What’s the Updated Google My Business Chat Feature, and How Should You Use It?

Posted by David Chism | Thu, Feb 25, 2021

 What’s the Updated Google My Business Chat Feature, and How Should You Use It?

Fol­low­ing a long over­due update, Google My Busi­ness has made their chat fea­ture user-friend­ly and prac­ti­cal. Make sure you aren’t miss­ing out!

Google is known for hav­ing a lot of beta prod­ucts! As one of the kings of the inter­webs, they can get away with this more than most soft­ware com­pa­nies. A cou­ple of years ago, Google began beta test­ing their own chat sys­tem with­in Google Maps (Google My Busi­ness). They real­ly didn’t pub­li­cize the new fea­ture — I think they just want­ed to see how con­sumers would use it.

How It Was Sup­posed To Work, and Why It Just Didn’t

At first, Google’s chat icon was ONLY avail­able on mobile, right next to the Direc­tions, Call, and Save area. 

When you tapped the Mes­sage icon, you’d be able to send a mes­sage to the com­pa­ny and ini­ti­ate a live chat” conversation. 

Sounds good, right? In the­o­ry, but this is where it all broke down. The way com­pa­nies had to man­age and respond to the mes­sages was painful. Since it was mobile-only, you had to use a third-par­ty plat­form, or use the Google My Busi­ness app, and some­times you’d get noti­fied by email too. Super clunky.

The Good News: A Major Update to GMB Chat Has Changed the Game

Google recent­ly made a major update, adding a way to read and respond to your GMB mes­sages direct­ly, and on a desk­top too (not just mobile)! 

This makes a world of dif­fer­ence for home improve­ment com­pa­nies. Watch­ing for chats using mobile devices only, while jug­gling third-par­ty apps, just wasn’t fea­si­ble for my clients, espe­cial­ly when many of the mes­sages came in after work hours. 

With the new desk­top capa­bil­i­ties, your office staff can leave a brows­er open with Google’s busi­ness mes­sen­ger — just like one could do with sim­i­lar mes­sage pro­grams like Yelp or Facebook.

What’s the Take­away for You and Your Team?

Peo­ple LOVE chat fea­tures, mak­ing it an easy, low-fric­tion way to engage with prospects. At the same time, peo­ple expect quick respons­es, and some­times at odd hours. 

Here’s my best advice:

  1. Decide just how will­ing you are to uti­lize this tool. You can’t be luke­warm; either you embrace it, or you don’t. Con­sis­ten­cy is key.
  2. Make a plan for who is respon­si­ble for mon­i­tor­ing and respond­ing, and when. 
  3. Some clients I work with offer a bonus for staff mem­bers who are will­ing to mon­i­tor the chat dur­ing off-hours. A lit­tle extra incen­tive nev­er hurts!
  4. You can out­source the chat man­age­ment to a team who will respond for you, much like a call center.

So, How Do You Jug­gle All of Your Chat Platforms?

Yelp, Face­book, email, text, Google My Busi­ness… They’re all beg­ging for atten­tion, and they each offer unique, spe­cif­ic benefits. 

One way to man­age them is to keep the apps open and the noti­fi­ca­tions turned on. Know who is respon­si­ble for respond­ing, and work the plan.

If you are look­ing for ways to stream­line the process, I have cus­tomers using a few dif­fer­ent prod­ucts that all come with dif­fer­ent price tags and fea­tures: *Podi­um, Textline, Broad­ly, LiveChat, & WhirLocal, to name a few. If you’d like to talk to me about these prod­ucts and/​or have a ques­tion about mes­sag­ing, please reach out. I’d be more than hap­py to dis­cuss a game plan for your team! 

*I am an affil­i­ate part­ner with Podi­um, Textline, Broad­ly and WhirLocal. I try to rec­om­mend the best prod­uct which is not always the same for each client.

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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