The advent of technology has significantly transformed the way consumers find, scrutinize, and purchase from businesses. Now that they are doing pretty much everything on their smartphones, it's imperative for companies to enable customers to reach out to them on every online channel they have.
Fortunately, Google has allowed Google My Business listing owners to add a click-to-message button to allow customers to send you real-time inquiries on their offers. In this blog, we'll explore how you can explore this GMB feature to improve customer satisfaction and conversion rates.
What is Google Business Messages?
Google Business Messages is a GMB feature that allows business owners to activate a message button on their listings. When a Google user clicks the message button, they will be redirected to a web chat box to inquire about or book services. This feature streamlines the contact process, providing a faster and more convenient method for customers to reach your business without the need to navigate multiple websites and apps.
How do I set up Google Business Messages?
Business owners can send links, messages, and photos through Google Business Messages. Here's how you can set it up on your GMB profile:
- Open the Google Maps app.
- In Maps, at the bottom right, tap Business.
- Click Messages. Tap More.
- Proceed to Message settings.
- Turn Chat on or off.
- Customize the automated welcome message.
Once you've activated your Google Business Messages, you get notifications for the messages that show up in your Business Profile. If multiple people own or manage your Business Profile, each one can chat with customers.
What are the features of Google Business Messages?
Google Business Messages comes with numerous smart features that can help businesses streamline an effective and engaging messaging process.
Send and receive messages between customers and your brand's agent. You can use the message's context to decide how to route and process the message content. After responding, you can also track the user's message receipt.
Agents are conversational entities that users interact with. Set the agent name and logo to reflect your brand. Aside from this, specify welcome messages and conversation starters to guide users to supported topics. This will help you increase brand recall among your audience.
Customers can connect with businesses through numerous channels like Google Search, Google Maps, and your brand's own digital platforms. You can also decide how to route or process customer messages based on which entry point they used to start the conversation.
Google suggests contextually relevant actions and replies to the user. These appear at the bottom of the conversation. Suggested actions can include apps, business contact information, booking pages, or even your website.
OAuth enables agents to verify users' identities to provide personalized and secured information within the conversation. Your agent can send an authentication request to the user and, after the user signs in to the trusted OAuth provider, receive an authorization code from Business Messages.
Live Agent Transfer
Your agent can switch between human and automated responses anytime during a conversation. When you perform a live agent transfer, the user will know if a live agent has joined or left.
Rich card carousels consist of related information, media, and suggestions in a single message. Use rich cards to display chunks of information in a compact manner, so that users can understand it at a glance.
Google Business Messages allow both customers and business owners to see if their messages have been sent, delivered, and read by the other party. GMB listing owners can use these receipts to design a better messaging sequence.
Google allows businesses to see a proximate physical location of a user through Place IDs from Google Places. This will allow you to determine the best course of action for responding to the user.
Google enables agents and locations to be responsive to users' preferences by passing user locale settings to agents, allowing agents to specify a default locale and unique conversational settings per locale, and resolving matches between users' locales and an agent or location's supported locales.
Businesses are allowed to send surveys to users to measure customer satisfaction. Surveys appear in a dialog above the conversation and allow users to rate their experience.
To learn more about the importance of customer insights, read Gain Insights and Enhance Your Hotel Services with Guest Feedback
Why use Google Business Messages?
Numerous businesses have seen significant growth in their conversion rates after activating Google Business Messages. Here are some reasons you should activate your Google Business Messages, too.
Provides more options for Google users.
Google provides various ways for customers to contact businesses. Dining, fitness, and beauty service providers may opt to activate a "Reserve" button in which customers can directly reserve a time or a table in their GMB listings. Read Streamline Online Bookings with Reserve with Google to learn more about this. Aside from this, GMB listing owners can also opt to activate a "Call" button which automatically pulls up the active phone app of the user and dials the number indicated on the listing.
While these options can generate bookings, they may be too straightforward for customers who want to learn more about your business before deciding. In fact, recent surveys suggest that 46% of customers prefer live chat over any other mode of communication.
Strengthens customer service.
Industries like hospitality and restaurants heavily rely on exceptional customer service. A call-to-message button on your Google listing allows your team to easily assist clients even during the early stage of purchasing. This proactive approach can impress customers and demonstrate your prompt commitment to addressing their concerns.
Expedites the booking process.
With the abundance of online businesses, consumers have become more cautious. They tend to research extensively before purchasing or booking from an online business. Google Business messaging helps reduce the time consumers spend on research. Instead of navigating to your website or social media accounts just to send an inquiry after a Google search, customers can easily message you through your Google listing. The faster they answer their questions, the more likely they will book your services.
Increases conversion rate.
Just like how a long queue in a physical store can discourage customers, a complicated checkout process can lead to cart abandonment in online purchases. Recent surveys indicate that 17% of US customers don't proceed with a purchase due to a lengthy checkout process. Having a Google click-to-message button expedites the booking process for your customers, reducing the likelihood of abandonment.
