When you think about how life has changed over the years and how technology has advanced, what word comes to you?
Here’s what comes to my mind.
Now. Immediate. Instant. Everything must happen RIGHT THIS SECOND. Remember when patience was one of the seven virtues?!
Have you heard Louis CK talk about the speed of wi-fi?
“This is what people are like these days. They got their phone and they’re like, ‘Ugh, it won’t….’
And I’m like, “Give it a second. It’s going to SPACE. Can you give it a second to get back from SPACE?!”
Always one to keep up with the latest and greatest, Google has jumped into the “Instant Messaging” service for businesses, which means that your customers can contact you RIGHT NOW.
Recently, our family watched Apollo 13 and my husband made the comment that today’s smartphones are more intelligent than the huge computers Nasa used to guide astronauts from Earth to the Moon and back again. Unless of course, you subscribe to the moon landing conspiracy theory; which, come to think of it, actually seems plausible considering that these computers were no more powerful than a pocket calculator. If you haven’t seen this comedy sketch about this theory by Ali G (a satirical fictional character created and performed by English comedian Sacha Baron Cohen), it’s pretty funny. Buzz Aldrin is a really, really good sport!
But I digress. Remember when computer monitors looked like this?
And cell phones looked like this?
We’ve come a long way, baby!
Because we now live in an age where consumers have so many choices available to them, the marketplace has never been so competitive. Customers have come to expect a myriad of options when it comes to communicating with a company.
In today’s world, people want their questions answered and they want them answered now. Companies that recognize this new reality understand how important it is to offer their customers a variety of channels; not just the channels that are easier for the brand to manage.
An article in Customer Relationship Magazine (Spring 2016) stated that "64% of consumers with texting capabilities would prefer using texting to voice as a customer service channel." If you had asked consumers who are introverts, I'm certain that the percentage would have been 100%. Who wants to talk to people, anyway?
Limiting customers to phone calls and emails is so 2016. With a just a few steps, customers will be able to text your business, thus ensuring an excellent customer experience. We’ll help you get with the program!
Here’s what Google has to say about it:
Let customers message you
Chatting with customers is a new Google My Business feature that’s currently available in select countries.
Google My Business allows you to chat directly with customers who find your business listing on Google Search. Responding to customers can help you answer their questions, tell your business’s story, and attract more people to your location.
Here are the steps you’ll need to take to start getting text messages directly from your Google page.
- To turn on messaging with customers, sign in to Google My Business and look for the "Chat" card in the Home menu.
- Make sure that you provide a cell phone number that can receive SMS messages and will be readily accessible for responding to customers.
The good news is that Google My Business messaging protects your cell phone number. When a potential customer messages you, the system displays another number entirely. You don't have to worry that random strangers will have your personal phone number, if this is the phone you are using to set up Google My Business.
- After you have verified the number, you can set up an autoreply to customers who use the messaging feature:
- Voila! You will now see the option to message on your Google Business page.
Some other tips from Google include:
- Be responsive
Customers rely on your prompt replies—people don’t want to wait a long time for a response to their questions. During your listed business hours, respond as quickly as possible to messages from customers. When customers message you, they’ll see your average response time. (You can see this time on the “Chat” card in the Home menu.)
- Avoid sensitive content
Make sure that you don’t provide or request sensitive information during a chat with customers. Sensitive information includes, but is not limited to:
1. Credit card numbers
2. Social Security or other government identification numbers
3. Login credentials, like passwords
- Use Allo
You can also use Google Allo, rather than SMS, to respond to messages. To start using Allo:
1. Download Google Allo from the Android Play Store or iOS App Store
2. Register Allo with the same number you used to sign up for messaging on Google My Business
3. Messages will start to appear on Google Allo instead of SMS.
- Turn off messaging (You can turn on messaging again at any time)
1. Sign in to Google My Business.
2. Find the “Chat” card in the Home menu.
3. Click Opt out.
4. Click Turn off.
As always, Google offers a list of Chat Policies that you will want to read through before embarking on this brave new venture.
Of course it’s up to you whether or not you want to set messaging up on your Google Business page. It seems to be the way of the future and we think that an additional form of communication could be a really big asset to your company. Hey - that new person that you just hired might be just the right person to handle this new communication tool!
What’s next? Telepathic communication? Whatever the next great technological advancement is, you can count on WebPunch to keep you in the loop. And in the words of Neil Armstrong, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
Karin Siccardi is a Reputation Defender, Blogger, and Proofreader/Editor at WebPunch. Originally from Oregon, she migrated to Tennessee where she lives with her husband, four children, and the family dog who lounges at her feet as she enjoys the luxury of working from her home office. An avid reader, she enjoys all wordy things as well as coffee, chocolate, and wine.