A recent survey found when it comes to communicating with a merchant, 75 percent of consumers prefer private messaging over traditional channels, according to Conversocial, the New York provider of customer service software.
Text messaging has become such a valuable way to connect with customers, Google said twice as many businesses use it in Google now, compared to last year.
In response, the Menlo Park, California multinational technology company has expanded Business Messages in Maps and Search to support businesses. It gives them the ability to integrate Business Messages with their customer service platforms across Android devices, and through Maps on iOS, according to Google’s blog.
Woolworths, Walmart and MyGov were among the first to try the updated Business Messages experience to improve customer care, particularly during COVID-19, Google wrote.
Walmart gives customers access to information on store hours, pickup and delivery options, precautions and more.
Woolworths, Australia’s largest supermarket, provides a way for shoppers to search for products, see availability and even the aisle where it’s located. In addition, consumers can get details about store hours and COVID-19 related updates.
MyGov, the engagement platform founded by India’s government to promote citizen participation in the nation’s governance and development, partnered with Amplify.ai, a California developer of conversational artificial intelligence, to answer questions live from Indian residents about COVID-19 and ways to donate to the more than 11,000 shelters across India.
Other brands use Business Messages to sell products and answer customer questions, Google wrote.
Mattress Firm and messaging partner Podium are selling mattresses through Business Messages by sharing videos and product information, even as stores were closed due to the coronavirus.
“As brands connect with their customers via Business Messages, we’re experimenting with more ways for them to highlight this communications tool on Search,” Google wrote. “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.”
Last week, Google touted square-shaped “Promoted” pins on Google Maps, to help businesses sell their goods and services denoting small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
In April, Google Maps began to spotlight local restaurants open for pickup and delivery. Its Shortcut buttons were added to make it easier for customers to get information on where to get food, similar to shortcuts for gas stations, coffee shops and other places.