Boosts the activity of your Google My Business listing.
A message button increases the activity of your Google My Business listing. This is specifically true for local businesses, as recent surveys suggest that 64% of consumers use Google My Business to find local businesses. Consistent activity within your listing can boost your visibility on Google, allowing you to connect with more customers.
Strengthens your online reputation.
Regardless of your marketing strategies, one thing is for sure: Customers appreciate excellent customer service. Assisting your potential clients during their research phase can truly strengthen customer satisfaction. Because they are satisfied, they're more likely to write a review on your GMB listing. Even better, they can even share your business with their friends or online followers.
If you're in the hospitality industry and want to learn more about online reputation, read The Ultimate Guide to Online Reputation Management for Hotels
How to optimize Google Business Messages?
While Google Business Messages is already a lucrative strategy to boost your online presence, there are additional ways to maximize its benefits. Here are some tips on how you can make the most out of this GMB feature:
Create a strategic message sequence.
Treat your Google Business Message as a marketing campaign. For this reason, you should craft a strategic message sequence that can effectively encourage potential clients to purchase. For instance, Netmeds Marketplace LTD has Netty as their GMB message assistant. While using a character is fun, they could guide leads to their offers. They could include options like: "Ask a question about your prescription," "Ask for product availability," or "Ask for operating hours".
Setting up a high-converting message sequence may be hard. Fortunately, you can use AI tools for that. To learn more about this, read Get the Most Out of ChatGPT: How Hotels Can Leverage the Technology.
Optimize your Google My Business listing.
To encourage customers to send you messages about your offer, optimizing your Google My Business listing is crucial. A blank or incomplete listing may raise doubts in customers' minds, and they may hesitate to contact or book your services. Ensure that your listing includes updated photos, contact information, and engaging copies.
If you need help optimizing your Google My Business listing, read Google My Business Guide: How to Optimize Your Profile.
Collect customer insights.
To protect users, Google doesn't directly give customer data to GMB profile owners. Despite this, you can take note of the questions and messages you receive. This information can help you do customer profiling and market research. Once you collect enough customer insights, you can optimize your GMB listing, improve your offers, or launch effective marketing campaigns.
For example, this kind of question from customers calls for immediate action. Through Google Business Messages, they identified that their payment methods aren't that conspicuous on their online platforms.
Respond to Google messages promptly.
Google Business Messages requires businesses to respond to messages within 24 hours. If you fail to meet this requirement, Google will deactivate your message button. For this reason, it's essential to implement and maintain an efficient messaging process.
Surprisingly, surveys suggest that 45% of companies that use chat do not ask for feedback and have no way of knowing how well they serve their customers. Google provides a 30-day window to respond to messages through Google Business Messages. This window time is a great opportunity to ask for reviews from customers who've booked your services. Remember that Google reviews can boost customer engagement and brand loyalty, which allows you to have a strong customer base.
And since you were able to guide them at the earliest stage of their research, there's a high chance that you will receive positive reviews!
Respond to Google reviews.
After you ask your clients for reviews, it's only imperative to respond to their feedback accordingly. This will encourage other customers to post reviews, boosting your online reputation and search engine visibility.
We know this is challenging, especially if you must maintain a fast response time to your Google Business messages. Luckily, an AI writing assistant can help you respond to your Google Reviews, so you can focus on replying to your Google Business messages.
MARA AI review reply generator is a writing tool specifically designed to write fully-optimized and engaging replies to your customers. It can reduce response times and costs, boost response rates, and increase online reputation. Whether your business is in the niche of hospitality, dining, eCommerce, etc., you can be confident that MARA will respond to your customer reviews in the most efficient way possible.
Most importantly, MARA is a web-based AI tool. This means you don't have to integrate it into your GMB listing; you can also use it on other online review websites. Copy the review, paste it on MARA's message board, and get customized reviews in seconds.
Want to learn more about MARA? Register for a FREE MARA account today.
The business industry has never been more competitive. For this reason, businesses must utilize all possible means to connect with their customers. By optimizing GMB's Google Business Messages, you can increase your conversion and customer satisfaction rates. Just remember to streamline an effective response process across your Google channels–perhaps with the help of an AI tool like MARA.
This article is part of our hero content on "Mastering Google Reviews - A Complete Guide."
Frequently Asked Questions:
Google My Business listing owners can activate their Google Business Messages through Google Maps. Just log in to your account and proceed to the Message Settings tab.
Google Business Messages is an asynchronous messaging service that enables business owners to connect with potential clients through Google Search, Maps, ads, and the brand’s own online channels.
Yes. Google Business Messages is a free feature for Google My Business listing owners. It comes with multiple user options, automation features, and multimedia messaging.
Customers can use Google Business Messages through Google Search and Google Maps. Just search for the business, tap the chat button, and an in-app chat box will appear.