Over the last few decades, we’ve seen technology penetrate into every aspect of the human life. Health, medicine, entertainment, beauty, and what not. There has been constant innovation in the way we do everything.
Even business. The way we do business has changed drastically.
Today, we work on tablets/computers, get clients over the phone, market on the Internet, and use high-end equipments to give services.
In fact, now your customers can even book and pay for services directly from Google.
This happens through a new service launched earlier this year, called Reserve with Google (RwG).
Reserve with Google
It is a discovery platform that allows customers to search, book, and pay for services directly from Google, Google Maps, and a dedicated RwG website.
Reserve with Google makes the booking process as easy as Click, Click, Book! for your customers.
From a business owner’s perspective, Reserve with Google is an awesome new tool that can help you grow your business by increasing its online visibility. This instantly expands your target segment without any investment.
Additionally, when your business appears amongst others in Google’s listings, it comes across as credible. This increases your odds of getting booked!
Rest assured, let’s just say that it’s a good time to run a small business in the US!
Before we talk about anything else, the primary requirement to get listed on Reserve with Google is to have an account with one of Google’s trusted scheduling partner (like Appointy).
But if you have an account with a scheduling partner and are still not getting listed on Reserve with Google, then this post is for you!
We at Appointy have been an initial launch partner of Reserve with Google, and hence, are taking a shot at explaining some little things that might be keeping your business from getting listed on Reserve with Google.
Before we begin there are two important things to note here:
- these are really basic things that businesses should do anyway to maintain a reputable image online.
- These criteria of getting listed are as observed and understood on the date of publishing this blog. Reserve with Google was still in its pilot phase until recently. They are constantly improving their listing algorithms and these criteria might change in the future. (I’ll try to update the blog regularly accordingly).
Five little problems that might be keeping your business from getting listed on Reserve with Google (and their fixes):
1. You haven’t opted in for getting listed in your scheduling software
The option to get listed on Reserve with Google is available to all registered customers of RwG’s trusted scheduling partners (like Appointy). If you were not proactively informed by your online scheduling provider about the launch, chances are you might still not know what the Reserve with Google button on your sidebar does.
You can choose whether to get listed on Reserve with Google or not. In Appointy, this option appears as a Toggle button on a Pop-up card after clicking on the ‘Reserve with Google’ button in the main Toolbar.
Note: We strongly recommend that you opt-in for getting listed on Reserve with Google in order to get new customers.
2. Your business isn’t registered on Google
Google listings started as a way for small businesses to bring in more customers by providing helpful information about their business. Your listing appears right when people are searching for your business or businesses like yours on Google Search or Maps.
But Google only allows actual, real, and credible businesses with a physical location to get listed on its free listings. Hence, you’ll need to register your business address on Google Maps using Google My Business.
Your listing is verified after you enter the verification pin sent to your business address via physical mail. (Sometimes you may get lucky and receive an email/text with the same, making the whole process much faster.)
This prevents fake businesses from getting listed in order to avoid any inconvenience to customers.
How to do it?
- Google My Business is a platform that allows businesses to easily add/edit their business information on the listings.
- If you haven’t already, add or claim your business, then verify your business listing so it’s eligible to appear on Maps, Search, and other Google services. Your edits won’t appear live on Google until your listing is verified.
Note: While the original Google listing appears as a Google card with details of the business like, business hours, reviews, website, etc. With the launch of Reserve with Google, businesses will also have a direct ‘Book now’ tab in these listings. This button will redirect customers directly to your booking interface.
Listed on Reserve with Google Not listed on Reserve with Google
3. Your business requires additional details before bookings
If your customers need to fill in a customized form/sheet before booking an appointment with you, then your business becomes ineligible to get listed on Reserve with Google (as of now).
For example, if you’re a pet service that requires customers to fill in their pet’s breed, health conditions, food preferences, etc., in order to prepare for the service beforehand.
Getting information like this is crucial for your business process and you obviously can’t stop asking your customers for this.
Does that mean you can never get listed on Reserve with Google?
While Google may start supporting this functionality in the future, there’s a minor work around that you can do until then:
Instead of asking for this information before or during the booking process, you can integrate a form in the email notification that is automatically sent to your customers after booking.
You can customise these email notifications easily in your online scheduling software. In Appointy, this option appears in the Customisation tab in Settings and can be edited with a click.
4. You accept pre-payment for your services
Reserve with Google doesn’t support listing for businesses that require full/partial pre-payments for services. It is a book-and-pay platform where services can be booked and then paid for after the service.
Hence, to get listed, you’ll need to disable pre-payment options in your scheduling software. In Appointy, this can be done from the Payment Options in the Settings tab.
But before you decide to it, you need to think carefully whether disabling pre-payments is a good option for your business or not.
This is because pre-payments are known to significantly reduce no-shows and cancellations for businesses like salon, spas, fitness classes, etc. While on the other hand, for businesses such as pet services, consultants, etc., it might have not really have much effect.
Even after all these fixes, if you still don’t get listed on Reserve with Google, it might be because certain types of business are restricted from getting listed. These include:
Door-to-door service providers (with or without a head office), like plumbers, carpet cleaning, delivery services, etc.
It’s important to note here that if some services that you provide are mobile while some are not, (for example, a consultant who provides consultation both at his office and at his customers’ place), your business is still eligible to get listed on Reserve with Google (given that you’re eligible on all other criteria).
Even if just one of your services fulfil all the criteria, then your business becomes eligible to get listed on Reserve with Google.
HIPAA compliant businesses:
Businesses that are needed to be compliant with HIPAA (Health Insurance Protocol And Accountability) protocols are ineligible to get listed on Reserve with Google.
HIPAA Compliance is required for any service that deals with Protected Health Information (PHI). For example, doctors, physiotherapists, ultrasound centres, etc.)
Business having variable or no service cost
Businesses like consultants, or event planners often provide a free consultant call before they get on site. When they use an online scheduling software for scheduling these calls, the service costs is often nil. Hence, they become ineligible to get listed on Reserve with Google. Additionally, businesses with variable service costs are also ineligible to get listed. (for example, if you provide a service package in which individual services can be customised, and the price is then calculated according to them).
Based on all these criteria, if you find your business is eligible but isn’t listed on Reserve with Google yet, then:
- check with your scheduling partner again. It might be possible that it isn’t one of Google’s trusted scheduling partners.
- If it’s not, try Appointy. It is a powerful, and fully functional online scheduling software and also one of Google’s trusted scheduling partners.
- If you’re an Appointy customer already, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.