Home Blog Google Business Profile Messaging Feature Can Now Automate FAQs Responses

Google Search

There’s a new automated Google Business Profile Messaging response feature, and it’s great news for enterprise brands. Now, you can create up to 10 frequently asked questions (FAQs) with standard responses automatically sent to Google Maps and Google Search users who ask specific questions via your business listings.

These FAQs can vary for each of your brand’s locations so you can tailor them to your local customers’ specific needs by store/office, neighborhood, city, or region. This ensures searchers are presented more personalized information tailored to their needs, rather than a blanked response that necessitates seeking more information.

How do GBP automated messaging FAQs work and how can you get it set up for your brand’s local listings? Let’s take a look.

How To Use Frequently Asked Questions in GBP Messaging

What are the guidelines for FAQs

Google will now allow you to designate up to 10 FAQs with template responses, each one including:

  • Up to 40 characters for the question
  • Up to 500 characters for the response
  • A link

Where to find FAQs

How to manage FAQs

To enable FAQs for one of your locations, begin from the business listing. You can easily find it via Google Search if you are the owner of the listing by searching “my business.” Once in the admin dashboard:

  1. Click Customers > Messages.
  2. In the menu, go to Message settings > Manage frequently asked questions.
  3. Click +Add a question.

GBP Ask a Question Example

Why FAQs matter for brands

Google’s expectation of businesses when it comes to responding to customer inquiries via Search and Maps is clear:

“​​​​Any business that uses chat on their Business Profile should reply to new messages within 24 hours.”

This design promotes trust in your business and increase consumer engagement with Google Business Profiles. Moreover, Google plainly states that if you do not meet this requirement, it may deactivate chat for that listing.

Google understands that local customers often have immediate needs and that making them wait on decision-making information isn’t a good user experience. In addition to enabling businesses to track their average response times in the Google Maps app, it also displays a notice to users. These chat response notices include:

  • “Usually responds in a few minutes”
  • “Usually responds in a few hours”
  • “Usually responds in a day”
  • “Usually responds in a few days”

Becoming more relevant for searchers

We know how Google ranks local content. Google openly tells us that “​​Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence.”

When the query and other signals from the searcher (such as their location and device type) indicate to Google that they have an immediate need, your location’s ability to meet it will impact how relevant that location is to that consumer. For example, if a searcher is looking for [emergency dental repair] via Google Search and Maps, a dental office listing that typically takes up to a week to respond to searcher questions is not positioning itself well to be perceived as the best answer to that query.

Being responsive tells Google – and local consumers – that when they have a problem to solve quickly, your location may be able to help. This applies to all industries. Consider these types of consumer needs:

  • A woman forgot her partner’s birthday and now needs to buy a gift on the way home.
  • A person injured in a car accident wants to consult a personal injury lawyer before speaking with an insurance adjuster who is already calling asking for a statement.
  • An event organizer has a venue cancel at the last minute and needs to find a new one in the next 24 hours.
  • A business professional has a rapidly evolving opportunity that requires a business loan and needs to evaluate their options within days.
  • A local hotel has flooded, resulting in hundreds of customers now seeking immediate alternatives.

Every type of business, from restaurants and hospitality to healthcare organizations, finance brands, and retail stores, has a potential audience of customers with immediate needs in Google Search.

Tips for Making the Most of GBP FAQs

How can you use this new feature to your maximum advantage? Here are a few enterprise-level tips for automated FAQ responses.

Determine 3-4 common questions that can be replicated across all brand profiles

Mine your local search data for the questions that come up across all of your brand locations.

These will likely be brand-level questions and concerns customers tend to have about your business. These could have to do with your company’s:

  • Ethics, values, and mission.
  • Most popular products and services.
  • Leadership and career opportunities.
  • Stakeholder information.

Craft a response that fully answers the question and also includes a link to where on your brand website searchers could take a deeper dive and learn more. Distribute these templated FAQs and responses across your network of locations to the local managers/franchisees who manage local profiles, or to the local search partner that assists in your Google Business Profile management.

Create FAQs best practices for local managers

Again, whether your Business Profiles are managed by local managers and franchisees or a local search partner, it’s important to educate them on this opportunity. They will have more location-specific FAQs such as requests for business hours, the business address, customer care policies, credit card types accepted, etc.

Messaging guidelines

Here are a few Google Business Profile Messaging FAQ guidelines and best practices to get you started:

  • Avoid promotional language in FAQ responses where the searcher is seeking information. The searcher is already interested; this is not a place to sell. A good response will meet that informational need.
  • Always include a link in the response that reflects the next logical step in your customer’s journey. For example, if one frequently asked question is about the store’s location and how to get there, you can provide a one-to-two sentence answer. Then, link to that location’s local page where the searcher can find more information about the neighborhood, see where they can locate it in proximity to local landmarks, view exterior photos, and more.
  • Include at least one commercial FAQ to satisfy the needs of those who may be looking for offers, deals, and sales. “Where can I find current offers, deals, and sales?” or some variation may surface in the commonly asked questions. Be sure to include a link to the resource that is kept current with those offers (again, likely your local page).
  • Highlight your location’s best assets in FAQs. For example, if your location has a 4.9 average star rating with hundreds or thousands of reviews, a good FAQ might be, “Where can I find real XYZ customer reviews?” A good response could be:

We’re proud to have a 4.9 Google rating at our XYZ location and look forward to exceeding your expectations, too. John from San Diego shared, “Pleasant staff, great food, and nice atmosphere! The view was fantastic and Monday’s lunch specials are great value.” See what other local customers say about their experiences at our XYZ location: [link to local page with embedded reviews].

Giving your team examples of the FAQs they could create at the local level will help ensure a more standardized approach across the brand – and that means a more consistent experience for your customers in all markets.

Plan to revisit your Google Business Profile Messaging FAQs strategy every six to twelve months

Customer preferences and your competitive landscape are constantly changing. Make Google Business Profile FAQs a part of your regular local search auditing process so you can stay at the forefront of customers’ evolving needs.

More helpful resources: