When it comes to dealing with customers, speed is crucial. It’s why marketing experts, like us at Verti Group International a.k.a. SEO Seattle®, encourage you to have social channels so that your customers can send you a message whenever they like.
Increasingly, customers don’t even want to pick up the phone to talk. They’d rather use social media or instant messaging services.
Now there is another way for customers to contact your business: through text message. That’s right, as of today, July 17th, customers can now contact you directly via your business’s Google Local panel.
But only if you have it enabled.
Here’s how it works
Google has been testing this update since last November and it is one we have been expecting for a little while. Google has now confirmed that it is rolling out the feature to businesses in the US and we can help you get set up with it today.
The feature is relatively straightforward to set up. We will be able to complete this for you or you can implement this feature yourself. You can find a breakdown of the steps in this article.
This is what your Google My Business listing will look like if you enable messages.
As you can see, there is a clear Call To Action at the bottom of the listing that says that your business is available to message. It also shows the average response time.
As a result, we recommend that if you are going to implement this feature that you respond quickly or you let us respond quickly on your behalf.
You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers
Q: Should I be worried about spam?
A: Spam is a genuine concern. But we don’t think business owners have to worry too much. Don’t forget, Google has been testing this feature since last November. Spam messages would have been at the forefront of their mind and we think they will have taken the necessary steps to limit or eliminate spam messages.
Q: When do I need to enable the feature?
A: Today, tomorrow, or never. The choice of enabling the feature is completely up to you. If you don’t want your customers to be able to text you, you don’t have to let them.
Q: What if customers contact me in the middle of the night or after hours?
A: This could happen. Although the message button is displayed close to the opening hours of your business (which will show the word ‘closed’ in red when you aren’t open) some customers may still try to message you. What you can do, however, is to set up an automatic reply within Google that sends a message instantly to customers. You can then respond to them in the morning.
Start letting customers message you today
We urge our clients and our readers not to let this opportunity pass. This is an excellent way for potential customers to get in touch with your business. Any lead, even a text message, is better than no lead at all. For more advice on the feature or for help implementing it, contact us today.