Google will enable more businesses to facilitate direct messaging, Today we’re expanding Business Messages in Maps and Search to support all kinds of businesses, and giving them the ability to integrate Business Messages directly
People develop loyalty to the brands that make it easy to purchase products and services and connect with their customer support. Google has built digital tools to help brands do this, including the ability to message customers through Google Maps and Search, via Google My Business. Messaging has become such a valuable way to connect with customers that twice as many businesses are messaging via Google now, compared to last year.
Today we’re expanding Business Messages in Maps and Search to support all kinds of businesses, and giving them the ability to integrate Business Messages directly with their customer service platforms. Business Messages provides brands a comprehensive messaging solution across Android devices, and through Maps on iOS. To improve connections with customers, we’ve recently introduced new smart replies, visual product carousels, and unique welcome messages. There’s also a smooth transition from automated replies to a customer service agent, so that it’s not disruptive when the customer messages a business.
Several organizations, including Woolworths, Walmart and MyGov were among the first to try the updated Business Messages experience to make customer care more effective and efficient, particularly during COVID-19. Woolworths, Australia’s largest supermarket, allows customers to search for products and see availability and aisle information at their local store, plus get details about hours and COVID-19 related updates to make shopping easier. In just a few messages, Walmart lets customers quickly find up-to-date information about store hours, pick-up and delivery options, precautions and more. And MyGov, with partner Amplify.ai, is providing help and answering live questions from Indian citizens about hours, COVID-19 helplines, and ways to volunteer and donate, for more than 11,000 food and night shelters across India.
A number of brands are using Business Messages to sell products and answer customer questions along the way. Mattress Firm, with messaging partner Podium, is successfully selling mattresses directly through Business Messages by sharing videos and product information, even while stores were closed due to COVID-19. DISH, with partner 7.ai, has seen a reduction of more than 22 percent in average handle time using Business Messages features compared to other messaging channels.
As brands connect with their customers via Business Messages, we’re experimenting with more ways for them to highlight this communications tool on Search. Business Messages will also be available on mobile websites so that a business can add the ability for customers to quickly “Message” right from their site and offer the same smart automated replies, paired with live agent connection.
Business Messages is currently available in English, with expanded coverage to other languages launching soon. Brands and messaging partners can sign up to access the Business Messages API and developer documentation. We also have partners ready to help brands optimize their messaging flow with engaged customers. Businesses can also still manage messaging through Google My Business.
Google said today that it was expanding the business categories that would have access to messaging. It was also adding product features: “smart replies, visual product carousels, and unique welcome messages.” Google says that messaging on its platform (Android and Maps for iOS) can also smoothly transition from automated replies to a live agent if needed.
Another key development, there are a large number of third party customer service/experience vendors that integrate with support Google business messaging, enabling the brand or retailer to manage that process entirely from inside its vendor platform. By contrast, SMBs are compelled to use the Google My Business app (rather than their own phone’s text capabilities). Partly as a consequence, messaging has been unevenly adopted by “local businesses.” (About 90% of GMB accounts qualify as SMBs.)