses can save you time and money – We estimate that virtual appointments may help local service providers reduce the number of cursory or unnecessary visits made each day or week. After all, if one of your vans or techs is onsite at one job, you may not be able to take another opportunity across town. If a homeowner has a leaky faucet, your ability to diagnose the issue virtually doesn’t monopolize your team or trucks, and could get you to a solution much faster and more efficiently – in terms of time and dollars. You can more quickly determine where the issue may be, which parts you might need to bring over or order, and start working toward a solution a lot faster than you might by scheduling out an in-person service appointment.
Make a face-to-face connection – Videoconferencing has become the norm, and people are becoming more comfortable interacting with colleagues and other service providers via Zoom meetings, FaceTime, and other video technologies in the absence of in-person meetings. While a video connection will never take the place of a face-to-face meeting, it can foster a stronger connection than a phone call might. We’re not saying that you need to completely pivot your service delivery, but we are suggesting that video might be a great tool in your kit to convert more tire kickers to buyers. It’s a unique opportunity to build trust among clients, and can demonstrate that you’re the type of business available to help – however the homeowner feels most comfortable.
So… how does it work?
It should be no surprise that we’re big fans and heavy users of Google My Business at Signpost, so we dug into the back end to see how this works. By logging into Google My Business and locating the service availability section on your Home dashboard, you can turn on video appointments.
Check out the “Stay connected during COVID-19” section, and select “Update service availability”:
Then, select “Yes” to answer the last question – ”Are you offering online appointments?”
You’ll be prompted to connect your listing with a video conferencing solution, like Zoom, and to a booking system. If you have a scheduling system, you can link to that; otherwise, you can select one of the options available by Reserve by Google partners.
Once this initial set-up is complete, you’re off to the races. We’ll be really curious to see if this catches on, and hope to try it when one of us has a need. We’d also love to learn whether this feature helps providers drive more appointments and sales. If you’ve had success with it so far, let us know!