Google My Business has added yet another feature called Google Message to help small business owners connect with their customers. This feature is now apart of you Google business listing (see below) next to the call, directions and website button. Now your customers have the option to text you (or the manager of your Google My Business account) to ask a question. Google Message produces a new way to increase customer service before potential customers arrive at your location.
Below we will show you how to setup Google Message for your business and answer a few questions you may have about this new Google My Business feature and how it can enhance your local SEO strategy.
How Do I Setup Google Messaging?
1) Go to your Google My Business and select the location of the business you would like to add Google Message to (in many cases you will only have one location to select).
2) On the homepage of your Google My Business listing, select the “Turn On Messaging” button in the Chat box where it reads Message with customers.
3) Enter a phone number that can receive SMS text to verify your number. This number will NOT be shared publically.
4) Then enter the confirmation code from via SMS text to complete verification.
5) Next you can customize a Welcome Message that your customers will see automatically when they send you the initial text message. Adding a question like “How can we help you?” or “We are connecting you with a manager” are popular all-purpose Welcome Messages being used by most early adopters of the Google Message feature.
6) Finally click the Save Button and you will be all setup!
Here are some FAQs about Google Message
Will the customer see my phone number?
No. Google uses an alternate number for both the business and on the customer’s end. Also, if the customer tries to call that number they will hear an out of order message.
Is Google Message worth using for our business?
It depends. If you (or your dedicated Google My Business manger) have time to respond quickly to this type communication, then it is a great feature that can enhance your overall customer service. Keep in mind, that if your business is popular and is search for a lot on a monthly basis, that you will need to dedicate enough bandwidth to maintain this type of communication with your customers. If this is something you are unable to handle and you cannot respond in a timely fashion, then it may be better to wait to turn this feature on.
Can I track how many times my business is contacted through Google Message?
Yes. You will see these stats under Insights. Click on your View Insights button and scroll down to Customer actions.
Where can I learn more about Google Message?
Google has a support link here where you can learn more about this Google My Business feature.
Do I have to use my SMS to use Google Message?
No. Google has an app called Google Allo that will allow you to message through your data plan. It also provides a lot more features to express you including emojis, doodles and a Google Assistant. Learn more about Allo here.
How do I turn off Google Message?
Go to your Google My Business homepage and select “Opt Out” in the Chat box.