Google can’t know everything, so sometimes they must rely on other people to provide the information a search user is looking for. And since Google can’t always know intuitively what questions people have, they’re now offering people the option to ask questions on Google Maps.

A fairly new feature, Google Questions and Answers provides a spot for Google Maps users to ask a question, which is then answered by a Google Local Guide (Guides are regular users who answers questions as they’re presented and earn points for responding – points help Guides move up in “rank” and earn occasional perks like complimentary subscriptions to publications) or by businesses logged into the Google Maps app. These questions are specific to a place featured on Maps.

Common questions asked by users include things like:

  • Does this restaurant have high chairs for babies?
  • Is the entrance wheelchair accessible?
  • Are there vegetarian options available here?
  • Does this place feature live music?

Specifically for Android devices, this feature only works when a business appears on Maps. Businesses can keep track of the questions and answers presented about their business as long as they have the Google Maps app. Unless they’re logged into the Google Maps app, they may not see the questions.

Responding to customer questions

Businesses must be signed into the Google Maps app as the user registered on behalf of the business in order to view and respond to questions.

It’s important to respond to questions as thoroughly as possible. Today’s customers expect to be able to have conversations with businesses online – and it helps foster the conversation when businesses actively engage.

Respond with ample details – instead of simply “yes” or “no,” respond with additional information. For example:

  • Yes, we have high chairs for babies and are very baby-friendly!
  • Yes, the entrance is wheelchair accessible and we have accessible seating throughout the dining area.
  • Yes, we offer vegetarian options including soy protein meat substitute entrees.
  • No, we don’t currently have live music, but we’re currently looking to add this to our entertainment calendar soon.

Users can up-vote certain questions, signifying the helpfulness of the question. Business owners should monitor these votes because it can help them understand the types of questions people have about their business. It’s an easy way to get valuable customer insights.