As you may (or may not) have seen, Google has temporarily disabled reviews for local businesses in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what that means—and more importantly, how it affects you as a flooring dealer.
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First of all: what are local Google reviews?
If you have an active Google My Business profile (and as a FloorForce partner, you almost certainly do), you’ll know that many businesses have Google profiles. Users can leave reviews, ask questions, and upload pictures on these business profiles. And as the business owner, you can add info, respond to comments, and interact with customers using your Google My Business tool.
What functions are currently being disabled?
According to this post by Google, new reviews, review replies, and Q&As are disabled until further notice.
However, changes to hours of operation, open/closed status, and business offerings can still be made. In fact, there’s even a section in which you can add special hours of operation, which we encourage you to leverage if you have adjusted your availability due to current events.
Why is Google doing this?
In its announcement post, Google implied that this is a staff bandwidth issue (the company’s employees are largely working from home)—and that it wants to prioritize listing changes that affect the medical industry.
Given that Yelp also recently changed their review process, though, it seems this might also be an attempt to stop reviewers from attacking businesses that have had to change their hours or offerings due to the ongoing pandemic.
In addition, it may be a way to prevent irate reviewers from attacking businesses that have taken (or not taken) COVID-19 response measures that these reviewers are unhappy with.
How will this affect flooring dealers?
While we don’t anticipate that flooring retailers will be too affected by these changes, we do urge you to keep your hours of operation and offerings up-to-date on your Google profile (your Account Manager would be happy to help).
And if your business remains open, we urge you to clarify exactly what measures you’re taking to ensure the safety of your customers and staff.
Considering today’s uncertain climate, up-to-date information can make all the difference to your customers and local community as they continue to search for new flooring. When Google restores review features, you want to make sure that your customers have nothing but kind words about the way you handled the COVID-19 turbulence.
As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your FloorForce Account Manager if you have any questions at all. We’re here to help you with anything you need.