Article | 6 min read

Google Business Messages: 3 best practices for customer service teams

Meet customers where they are and build stronger connections with them through Google Business Messages.

By Emily Miels, Contributing Writer

Last updated November 4, 2021

Messaging has surged in popularity and become a go-to channel for many consumers since the COVID-19 pandemic. It looks like the trend is here to stay – 74% of customers who messaged with companies in 2020 plan to continue doing so.

Research also shows that 76% of consumers like to buy products using chat or messaging, and 72% are more likely to make a purchase online if they can ask questions in real-time. Google’s Business Messages enables buyers to do both.

By using Business Messages, companies can improve their bottom line, build relationships with customers and provide superior support to those using Google devices and platforms.

What is Google Business Messages?

Business Messages is a mobile conversational channel that allows Android users to contact companies across various Google entry points, including Google Search and Google Maps. The platform’s rich features and easy accessibility empower businesses to offer quick, efficient and personalised customer service experiences.

Similar to other rich messaging channels, Google’s Business Messages offers advanced features like high-quality videos and images, carousels, suggested replies and location sharing. Customers can ask questions, get support, make purchases and more – all directly through the platform.

Why use Google Business Messages for customer service?

Use Business Messages alongside other messaging apps to connect with more customers on their preferred platform in a safe, convenient way.

Provide fast response times

Provide fast response times

According to the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report, long wait times are among the most frustrating aspects of bad customer service. Business Messages allows agents to deliver speedier service, reducing hold times. In fact, television and satellite provider DISH saw a reduction of more than 22% in average handle time using Google’s business chat features.

How? With Business Messages, customer service agents can resolve issues more quickly by juggling multiple asynchronous conversations at once. Companies can also set up AI-powered chatbots to send automatic responses 24/7 and resolve basic issues or answer common questions. This lessens the load on your customer service team and provides buyers with fast resolutions.

If the bot is unable to give customers what they need, it can simply transfer them (and all the relevant context) to a live agent. A chatbot can also send estimated wait times, helping to set clear expectations for customers and allowing them to plan accordingly.

Reach customers where they are

Reach customers where they are

The easier it is for people to message you on the channels they prefer, the more seamless their user experience will be. And with Google occupying over 92% of the search engine market share worldwide, it’s safe to say that many of your customers are using the platform.

Meet customers where they are, and you’ll likely experience a boost in customer satisfaction – Levi Strauss saw 85% CSAT scores with Google Business Messages.

“Business Messages creates a stronger customer expericne by enabling us to do a better job at ‘hearing’ shoppers, answering their questions, and uncovering new ways to delight Levi’s fans”, says Rico Arrastia, VP of Product Experience at Levi’s.

Engage customers with rich messaging

Engage customers

The channel’s rich features – such as image carousels, suggested replies and high-resolution videos – allow you to make messages visually appealing and engaging for customers. You can even leverage these advanced features to guide customers to the products they want or need.

Say you own a shoe company, and a customer sends you a message asking about boots. With traditional short message service (SMS) messaging, you can send a text about what brands you have available or send a URL to the boots on your website. But with Business Messages, you can send customers a handy product carousel showcasing all the boots you have available in the customer’s size or preferred brand. As the customer swipes through the options, they can click on an image to learn more and buy their favourite pair – without having to click on a separate URL.

Many customers send messages to inquire about products – according to Levi’s, 31% of its Google business chat conversations are product-related. The rich messaging features provide added convenience and minimise unnecessary friction on the path to purchase.

Use Google’s messaging platform to showcase products and services, share information, and answer questions in a more personalised and captivating format.

Keep conversations secure

Keep conversations secure

Customers may feel uneasy when reaching out to a business. Sometimes it’s difficult to verify whether they’re messaging the right brand or whether their information will be protected.

To help ease concerns, Google’s Business Messages has ample security and privacy measures in place. Companies can verify their profiles and brand messages with their distinct colours, fonts and logos. This provides instant recognition and a sense of legitimacy, helping to enhance conversations with customers, build trust and prevent scams.

Support agents can also use OAuth, an authentication protocol, to verify customers’ identities and provide personalised information in conversations on Business Messages. The secure back end delegation saves both customers and agents from having to share passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers and other sensitive information in the chat. This helps keep everyone safe during these messaging interactions.

3 best practices for using Google Business Messages

Take advantage of the rich features and prioritise speed and security to see more engagement and success with Business Messages.

  1. Reply within 24 hours

    According to Google, quick responses “promote trust and encourage engagement with your business”.

    Bots are great for quick replies, but sometimes messages must escalate to a live agent. Whenever customer service agents need to get involved, they should reply to the customer’s enquiry within 24 hours with an update or a solution.

    Per Google’s guidelines for Business Messages, the platform may even deactivate the chat if you don’t respond within the appropriate time frame.

  2. Never ask for personal information via chat

    Avoid asking customers for sensitive information – like credit card numbers, social security numbers and passwords – over Google Business Messages. Keeping those details off the record improves safety during any messaging interaction.

    Instead, opt for secure back-end delegation (like OAuth, which we mentioned earlier) so agents can access the information they need while keeping it encrypted and secure.

    Make it clear to customers that it’s your policy to never directly ask for such private information. That way, they’ll be more likely to spot a suspicious interaction if one occurs.

  3. Incorporate Business Messages into a larger messaging strategy

    Google’s business chat is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Rather, it’s a piece of the customer service puzzle.

    Use Business Messages alongside other messaging channels – such as Apple Business Chat, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp – so customers can connect with your company on the platforms they know and love. This helps you reach more buyers on the channel of their choice, which in turn increases satisfaction. In fact, the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report revealed that half of customers like contacting support on the channels they’re already using to communicate with their loved ones.

    Adding Business Messages to your arsenal also enables you to provide the type of modern, omnichannel experience consumers have come to expect while promoting an ongoing dialogue with your customers.

Start using Google Business Messages

It’s simple to get started with Business Messages. Work with a Google partner – like Zendesk – to register with Business Messages, enable the platform and optimise your programme. Take advantage of the various features to create connections that count and provide a top-notch support experience for customers.

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