Messaging platforms have surged in popularity and become a go-to channel for many consumers since the COVID-19 pandemic. A Quiq study shows that 76 percent of consumers like to buy products using chat or messaging, and 72 percent are more likely to make a purchase online if they can ask questions in real-time.
Google’s Business Messages enables buyers to do both.
By using Business Messages, companies can build relationships with customers and provide superior support to those using Google devices and platforms.
What is Google Business Messages?
Business Messages is a mobile conversational channel that allows Android users to contact companies across various Google entry points, including Google Search and Google Maps. The platform’s rich features and easy accessibility empower businesses to offer quick, efficient, and personalized customer service experiences.
Similar to other rich messaging channels, Google’s Business Messages offers advanced features like high-quality videos and images, carousels, suggested replies, and location sharing. Customers can ask questions, get support, make purchases, and more—all directly through the platform.
How does Google business messaging work?
Business Messages works similarly to other chat tools. You sign up on the website, collect a unique snippet of code, and place it on your website. Then, you can log on to the portal and gain access to administrative tools and chat data. You can set up agents, customize the chat window, define the rules for proactive chat, enable chatbots, and more. The chat window goes live on your website once the account is set up. The only difference between a regular chat tool and Google’s Business Messages is that the latter goes live on your Google business profile.
To get started with Google business messaging:
- Go to the Business Messages page.
- Click on the “Go to console” button, and create a partner account for “Business Messages.” You can set up SMS, calls, and rich media features from the same page.
- From the console, you can add agents and build automated messaging and chat routing.
Once you enable chat, a chat button will appear on your business profile, and consumers will be able to talk to you directly from SERPs and Google Maps.
Why use Google Business Messages for customer service?
Use Business Messages alongside other messaging apps to connect with customers on their preferred platform in a safe, convenient way.
Provide fast response times
Business Messages allows agents to deliver speedy service, reducing hold times. Television and satellite provider DISH saw a reduction of more than 22 percent in average handle time using Google’s business chat features.
Why? Because customer service agents can juggle multiple asynchronous conversations at once with Business Messages. Companies can also set up AI-powered chatbots with Business Messages to send automatic responses 24/7 and resolve basic issues or answer common questions. These features lessen the load on your customer service team and provide buyers with fast resolutions.
If the bot is unable to give customers what they need, it can simply transfer them (and all the relevant context) to a live agent. A chatbot can also send estimated wait times, setting clear expectations for customers.
Reach customers where they are
The easier it is for people to message you on the channels they prefer, the more seamless their user experience will be. And with Google occupying about 92 percent of the search engine market share worldwide, it’s safe to say that many of your customers are using the platform.
Meet customers where they are, and you’ll likely experience a boost in customer satisfaction—Levi Strauss saw 85-percent CSAT scores with Google Business Messages.
“Business Messages creates a stronger customer experience by enabling us to do a better job at ‘hearing’ shoppers, answering their questions, and uncovering new ways to delight Levi’s fans,” says Rico Arrastia, VP of product experience at Levi’s.
Engage customers with rich messaging
The channel’s rich features—such as image carousels, suggested replies, and high-resolution videos—allow you to make messages visually appealing and engaging for customers. You can even leverage these advanced features to guide shoppers to the products they want or need.
Say you own a shoe company, and a customer sends you a message asking about boots. With traditional short message service (SMS) messaging, you can send a text about the brands you have available or send a URL to the boots on your website.
With Business Messages, you can send customers a handy product carousel showcasing all the boots you have available in the customer’s size or preferred brand. As the customer swipes through the options, they can click on an image to learn more and buy their favorite pair—without having to click on a separate URL.
Many customers send messages to inquire about products. According to Levi’s, 31 percent of its Google business chat conversations are product-related. The rich messaging features provide added convenience and minimize unnecessary friction on the path to purchase—especially because images tend to boost conversions. An A/B test conducted by Optimics showed that large product images can increase sales by 9 percent.
Use the rich features of Google’s messaging platform to showcase products and services, share information, and answer questions in a more personalized and captivating format.
Keep conversations secure
Customers may feel uneasy when reaching out to a business. Sometimes, it’s difficult to verify whether they’re messaging the right brand or if their information will be secure.
