Google recently announced the ability for local businesses, and their customers, to message from Google Maps. As hold music, voicemails and robo-calls become increasingly inconvenient and unprofitable for business owners, Google is making it easier to connect in real-time with real people.
The new functionality was tested privately for more than a year and is now being rolled out broadly to local businesses and their customers.
Presently, you can message businesses from Google My Business profiles which appear in Search on mobile devices. But the functionality is limited to certain businesses and requires you to go back and forth between apps.
For example, on Android devices, the conversation opens in a native messaging app, like Allo. On iOS devices, the conversation happening through iMessage.
After the new messaging feature is fully rolled out, you’ll be able to start conversations within the Google Maps app on both Android and iOS. You’ll still be able to message a business from their profile in Search, but conversations started outside of the Google Maps app will redirect to iMessage or Allo, rather than living within the app. Once live, you’ll see a “Messages” menu item added to the left-hand side navigation within your Google Maps app.
Over the next year, Google will require local businesses already receiving messages through SMS to transition to the new Google My Business app or to receive them through an integrated partner, like Podium.
If your business isn’t currently using messaging, or you’re unsure, you can enable messaging from your GMB profile or app.
Google’s update to Maps doesn’t just make it easier to talk to your florist—it’s part of a broader shift in consumer technology.
In an era of 1-click shopping and 2-day shipping, customers demand convenience. According to our Customer Loyalty Survey, 48% of customers expect a business to respond within minutes—not hours.
In response to changing consumer expectations, Google has updated Google My Business, introduced Local Services ads, and announced Messaging in Google Maps. With each update, Google has improved the customer experience and made it easier for potential customers to find and connect with your business.
Google isn’t the only tech company seeking to connect customers directly with local businesses. Facebook and Apple are also pushing chat-based communication tools through Messenger and Business Chat respectively.For local business owners, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by new tools and changing technology. Although the tools and technology might change, one thing remains the same—convenience wins. Podium Messaging Platform connects Google My Business, Facebook Messenger and more to a single inbox. So you stay connected to your customers, on whatever platform (or device) they choose.