(This column originally appeared in Forbes)
Google has quietly added a feature to its Business Profile listings that can give any business, regardless of their size, a powerful CRM function. And it doesn’t cost a thing.
First, let’s make sure you’re aware of the Google Business Profile. This is the place where you can setup information about your business so when people search for you they get this information displayed on the right side of their search results. I’m sure you’ve seen this before with other businesses you’ve searched.
For example, if you search for my company (The Marks Group) you’ll see our address (we’re a virtual company, it’s a post office box), hours, health & safety information (our post office box is very clean) as well as our phone number and reviews (mostly good). There are also links to our website, directions to our location (in case you want to meet in front of our post office box) and the opportunity for visitors to call us directly from the Business Profile web page. Good stuff. Every business should have this. If you don’t, you can setup a Business Profile for your business here.
But let’s turn to customer relationship management. When you purchase a mainstream CRM system you’ll want to integrate it with your website so that you can capture leads. You may also want to setup chat functionality to answer questions. Better yet, you may want to leverage AI so that standard or common questions are automatically answered, which saves everyone a lot of time. This is standard CRM stuff and if you’re not doing this you should be.
But now Google is offering a new function that will help accomplish these tasks, even if you don’t have a CRM system. The company has quietly expanded its Q&A capabilities in its Business Profile.
According to search engine optimization (SEO) publication Search Engine Land, this was noticed by SEO professional Stefan Somborac. The function will allow you to create up to ten FAQs with questions of up to 40 characters and answers to up to 500 characters. You can also include links to your website.
This is a powerful CRM function…and it’s free. By setting up your questions you can capture visitors Googling you and direct them to where you want. Not only are you providing helpful and immediate answers to prospects but if you configure your responses the right way you can capture their lead information too by offering them some type of call to action on your website, like a whitepaper, brochure or other type of asset. And once the prospect has given up their contact info on your website you can (hopefully) have your CRM configured to capture that data too. Even if you don’t have a CRM application you can still receive this information by email.
To enable automated FAQs for your Google Business Profile, Search Engine Land’s Matt G. Southern says you should follow these steps:
-Search for “my business” in Google on a web browser.
-Click Customers and then Messages.
-Click Menu, and then Message settings, and then Manage frequently asked questions.
-Click +Add a question
I’m jumping on this CRM feature right now. You should too. Happy hunting!