To help ease concerns, Google’s Business Messages has ample security and privacy measures in place. Companies can verify their profiles and brand messages with their distinct colors, fonts, and logos. This customization provides instant recognition and a sense of legitimacy, helping to build trust and prevent scams.
Support agents can also use OAuth, an authentication protocol, to verify customers’ identities and provide personalized information in conversations on Business Messages. The secure back-end delegation saves both customers and agents from having to share passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, and other sensitive information in the chat.
6 best practices for using Google business messaging
Make the most of Business Messages’ rich features with these six tips.
Reply within 24 hours
Bots are great for quick replies, but sometimes, messages must escalate to a live agent. Whenever customer service agents need to get involved, they should reply to the customer’s inquiry within 24 hours with an update or a solution.
According to Google, quick responses “promote trust and encourage engagement with your business.” Per Google’s guidelines for Business Messages, the platform may deactivate the chat if you don’t respond within 24 hours.
Think of a user at the buying stage. They’ve searched the Internet for a product they want to buy, explored many different options, and narrowed their search down to you and a competitor. But before they buy, they have a question about the product. They send you and the competitor the same message and wait for a reply. In this scenario, the one who responds first has a better chance of winning the purchase. If you don’t reply at all but the competitor does, you’re out of the running. So, reply quickly to engage your prospects and turn them into customers.
Never ask for personal information via chat
Avoid asking customers for sensitive information—like credit card numbers, social security numbers, and passwords—over Business Messages. Keeping those details off the record improves safety during any messaging interaction.
Instead, opt for secure back-end delegation (like OAuth, which we mentioned earlier), so agents can access the information they need while keeping it encrypted and secure.
Make it clear to customers that it’s your policy to never directly ask for private information. You can set up your chatbot to deliver this message at the beginning of the conversation, immediately after your welcome message. That way, they’ll be more likely to spot a suspicious interaction if one occurs.
Monitor the quality of conversations
The conversations you have with prospects and customers via Business Messages affect your brand’s image, so you want to make sure you’re delivering a top-notch messaging experience. Identify opportunities for improvement by measuring the quality of your conversations with metrics such as chat-to-lead ratio, average chat duration, wait time, and CSAT scores.
In many cases, Google’s Business Messages will be the first point of contact for the prospect, even before they visit your website. A smooth process here will help move them further down the sales funnel. You can set up a short survey for customers to rate the chat agent on a scale of one to five after the conversation. You can also set up goals in Google Analytics to measure the conversion rate of your business messages.
Train your agents to use positive language
Encourage agents to use “I” instead of “we” when referring to themselves in messaging conversations. According to a study published in the Journal of Marketing Research, agents that use “I” when communicating with customers are more successful in all their interactions. The simple switch makes consumers feel like they’re talking to a human being (not just a brand).
As with any support interaction, agents should stay positive as much as possible. Ask them to focus on what can be done on Google Business Messages. For example, “I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for three hours” can be rephrased as, “We’re on it and will solve the issue by 4 p.m.”
These language shifts may seem small, but they go a long way toward ensuring the customer feels valued. And as Maya Angelou said: “People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Give customers something of value
Consumers explore multiple websites throughout the day and check out many products. So unless you have a well-known brand, potential buyers may forget about your company after a Business Messages chat.
To help people remember you, send them something engaging through Google business messaging—like a carousel of product images, a catalog, or an infographic. You can also share links to product videos and blogs leading back to your website.
Sending the right marketing assets at the right stage of the customer journey can help convert prospects. For example, you may win over an undecided prospect by sharing case studies or testimonials that describe how your products or services helped customers reach their goals.
Incorporate Business Messages into a larger messaging strategy
Doing so helps you reach more buyers on the channel of their choice, which in turn increases satisfaction. It can even boost your bottom line: The Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2022 revealed that 91 percent of customers will spend more with companies that use their preferred method of communication.
Adding Business Messages to your arsenal also enables you to provide the type of modern, omnichannel experience consumers have come to expect while promoting an ongoing dialogue with your customers.
Start using Google Business Chat
It’s simple to get started with Business Messages. Work with a Google partner—like Zendesk—to register with Business Messages, enable the platform, and optimize your program. Take advantage of the messaging tool’s various features to create connections that count and provide a top-notch support experience for customers.