Business owners often think of Google My Business as a tool to help improve their rankings and discoverability. While this is true, the platform also comes with valuable tools for improving your customer experience.
Stats show that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. Ultimately customer experience boils down to meeting your customers’ needs while also surpassing their expectations.
Prioritizing your customers will help you retain a loyal base of customers while also attracting new ones. From discovering your business to setting foot inside, Google My Business makes the whole experience much easier for customers and business owners. The best part is that the platform is free to use.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is the modern-day version of a storefront. It’s essentially a digital business listing that enables you to connect with your customers on both Search and Maps.
An optimized business profile enables you to display your business name, address, high-quality photos, new offers, service, and products along with anything else that makes your business unique.
Customers can interact with your listing by asking questions, uploading photos, and leaving reviews. When you provide up to date contact details, customers can also call, message, or chat with you directly.
These days, Google My Business profiles provide an essential role in helping customers find your business and interact with it both online and offline. Take a look at the role of Google My Business in the local buyer’s journey.
Why is Google My Business important for customer experience?
Traditionally, people used to rely on word of mouth recommendations. Now, instead of asking friends, and family, when people want to find local businesses they usually turn straight to search engines.
Since over 90% of all search engine traffic goes through Google, having a Google My Business account is the first step to getting on your target audience’s radar. Correctly optimizing your profile with the correct contact details, photos of your business, opening hours, and a list of services will help your business be more visible to its target customer base.
Google My Business isn’t just for getting the top spot in Google SERPs though –– the dashboard’s features and tools can help enhance your business offering to be more in line with what your customers want.
Enabling certain features and buttons can also make it easier for customers to communicate with you and find out if your offering meets their needs.
Ultimately the platform streamlines the customer’s experience from discovery right up until they enter your business’s location in real life.
6 Ways of using Google My Business to boost customer experience
From showing customers your business offering to simplifying communication and improving your services to match customer expectations, Google My Business can help you improve the whole customer experience from start to finish. Let’s take a look at six different ways to use the platform:
1. Use customer reviews to improve your business offering
Google reviews give you an invaluable insight into your customers’ honest opinions about your business. Positive reviews can help validate what’s going well for your business and show you what customers value the most.
Although sometimes tough to read, negative feedback is equally, if not more valuable. Critical feedback is usually a result of customers’ expectations not being met. When you dig into the exact problems and issues, negative feedback can be great for fuelling future business development and team training sessions.
For example, if you receive multiple reviews saying that team members are often slow at attending customers, you could focus your team training sessions on helping them improve their speed and efficiency.
Responding to this negative feedback by taking swift action will improve the experience for future customers.
Responding to reviews can help ensure a positive customer experience even after a purchase or service is complete.
Taking the time to reply to customer feedback helps customers feel valued by your business. When customers know that a business appreciates them, they’ll be more likely to return to do business again. As we know, retaining a solid base of loyal customers is key to growing your business sustainably –– it costs 5 times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one.
Take a look at this review response which promises to use negative customer feedback to improve their service:
In fact, according to studies by Google, businesses that respond to reviews are 1.7X more trustworthy than businesses that don’t. To help you reply to both positive and negative feedback, take a look at our complete guide on how to reply to reviews.
Using a reputation management platform ensures you never miss a customer review again. For instance, when you set up GatherUp, you’ll receive custom notifications whenever a customer leaves you a review. That way you can respond timely to customers as well as use their feedback to make business-wide improvements.
2. Make it easier for customers to contact you
People are short on time and the last thing they want to do is spend time trying to hunt down your business contact details. If you make it simple for customers to contact your business, they’ll be more likely to choose you over competitors.
Make sure to include all your business’s contact details including:
- Phone number
Google My Business also provides some CTA buttons to encourage customers to interact with your business. Once you’ve included your address, customers can click on a directions button to see driving, walking, and public transportation routes.
By adding your contact details, customers using the mobile app can also tap call or message buttons to connect with your business with just one tap.
Most customers hate wasting time trying to find a business’s phone number or address. By providing accurate contact details, you’ll make it much easier for people to get in touch with you.
3. Include attributes and special features
Putting your business in the right category and including relevant attributes on your profile helps customers know what to expect from your business. When people are searching for a local business, they may have multiple questions about the kinds of facilities your business has.
For example, before visiting a cafe, people might want to know if you have free WiFi. Or people who are looking for a grocery store may need to know if you have on-site car parking.
Instead of having to do time-consuming digging on your website or past reviews, customers want to see what your business offers quickly. By including plenty of details in the form of multiple attributes, customers will know exactly what to expect from your business before they set foot through the door.
