Throughout the past decade, the ways in which customers connect with businesses has shifted dramatically.
Modern consumers are no longer satisfied with the traditional phone systems that used to dominate customer support.
Instead, they want to communicate with businesses on their own terms.
They want engagement channels that provide maximum convenience, flexibility, and speed.
Case in point, 64% of customers say that they always prefer to message a business rather than call them.
But what exactly are the benefits of implementing Google Business as a messaging channel?
And what are the best practices for navigating customer conversations through this platform?
In this article, we’ll explore these questions and provide the answers you need. We’ll cover:
- What is Google Business Messages?
- The benefits of using Google Business for messaging
- How to respond to Google Business Messages
What is Google Business Messages?
Google Business Messages is a digital communication channel that allows users to contact your organization via your Google Business profile.
This means that customers don't even have to visit your website to get in touch, or seek out your contact details.
Instead, they simply click on the messenger icon that appears on your Google Business Profile listing, as seen in the example image below.
Customers can use this feature to directly message your business or contact center at any time of day.
What's more, it can be accessed through both Google Search results and Google Maps.
This reduces the number of digital touchpoints required and provides your customers with maximum convenience.
The benefits of Google Business Messages
With Google Business Messages, customers can effortlessly engage with your business from the very beginning of their digital journey.
And this is just one of its perks. Take a look at the following benefits you can enjoy by incorporating this platform into your customer engagement strategy.
1. Seamlessly connect with customers
As we've already touched upon, one of the key benefits of using Google Business for messaging is that customers can easily contact you without finding or visiting your website.
This seamless transition from a Google search to a real-time interaction optimizes the customer experience.
It minimizes the hurdles required for customers to reach you. This means that they can connect with you faster in their moment of need.
2. Utilize Google's scope of reach
Google is everywhere. It's the most visited website worldwide and currently rules 91.9% of the search engine market.
According to recent figures, Google processes over 8.5 billion searches per day.
This isn't that surprising when you consider how much we rely on Google for information. Many of us automatically turn to it whenever we want to know or find something.
Consequently, Google is the starting point of many searches for businesses or products.
In fact, 46% of all product searches begin on Google.
On top of that, the number of mobile searches for local businesses has increased by over 250% since 2017.
With Business Messages, you can harness the power of Google by gaining access to all the potential customers searching for the products/services you offer.
3. Enjoy automation efficiency
Through Google Business Messages, you can provide immediate, 24/7 assistance with a customer service chatbot.
Chatbots can be programmed to send welcome messages and provide answers for simple queries.
They can also transfer interactions to human agents if a customer's issue proves too complex for them to resolve.
With this feature, you can gain maximum efficiency through automation as well as increased interactions and traffic.
4. Effortless integration with Talkative
You may be concerned that the addition of an extra platform will create more work for your customer service teams.
But this does not have to be the case.
Fortunately, Talkative offers a frictionless integration with Google Business Messages. This means that you can gain all of its benefits with minimum hassle.
With Talkative's integration, you’ll enjoy the following capabilities:
- Your customer service team can manage your Google Business chats within the same dashboard as all your other Talkative interactions and channels
- You can make use of Google nudges to continue conversations and remind customers to reply, even if they no longer have the chat window open on their device
- You can utilize Talkative's analytics and reporting capabilities to get the most out of your Google Business interactions
- You can take advantage of automation by deploying Talkative’s AI-powered chatbot
And if all that's not enough to convince you, perhaps the ease of the integration will twist your arm.
With Talkative, there's no need to download additional software to use Business Messages - you can access it effortlessly through your Talkative and Google accounts.
5. Cater to customer location
One of the best things about Google Business is that it can identify a customer’s location via Place IDs.
So, if your organization has various physical locations, your customers will be able to connect with the agents based in the branch closest to them.
With this feature, customers can get answers to venue-specific queries.
This is particularly useful for the following use case examples:
- Retail chains - Customers will be able to contact in-store associates at their local outlet, enabling them to ask about stock availability, opening times, returning an item, etc. There’s also the opportunity to offer virtual shopping experiences.
- Travel & hospitality - Customers can connect with the restaurants/hotels closest to them. This will allow them to make booking/reservation enquiries and ask for more venue information, e.g. daily menu specials, accessibility, facilities, etc.
- Automotive - Customers can be easily put in touch with their local dealership so they can speak with an on-site team member who can provide all the information they need.
With the capability of location-specific contact, you can meet your customers where they are and cater for their specific needs.
6. Optimize customer service & experiences
With Google Business messaging comes a great opportunity for your organization to improve customer service.
