Google has a reputation when it comes to rolling out updates. It seems with each new roll out, Google takes two-steps-forward and one major step backwards. For that reason whenever the Internet lights up with news of a new Google update, we tend to take it with a grain – really a boulder – of salt. Fortunately for everyone, this new Google update seems mostly positive.
Google Now Taking Appointments for Auto Repair Shops
As we first reported on August 16, 2015, Google has started allowing its users (aka: your potential customers) to schedule service appointments directly from its search engine results pages.
Auto shops (and other local service providers) that have relationships with Intuit/Demandforce are now eligible for this new “Book an Appointment” feature in Google (pictured below).
Clicking through the new “Book an Appointment” feature, we are given the following automotive service options:
As you can see, Google has done a fair-to-decent job at compartmentalizing the various common automotive services, while still leaving people the opportunity to schedule services that aren’t listed by choosing “Other.”
Once selected, you are brought to your shop’s own Intuit/Demandforce page, where the searcher/user can now schedule an appointment directly with your shop through DemandForce.
How Does My Shop Sign Up for this New Feature?
The good news is that it’s automatic. If you are a Demandforce customer you are automatically eligible if you have the Online Booking feature enabled with your Intuit Local account.
I’m a Demandforce customer, why isn’t it showing up yet?
Two reasons. The first reason, as we mentioned above, you may not have the Online Booking feature enabled in your account. The second reason it wouldn’t show up is on the shoulders of Google – this is an automatic roll out, so it may have just not gotten to you quite yet. That said, we expect for all Demandforce customers to have this rolled out completely over the next week or two.
Why is this happening in the first place?
Even though this is largely considered a benefit for both the user and the shop owner, the motivations from Google for this new feature are somewhat self-serving. It is Google’s goal to show you the results they believe you will want the most, so that you are a happy searcher that keeps coming back to them. On the other hand, and rather counter-intuitively, they HATE sending people away from Google. They HATE losing those Adwords clicks. This is the middle-ground answer to the question: “How can users leave appointments for the services they want without actually leaving Google’s interface?”
While this decision ultimately helps out Google’s bottom line, it also is a major benefit to shop owners and potential customers alike. While a fantastic case could be made against Google for those aforementioned reasons above, the fact is that this is where business is happening and they are the ones who get to make the rules. I for one, welcome our new search engine overlords.