The GMB Messaging Update Multi-Location Businesses Have Been Waiting For

If you’re social savvy, you know direct messaging exists on most major platforms and is an integral part of customer relations. This is why it felt like a step backwards when at the end of 2018, to many multi-location businesses’ frustration, Google announced the ability to operate messaging outside of the Google My Business app would no longer be available. This made it nearly impossible for enterprises to continue to manage messages coming in for multiple listings. 

Enterprise businesses were negatively impacted because so many had invested in programs and had practices in place to reply to their messages. The update to in-app Messaging only was geared towards small business owners who operate one business (therefore one GMB listing) and it allowed them to quickly respond to messages via their personal phone. However, for a business with several locations and managers, this was a nightmare. A Canadian-based car rental agency with multiple locations told us they relied heavily on the ability to use SMS messaging for GMB inquiries to streamline their communication with clients, and had to disable this sales funnel after Google removed Messaging from GMB in March of 2019. 

After a year plus of waiting, Business Messaging is expanding! Google recently announced Messaging for enterprises with a handful of partners, allowing these businesses a new chance to manage messages through GMB. 

What’s New?

There are a number of exciting features on the horizon for Messaging. In the coming months, customers will be able to find Messaging in even more places on Android, including within apps and during calls. With this welcomed update, Messaging will once again be more accessible for businesses that have multiple locations and multiple managers. 

Messaging will soon be available through several popular partners such as Zendesk, Podium, RingCentral and more. You can view the complete list here. 

Image source: Google via https://developers.google.com/business-communications/business-messages/partners

Another exciting addition is the ability to create “smart responses”. Businesses can cater to their customers’ behaviours by showing expected wait times and answering frequently asked questions to enhance their experience during the wait time before they are connected with a live agent. Businesses will have the ability to integrate branded welcome messages and responses. 

When connected, the representative will have the ability to share the business’s product carousel based on the customer’s question. For example, if the business is a furniture chain and a customer asks about the selection of chairs, the representative can share the product category of chairs, allowing the customer to easily browse your selection and make a purchase.

Source: https://developers.google.com/business-communications/business-messages

Businesses will now have the ability to optimize their program. Messaging offers an alternative touchpoint for customers, which can provide customers with quick answers, increase sales, and improve customer satisfaction with more data and feedback

How Does This Help My Multi-Location Business?

This announcement is a game-changer for multi-location businesses. These changes are significant to a streamlined process and optimal user experience. The most important relationship in a consumer-serving business is the relationship with the customer. Managing this relationship as a business is a no-brainer, but businesses need to look for new ways to build that relationship digitally through responding to new inquiries and offering a guiding hand during the decision-making period. Messaging helps businesses offer their customers the opportunity to chat with an expert at their business, whenever and wherever the customer wants. 

It’s crucial to give new prospective customers multiple avenues to reach your business as seamlessly as possible because any roadblock can send them in another direction. Google My Business and the Messaging feature minimize these roadblocks and should not be overlooked, especially with these new enterprise-friendly features on the horizon

As this feature rolls out we will continue to update this post with how it looks, and more details on how to implement Messaging through one of the available partners.

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That’s it for this edition of Whitespark’s Local Mailbag, but if you have a local search question that you need help answering, leave it in the comments or email our team.

AUTHOR

Sydney Marchuk

Sydney is a GMB Services Account Manager who lives in a social media world. She graduated from NAIT with a diploma in Marketing and Advertising in 2017 but has been working in the industry since 2015. When she isn’t staying up-to-date with the latest social trends, you can find her scrolling through Twitter or checking out the most recent dystopian sci-fi series to hit Netflix.

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