This is because it streamlines the customer journey. It improves the speed of service as well as making it easier for customers to do business with you, wherever they’re based.
And thanks to its easy-to-use interface and personalized touches, Google Business Messages also provides an excellent digital customer experience.
This is a significant benefit as 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for a better experience.
How to respond to Google Business Messages: Best practices
It's clear that the addition of Google Business Messages can benefit your organization, customers and contact center in powerful ways.
But in order to get the most out of these advantages, you should adhere to the following best practices.
1. Set up welcome messages
An instant welcome message is the best way to greet customers and get a conversation started.
Once you've set up a welcome message, it'll appear automatically when a customer clicks on the message icon in your Google Business listing.
This greeting will be the first thing a user sees when they attempt to contact you, so you must ensure that it conveys the right tone for your business.
You should use it as an opportunity to thank your customer for getting in touch and to ask what they need help with.
It can also provide further information such as your operating hours, a link to your FAQs, or information on how long they can expect to wait for a response.
You can set up or amend your welcome message through your Business Profile settings at any time.
2. Provide fast responses
In order to provide a high-quality customer experience, it's vital that you respond quickly to messages.
This is essential because 75% of consumers consider a fast response time to be the most important element of digital customer service.
Google recommends replying within 24 hours, at the very most.
When customers search for your business and find your Google listing, they'll see your responsiveness displayed on your profile as one of the following statements:
- Usually responds in a few minutes
- Usually responds in a few hours
- Usually responds in a day
- Usually responds in a few days
If you don't respond at all or take too long to reply, Google will eventually penalize you by removing the Message button from your listing.
You’ll also run the risk of developing a reputation for poor customer service.
So, it's crucial that your agents stay on top of your messages.
3. Make use of rich media
Google Business messaging isn't just for exchanging text - you can also send multimedia like images or videos.
Businesses that use rich media in their messages to customers often see a higher response rate.
This is because visual elements are more engaging than text and spark a stronger emotional reaction or interest in the receiver.
Images/videos are a useful way to eliminate misunderstanding and to show off your products or services more clearly.
They can also provide a more personalized experience than text alone.
4. Ensure messages are relevant
When responding to customer messages, make sure their issue is addressed directly and that all message content is relevant to the interaction.
For example, don't ramble on about new products if the customer just wants an update on their order status.
All messages to customers should be as clear and concise as is possible and appropriate.
This way, you can ensure that all customers are responded to promptly and effectively.
5. Never request sensitive information
You must ensure that your agents don’t ask for private information, such as credit card numbers or login credentials, in Google Business Messages.
This is because it’s a violation of the Google Business messaging guidelines to exchange sensitive data in messages.
So, in situations where these details are required, be sure to escalate the interaction to another secure channel first and explain why it is necessary.
6. Incorporate Business Messages into an omnichannel strategy
Google's business chat is a fantastic way to communicate with customers, but it's not a one-size-fits-all solution.
Therefore, it's best used alongside other channels as part of an omnichannel customer service strategy.
This will elevate the customer experience by giving them the option to use all their preferred communication platforms, and even switch between them.
With the Talkative omnichannel solution, your business and contact center can make use of all the following channels as well as Google Business messaging:
- Live chat
- Video chat
- AI virtual agent chatbot
- Web calling
- Messaging (including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, & SMS)
It’s also good practice to use a variety of agent types as part of your strategy. Consider using both contact center agents and in-store staff at local branches.
With our engagement platform, all channels are integrated to provide a consistent and seamless customer experience at every touchpoint.
7. Escalate the interaction if necessary
If a customer query proves too complex to be solved via Google's business messaging, don't be afraid to escalate the interaction to a more suitable channel.
With Talkative, for example, you could direct the customer to your website so they can continue the interaction via a web call or video chat.
This will ensure that customers receive the best support that is most suited to their needs and preferences.
Google Business Messages is undoubtedly a valuable addition to your wider customer service strategy.
With it, you can meet customers at the heart of their journey while providing ultimate convenience and ease of contact.
You'll also have the scope of the world's most influential search engine at your disposal.
Not only that, but Google Business is incredibly versatile in its uses.
It’s ideal both for larger contact centers and for in-store associates at varying locations within your chain of branches.
By utilizing the best practices covered in this article, you can truly reap the rewards of these advantages and forge stronger connections with your customers.
And what’s the best way to get started? By deploying a platform that can handle all your Google Business Messages in the same space as any other customer interaction.
By doing this, you can gain all the perks of Google Business alongside Talkative's omnichannel digital engagement platform, helping you increase both customer satisfaction and sales.
Want to discover more? Book your demo with Talkative today, and discover how to engage and convert more customers than ever before.