Equally, the more detail you can provide, the more likely you’ll reach your target customer.
Depending on your business category, you can choose to add different attributes and special features.
- Service businesses – add service menus and include a booking button.
- Hotels – include amenities and class ratings.
- Restaurants and bars – add menus, display popular dishes, and include a link for online orders and bookings.
All businesses can also include other helpful attributes like wheelchair accessibility, WiFi, and parking.
Take a look at this listing for the coffee shop, Thinking Cup, in Boston. From a quick glance at the business’s attributes, customers can see that although they offer a takeaway service they don’t offer delivery. Customers can also see that it’s wheelchair accessible:
Customers who know what to expect from your business will more likely have their expectations met and be satisfied with the overall experience.
4. Use messaging tools for customer-centric communication
Customers no longer want to have to call a business to find out more details. People want an easier method of getting in touch while on the go. When you provide a convenient method for customers to contact you, more people will get in touch and engage with your business.
With Google My Business, customers can text questions that you receive directly through the GMB mobile app or dashboard on your browser.
Instead of making customers go through lengthy contact us forms or forcing them on a hunt for customer service phone numbers, people can reach your business right where they found it.
Within the Messages tab, you can then easily manage, review, and respond to customer questions all in one place. By making communication easy for customers, they’ll begin their experience with your business positively.
Prompt and informative responses will also boost customer trust making it more likely they’ll continue to engage with your business. After all, there’s nothing more frustrating than receiving a slow response or one that doesn’t answer your questions.
5. Uncover customers insights
The Insights tab within the Google My Business dashboard can help you better understand customer behavior, and improve how future customers find you. Insights show you how customers found your business as well as how customers interact with your listing.
Knowing how customers found your business listing and how many found it via direct or discovery search are all helpful for understanding how well your marketing efforts are going. But identifying which search terms people are using to find your business can help you understand what customers expect from your business.
For example, if you own a coffee shop, you might expect people to search for something along the lines of “coffee shops near me.” But in reality, most of your customers are finding your business by searching “lunch spots near me.”
This difference in search terms would show you that customers are coming to your business with the aim of finding a local spot to have lunch. Armed with this knowledge, you could make changes to your coffee shop by ensuring there’s always plenty of lunch choices. That way, you’re matching your customers’ expectations with a top-quality experience.
Identifying which keywords, actions, and photos are most popular can help you understand your customers’ expectations of your business.
Once you’ve viewed this data on your GMB dashboard, reputation management software can help you dig deeper into customer insights. To help you transform your customer data into an actionable improvement plan, it’s useful to see it in different formats. Deep dives into customer sentiment and trends will ultimately help you build a more complete picture of how customers interact with your business.
For example, within GatherUp, you can use detailed reporting tools to better understand how customers feel about your business offering.
For instance, the Impact Report uses AI to identify frequently mentioned keywords and show how customers feel about your business. For instance, we can see that the keyword “coffee” is mentioned frequently in positive reviews:
When looking at the Sentiment Report, users can see a breakdown of how many times each keyword was mentioned by customers and with what sentiment rating:
Detailed reports help business owners and managers accurately understand which elements of their business require improvements and where customers are most satisfied. Tailoring your offering to your customers’ feedback will help you match their overall expectations for their experience with your business.
6. Use the booking tool for easy reservations
Customers don’t want to have to call to find out availability or make an appointment. When people find a business they want to engage with, they want to know right away whether their availability matches up with their own personal schedule.
Increasingly, customers want to see what time slots are available and make a booking with just a couple of clicks. The scheduling tool is especially helpful for appointment-based businesses like gyms, hair salons, and dentists.
The Google My Business bookings tool enables you to link to your business’s scheduling provider and use GMB to accept on-demand appointments easily.
When you make it easy for customers to book appointments, they’ll be more likely to choose you over competitors that make it harder to reserve time slots.
Take a look at this list of hair salons in Miami, Florida –– only one of the businesses provides an option to schedule through the platform:
By simply including the scheduling option makes Bishops Haircuts salon a much more convenient choice for time-pressed customers looking to book a time quickly and efficiently.
Once customers click through, they can see a calendar view of upcoming dates and available times to book:
Appointment-based businesses can easily boost their customer experience by allowing customers to book appointments in just a few clicks.
Use GMB to improve CX and delight more customers
Effectively using Google My Business’s tools will enhance your business’s customer experience and ensure it remains relevant in today’s competitive local business landscape.
Take the time to find your way around Google My Business and see how you can start using its features to improve your business’s customer experience.
Ready to make customer experience a priority in your business? Sign up for a free trial today.