Live chat for businesses isn’t a new idea. But it’s picking up speed faster than ever.
With the introduction of Live Chat for Google My Business, businesses will need to rapidly adapt to changing consumer behavior and technology if they wish to remain relevant within their industries.
Visibility, exposure, and access are key, and for a business, keeping pace with changing markets can be the difference between being at the top of your industry or out of it completely.
Today, consumers are seeking greater access to a business than ever before. And they want their needs and questions answered as quickly and conveniently as possible. No where is this shift in consumer behavior more evident than in the rise of mobile search and engagement--particularly in the realm of click-to-call action buttons in search listings.
Google knows this, and its capitalization on mobile expansion will ultimately push businesses who wish to remain competitive to adapt and grow.
So, What is Google My Business?
Google My Business (GMB) has been around since June 2014 as an interface add-on that allows a business to add relevant information about themselves: their name, photos, address, website, contact information, etc.
Enter: Live Chat for Google My Business.
Though the concept of a live chat function for business was tested by Google all the way back in February of 2015, the new introduction of Google’s live chat functionality for Google My Business means a dramatic shift in customer engagement and conversion.
Recently Google has changed this platform to reflect the consumer behavior of Millennials by including a live-chat function--a “Chat with Us” button—allowing internet users to text message a business directly after finding them via search.
Simply put, this level of access to a business from a search page is unprecedented.
How Does Live Chat for Google My Business Work?
The live chat function of GMB adds a messaging button to the menu of a GMB page. As the previous iteration of the GMB menu allowed visitors to call, map directions on their GPS, visit the company’s website, and share their business on social platforms and SMS messaging, the addition of the live chat function has taken the original model to the next level.
Helping to bridge the gap between information seeking and direct contact through text, the live chat feature gives you the opportunity to answer questions, communicate the story of your business, and convert visitors directly—ultimately bringing in more customers.
Though this iteration of Live chat for GMB is without question, a true innovation, the concept of a business-to-consumer live chat option within social media isn’t exclusive to Google. In fact, Facebook has been incorporating live chat functionality on their Facebook Instant Messenger business profiles since March 2015.
Here are a few facts from Facebook since starting its new messaging project:
- 2 billion messages are sent between people and businesses every month
- 53% of people are more likely to shop with a business they can message directly
- 56% of people would rather message than call customer service
As live chat undoubtedly opens up the communication channel between your business and potential customers, it also opens up a litany of opportunities to offer valuable customer service to prospective customers.
The Big Benefits of Live Chat for Business
We’ll start with the obvious: text-based communication is faster and more convenient. Millennials love convenience. Rather than calling (or worse, emailing), a live chat function allows a customer to speak with a representative of a business directly and have their questions answered within seconds rather than minutes. For a business, it also reduces phone calls - freeing up employee time. And perhaps most importantly, it cuts down the simple—and often repeated—questions such as “What time do you close?”
As Baby Boomers age and Millennials usurp their place as the dominant demographic, their buying power and consumer preference for text-based communication is rapidly creating an environment for business and technology to adapt in order to stay competitive.
Whether you use live chat in your daily life or not, the numbers speak for themselves in judging their efficacy:
- Live chat boasts the highest satisfaction rate among customers at 71%, compared to 61% for email and 44% for phone support.
- Live chat is the most preferred because of its instantaneous nature.
- Live chat has shown the ability to boost conversions by 20% and those who use it are 3x more like to make a purchase.
- 62% of online shoppers are more likely to complete a purchase if there’s a live chat option.
Got it. So, How Do I Join?
It’s pretty simple, actually. As of July 12th, the feature is available for 100% of all U.S. and Brazilian businesses.
- Sign into your Google My Business account and look for the “chat” card in the home menu. Be sure to provide a number that can receive texts and respond.
- Respond as quickly as possible (anything over a few minutes is a poor response time).
- Don’t take in sensitive and personal information (emails, payment information, log-ins, etc.).
Special Note- You can turn the chat function on and off, at any time, within your chat settings. So do so if you plan to be unresponsive after-hours. If you cannot give the proper attention to this feature, it may be wise to ignore it outright rather than risk hurting your brand and business.
What This Means for the Future of Your Business
Increasing your contact with potential customers is always a good thing, particularly as it increases your opportunity for conversion. As technology continues to move forward in the direction of speed and convenience, so too will innovation continue its pace in order to keep up. For the future of your business, it’s best to see and understand shifting demographics (for example, the rise of Millennials) and adapt your business and marketing strategy to match it.
GMB’s live chat function is an amazing tool for your business’s perception and growth--particularly in its ability to engage potential customers before they even visit your site. However, if improperly managed or neglected, the result could be harmful to your business. To utilize this tool properly, giving it the proper attention is not only critical, but also vital for your business in this shifting, millennial-driven landscape.
Regardless of how challenging it may be to keep pace with new technology, if your business wants to continue to be competitive, Live Chat for GMB is a tool you’ll inevitably have to adopt.
At Scorpion, we understand what lies ahead in the field of marketing, the best practices, and the small adjustments necessary to help your business thrive among changing consumer behavior.
Contact us today to find out how we can help your business get started in Live Chat for Google My Business and other key marketing trends shaping your industry.