Google Testing Place Actions Forms via Demand Force to Initiate Scheduling

Google is testing Knowledge Panel feature, Place Actions Forms, to allow scheduling via Intuit’s Demand Force with appointment based businesses. You can test it yourself via this search: cahaba valley animal clinic. (h/t Mary Bowling of Ignitor Digital).

According to Demand Force “By completing the business forms earlier in the search process, your clients will have a better, smoother experience from discovery to booking.”

book-appointmentThis test is consistent with previous rollouts for adding things like restaurant reservations via Open Table and taxi booking via Uber to the Knowledge Panel and Maps that started late last year.

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Booking requires selecting from a list of pre-determined services to initiate the service and then takes users over to the Intuit Booking Page for that business.

FAQ from Demand Force:

What is happening?

Google is testing a new experimental feature, called Place Actions Forms, that allows clients to book appointments or services through Google Search results. By completing the business forms earlier in the search process, your clients will have a better, smoother experience from discovery to booking.

How do I turn on this feature?

All Demandforce customers are automatically eligible. If you have Online Booking enabled on Intuit Local, a Book an Appointment section will appear with a Continue Booking link that opens the Online Booking form. If you don’t have Online Booking switched on, a Request Appointment section will appear and that form will open instead.

How long will it take to show up?

About a week, but because this is still an experiment, we can’t guarantee when online scheduling will appear for a given business. To increase your chances, please be sure you’ve claimed and updated your Google My Business profile and that information about the services you offer is up to date in Demandforce.

What if I don’t want my business to participate?

We’re excited to participate in this pilot and expect it to benefit both the businesses we serve and Google users. However, if you prefer to not participate, you can turn off online scheduling in your Demandforce account settings.

Is Google using this to collect personal information on me or my customers?

Google is not collecting any personal information on you or your customers.

What happens after a client requests or books an appointment through Google?

The same thing that happens when a client requests or books an appointment through Intuit Local. The business is notified and the request or booking appears on the Dashboard under Incoming Appointments with the source Google. The business can then respond to the client and enter the details in their management system.

After a client books through Google, what do they do if they want to cancel or change the appointment?

Your client should contact you directly to cancel or change the appointment.

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Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Testing Place Actions Forms via Demand Force to Initiate Scheduling by

16 thoughts on “Google Testing Place Actions Forms via Demand Force to Initiate Scheduling”

  1. Mike: Do I have dispensation to reference this as more crap; like the crap pack’s that you and others reference by a less descriptive term???

    Here is the down and dirty: Should visitors hit this field and book an appointment, they are bypassing the website.

    Per the above directions the default sets it for booking off of google/intuit. Want it or not…all those using that platform are IN. Do they know or realize that???? I doubt it. But I’d like to hear…maybe they were contacted. I would hope so.

    I love that “last cancellation “thing”. Haven’t we seen this before??? Someone books something through google. Google doesn’t give customer service.

    This is sort of crap to the third. Google in total control. …….and less and less people visit your website.

  2. Mike, is this the same thing DF has been doing with Yelp for the past year or two?

    I wonder what the no show rate will be. If this is similar to ZocDoc, then cancellations/no shows will be higher than appointment requests via phone or practice website.

  3. I don’t have an exact number, but EVERY dentist client that I’ve worked with who uses ZocDoc says that ZocDoc appointments are more likely to no show or cancel.

    I wonder if it has something to do with the ability of choosing an exact time instead of requesting an appointment and the office having to follow up w/ the patient for a specific time.

  4. Interesting observation from Chris above. Our own experiences with different smb’s have shown that different sources of contacts are better than others; some being significantly more reliable. I’ve heard the same from operators of different smb’s.

    It would be interesting to follow up and get more data on Chris’s observation….and also to get data on current stats with demand force vis a vis direct contacts.

  5. That’s really interesting, Mike.

    What caught my attention though …
    is that the full privacy disclaimer: “Google is not collecting any personal information on you or your customers.” – no further explanations whatsoever …

    If this test passes with flying colors and the new feature is here to stay, I wonder how long before the in-SERPs service booking activity becomes a factor worth paying attention to when G ranks the local businesses (that is if a high no-show rate doesn’t kill the idea in first place).

  6. Mike, Haven’t checked in for a while… thanks for keeping the light on. For our clients we noticed the new “crap pack” (I like that name) and also a drop in placement. These both are clients I have had for over 8 years with solid businesses and placement in Google. The listings that moved up seemed to be the more “spammy” results.

    Regarding Google becoming a lead gen service and cutting out other websites… in the long run they are poisoning their own well. By scraping, aka stealing, data from other sites and displaying it/ using it as theirs they are damaging the very websites and businesses that they rely upon for data. This trend is not limited to Local and is happening across the board.

    Combined with the recent Alphabet change it is clear that the execs at the firm have lost sight of their original intent and the company has fully transitioned into a faceless corporation.

    I predict within 2 years we will see a serious competitor to them.

  7. This seems like too much when the other changes to Local are coming so fast and furiously like the 3-pak and exclusion of My Business pages from results. However, if it comes to Canada I’m willing to give it a shot.

    As far as clients go, many storefront businesses don’t have scheduling so this will be only for those with services who do. And among those who do book, I’m wondering if it will be hard to sell to clients have their own booking system in place. How will the client handle two booking services and conflicts etc…seems complicated. I just can’t see it becoming popular and think it will go the way of the (just another Google) dodo.

  8. This has gone beyond Intuit/Demand Force. I’ve noticed some clients who use are also able to utilize this feature. I’m sure there’s many others as well.

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