Update Jan. 23, 2018:
We’ve not seen Google Messaging widely integrated yet by Google. Often, this is par for the course with new Google services. During our testing, Google’s apps and services like Google Search and Google Maps don’t consistently show Messaging as an option. So depending an a users’ device or how they interact with your Google listing they might not even know they can use Messaging. Why? You’d have to ask Google!
Increasingly, our takeaway from this is that Google’s goals are to keep people in their ecosystem. They want people to contact businesses through Google, and not necessarily through your website. So we don’t see this going away anytime soon.
If you haven’t setup your Google listing’s Messaging, you can read our walk-through here.
Update Jan. 2, 2018:
Google Messaging can now be used to chat from your computer. So if you have downloaded and integrated Google Allo with you Google My Business listing you don’t have to use a phone to respond to people chatting with you. Be sure and check it out! For some of our clients this would be a great option for those who have multiple people who can offer support and respond to inquiries.
…a new product, an old product updated, or an entire product removed. When it comes to the services Google offers right now, things are moving fast. Their ever-changing and expanding ecosystem has become a huge benefit for us as we serve our clients since their tools have some significant upside.
For us in the service industry, we’re always looking for ways to better communicate with our customers. Fast and convenient online interactions are key to the great online experiences. Direct chat has become a big part of that.
Google has officially thrown their hat into the ring when it comes to direct-to-consumer chat communication:
Google My Business allows you to chat directly with customers who find your business listing on Google Search. Responding to customers can help you answer their questions, tell your business’s story, and attract more people to your location. – Google
- For businesses that already have a solution built-in to their website, this could make those portals less visited since people may use Google first before they see your proprietary chat service. The jury is out on which service customers will come to trust more…but good money is on Google.
- It provides another channel for patients to get ahold of you in a very personal way. Some people may see this as a con, and in certain industries, it may be.
- It’s a great way to find out if those pay-to-chat apps are actually converting the people you think they are at the volume they are claiming.
- Someone still has to man that phone!
- Google likes to keep searchers in their ecosystem, which may result in fewer visits to your actual website. This trend is consistent with the introduction of Google My Business profiles – people who were previously hitting web pages for an address or phone are now simply terminating on Google My Business pages. **
- For medical clients, if you use the Allo app, your conversations will be stored on Google’s servers. While Google has a vested interest in being HIPAA compliant, it’d still be best practice not to transmit sensitive data.
Each business is going to have to decide if this is something they want to participate in. Direct access to some businesses via messaging, under certain circumstances, can be disruptive. Additionally, businesses will have to work this into their office life style, because having a message portal that no one checks can be bad optics.
If you’re a Clear Partnering Group client, we will be talking to you in the coming weeks about implementing this for Google My Business page as well as discussing the pros and cons for your business and specific needs. If you are feeling feisty, you can also check out our blog post for clients only on how to set it up yourself!