Numerous factors are included in your business’ Google Business profile ranking including proximity to the searcher, robustness of your profile information, number of positive Google reviews, whether you post, and even if you have Google Messages enabled and are actively responding to inquiries.
Google Messages has increased in importance for SMBs as consumer behavior gravitates toward favoring direct message channels to communicate with businesses. SMBs who can reply immediately, providing customers with information 24/7, greatly improve overall engagement, interest, lead generation, and purchase behavior.
Customers Hate Calling - They Now Prefer Direct Messaging
Consumers increasingly expect to be able to interact with businesses using their preferred communication channel. The more traditional phone and email avenues have been supplanted by chat, direct message and SMS. This creates a challenge for SMBs, in particular, who are already struggling with staffing shortages along with the increasing complexities of managing multiple communication channels.
An Ipsos Essentials study from May 2020 reveals that customers across all age groups are increasingly relying on technology to communicate with businesses. To that end, one-half of adults have tried a new communication technology since the beginning of the COVID crisis, including 33% of those over 55 years old.
And it’s not just how customers want to communicate – it’s when. Agentz engagement data shows that 30% of consumers reach out to businesses during the off-hours. The advantage of Google’s Business Messages is that it allows customers who are searching for local businesses to not only connect 24/7 to local SMBs, but also have their questions answered or their needs met quickly, without having to visit a website or make a phone call.
While phone and email have been the traditional channels for customer communication, the response times for them are increasing, resulting in inferior and disappointing customer service. People are growing increasingly impatient with wait times even as little as 90 seconds. Consumers are gravitating towards using direct messaging to avoid long phone call hold times and the “black hole” that can be email. With 83% of consumers expecting an immediate response at all hours, direct messaging is an attractive option for these time-sensitive customers.
Google Messages Fills the Customer Communication Gap
Google’s Business Messages is a mobile conversational channel that allows businesses to communicate with customers directly from Google Search and Google Maps. It enables rich, messaging experiences that satisfy customers and drive business results.
With Business Messages enabled, customers can instead click on the “Message” button and hold their conversation using direct messaging – a preferred method for most consumers today over placing a call. Without Business Messages enabled, the click-to-call button that is presented in search results encourages customers to call a business instead.
Google Messages is designed to make it easy for business owners to communicate with their customers quickly, from any device. Instant notifications to businesses alert them when a customer has made an inquiry. However, responding to these messages is not always easy for small business owners as customers tend to communicate at all hours, expecting a rapid response.
Rapid Response Matters
And Google really cares about the responsiveness rate. Google calculates response time (how quickly a business responds) and response rate (the rate that a business responds within 24 hours – respond in the 25th hour? Sorry, your response won’t count.) Google uses these metrics to inform users what to expect when messaging you. Your profile will display whether you usually respond in a few minutes, in a few hours, in a day, or in a few days. It is doubtful that many businesses want their profile to display “Responds in a few days!”
Be forewarned that Google strives to ensure a great experience for all of their users. If a business has a poor response rating, which means they do not respond within 24 hours, Google will automatically hide the Message button from their profile. If the button is deactivated, it can be turned back on.
How to Successfully Respond At All Hours Using Automation
By integrating with a provider like Agentz, SMBs have the ability to reply instantly to all of their customers. The Agentz automated assistant uses AI chat for Google Messages providing a rich, engaging, experience and even allows customers to seamlessly transition from Google Messages to the website, and even SMS, keeping the conversation intact.
User-friendly and intuitive, customers simply click on common conversation starter buttons to learn about the business, schedule an appointment, view special offers, or access business-specific product and service information. Customers can also ask questions and have them answered via the AI/NLP empowered automated assistant.
Agentz launched its Google Messages integration in March 2022, allowing their local business users to better communicate with their customers coming from Google search. The website experience, already provided by the Agentz automated assistant, is replicated through Google Messages, making it easy for business owners to quickly enable the channel and provide their customers identical experiences regardless of where they start their conversation.
Automating Google Messages Offers Beneficial Call Deflection
A primary benefit of Google’s Business Messages is that it can drastically reduce the number of calls your live agents receive, allowing them to focus on higher priority interactions.
For many businesses, there are common questions their customers ask that could be easily handled by the Agentz automated assistant. By reducing the number of inbound phone calls and emails, especially for items the customer can self-service online, or, for repeat inquiries about things the business does not do, businesses stand to reduce upwards of 20% of their front desk staff times.
Common Business Use Cases Handled by the Agentz Automated Assistant
- Take appointment requests
- Provide information about products or services
- Direct customers to online applications or other forms
- View videos and pictures
- Leave a Google review
- Leave a Message
- Ask questions and receive immediate responses
- Promote job openings
Speed to Rollout
Enabling the Agentz automated assistant for Google Messages is simple and fast.
Starting the connection process is done from within the Agentz business console. The process involves clicking into the Google Messages feature within the console and then using the Google Profile admin credentials to login to the Google account. After accepting Google’s terms & conditions, the user then selects which business location profile to enable Agentz on. For security purposes, Google will send an authentication email to the email address of the Google Business page containing a security code that the business owner validates. Google will then enable Agentz to manage Messages within a few days.
Choosing the Right Communication Tool
It is important for SMBs, in particular, to adopt communication automation knowing that their customers expect it and are comfortable using it. Technologies such as messaging, chatbots, and AI enable SMBs to deliver increasingly personal customer experiences and improve customer satisfaction rates.
The Ipsos B2C Communication Tools study finds that over 80% of Marketing & Sales and Customer Support business decision makers think it is important that their communication tools help reduce customer wait times and nine out of ten decision makers believe Google’s Business Messages will improve a lot or slightly, interactions with their customers.
Businesses that are able to engage with their customers effectively across all channels, will acquire more new customers, retain more customers, increase customer satisfaction and grow their revenue over businesses that are unable to successfully engage and communicate.
For SMBs leveraging the Agentz automated assistant through Google Messages, they can expect to benefit from a decrease in call volume, increased speed replying to customers, the number of inquiries that can be resolved through messaging, and higher customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores.
They can also expect their Google Business profile to display “usually responds in a few minutes.”
Start Your 30-Day Free Trial
Are you a small business? Start a free trial of the Agentz automated assistant and experience, for yourself, how automation can impact your customer experience and your business.
With our easy connect to your Google Business Page and Messages, you can communicate with more customers, at all hours, providing a better, faster, experience.