Google Partnering with Demandforce to Test Appointment Scheduling Right in the SERPs


Linda Buquet

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I announced back in May that Google was launching <a href="http://www.localsearchforum.com/google-local-important/31351-google-launches-local-restaurant-delivery-appointment-booking.html">Local Restaurant Delivery & Appointment Booking</a>. I had kind of assumed, as many others did, that they would be building their own scheduling app.

But Darryl Quinlan early yesterday morning posted this in the Local Search Pros G+ Community.
Darryl Quinlan - Yesterday 7:57 AM

Demandforce has partnered with Intuit and now Google for online scheduling

Demandforce has partnered with Intuit and now Google for online scheduling. They have been sending emails to existing Demandforce clients advising of the new feature. Anyone seeing this yet?

I'm also a bit confused as to how it works. the booking is not through the Google+ page but you need to control your Google+ page in order for it to work? Also, apparently you need to have Demandforce for this feature to be available as I have my business listed in the Intuit business directory but there is no option to "turn on" anything. 

Here's the link to the DemandForce "How it Works" page:
Online Scheduling on Google - Generation Demandforce

You can see it in action with the example DF used in their announcement.
The appointment booking widget shows up right in the Knowledge Graph.

CHECK IT OUT HERE: Cahaba Valley Animal Clinic


Here are a few comments from our discussion at the Pro Community:

Linda Buquet - Very interesting. Thanks +Darryl Quinlan! I knew DF was bought by Intuit quite awhile back. And we knew Google was going to start doing online scheduling. I announced that just a little while ago. BUT I didn't know about this particular test.

Linda Buquet - My guess is this will end up being paid inclusion, similar to the hotel booking widgets and online menus. I assume everyone has to pay to feature their content in Google search. (After the testing, if it goes beyond that.)

Darryl Quinlan - I'm hoping the testing goes well enough that it just becomes another feature. Most of my clients are in the medical field so this would be a great add on for them - particularly if it becomes trackable data. 

Kathy Long - I have yet to find a client who likes DF scheduling. Would be nice if Google gave businesses a choice of their own scheduling app. Will DF reviews be next? 

Linda Buquet - Kathy, I think there will be more than one option. Especially since DF does not cover all industries. I think... just like hotel booking, it's whoever has an API and wants to pay Google for the exposure. (At least I'm assuming that's how it works.)

Sorry I didn't get a chance to share this yesterday AM right after Darryl posted, but thanks so much for sharing Darryl!

I know many of you work with Dentists that use Demandforce. But DF does Chiro and Auto and some other markets as well.

What do guys make of all this???

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Linda Buquet

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Re: Google Partnering with DemandForce to Test Appointment Schedling Right in the SER

Forgot to mention, later in the day yesterday, Mike did a post about it too:
<a href="http://blumenthals.com/blog/2015/08/18/google-testing-place-actions-forms-via-demand-force-to-initiate-scheduling/">Google Testing Place Actions Forms via Demand Force to Initiate Scheduling</a>
 
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Re: Google Partnering with DemandForce to Test Appointment Schedling Right in the SER

Looks similar to what DemandForce is doing with Yelp.
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: Google Partnering with DemandForce to Test Appointment Schedling Right in the SER

Good point Chris. I was not aware of that one I don't think.

HERE are some other good comments from various discussions I've been in about this.

Darryl, the consultant that started the thread at the Pro community just made some interesting comments in another post I did.

He said: "Well I'm on the fence if this is good or bad. Sure we're bypassing the website, but the patient books an appointment easily. Sure these online appointments tend to be a lot of no shows, but that person is now in the system to follow up with and potentially convert. Basically it's all just an easy lead gen source no?

What I really don't like is if it becomes proprietary, if ONLY Demandforce can do it or if it will be open to any scheduling company with an API."


I brought that aspect of it up to some Dentists and one said:

"My fear with direct scheduling is that I lose control of my schedule. I could have people sucking up all my time with whatever they want. And what about no-shows. I have a feeling they would increase."

I started thinking about the downsides from a practice perspective and replied:

"...come to think of it, from my practice management days AND experience just as a pt, a good front desk person schedules intelligently like a computer/online form never could.

Your receptionist knows Mary is chatty and always needs a little more time. Johnny is phobic and needs extra hand holding. OR knowing that this is the 3rd try getting this partial right and Murphy is always with us on this one, so better book a little extra time. (Or whatever.)

So if you have someone great at the front desk who's intelligently booking like that, you may want to opt out of this new experiment?"
 

JoshuaMackens

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Re: Google Partnering with DemandForce to Test Appointment Schedling Right in the SER

It would just be for the initial appointment correct? Once you get them in the office, you can use your regular method of scheduling for follow up appointments from there on out, no? You could just use it, as someone else pointed out, as a lead generator.

At least that's a little bit of upside.
 

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