If you have a Google My Business profile, then Google's got news for you: pretty soon, your prospective customers will be able to message you directly from your Google business page.

Very soon, potential customers will be able to directly message your auto shop through your Google My Business Profile, which is what shows up in Google Maps when people conduct local searches.

This function has been around for some businesses and requires clunky movement between apps, especially for Android users. What’s coming will provide anyone the ability to message a business from Google Maps right then and there, whether on desktop or mobile device.

Currently, when someone needs an oil change, for example, and is asking Google via voice search or typing in “oil change near me” in the Google search bar, Google Maps will populate a map for them with all the relevant oil change shops in a small radius focused on their physical location.

When a customer spots a business that appeals to them — and it will likely be one that has the stronger of the Google review ratings — that person can currently view the shop’s Google My Business profile and decide from the information presented there (hours, services or amenities like free Wi-Fi) if that business is his or her next stop for car maintenance.

Benefits of the New Google Maps Messaging Feature

Soon, Google will allow this person to message the business directly. So instead of calling the shop to ask if things are busy and if it’s a good time to bring in their car for an oil change, Joe Public will likely choose the message option, which is way more convenient than picking up the phone to call.

Yes, we realize that Google is adding to your plate by allowing this function. Businesses will essentially become on-demand on Google. But think about how many more customers you can help and at volume because they won’t have to call or email to ask questions! You can type out messages much faster than you can answer phone calls.

Not only will you be able to answer more questions more quickly, but you’ll show your local customer base that you’re active online and ready to respond to their needs.

According to a recent Customer Loyalty Survey by Podium, a company we partner with to improve our clients’ customer interactions on Google, 48% of customers expect a business to respond within minutes—not hours.

How To Prepare for The Google Maps Messaging Roll-Out

Depending on how much time you spend in front of a computer versus being accessible on your mobile device, we strongly advise that you download the Google My Business app. This will allow you to respond to messages from hot leads wherever, whenever you can, thus upping your reliability as a business that will get back with people in a timely manner. In today’s technological environment, reliability and trust matter big- time.

Prep Your Google My Business Profile

If you’ve not optimized your Google My Business profile — that is, update hours, services, amenities or other info that customers want to know about — now is the time to straighten that out. Not only does it help customers see what you offer, but it helps Google know which local search results to serve you up in.

Manage your Google My Business Reviews

If you haven’t been responding to your Google My Business reviews, you’ll want to consider implementing a reviews strategy now. This was a relevant action item before this new messaging feature came into play, but it’s burning hotter now that people will be interacting with you on Google more.

They were already reading your reviews and seeing if you’ve cared enough to respond to what your customers have to say. Your Google presence will look mismanaged and uncaring if you respond to messages but don’t take the time to acknowledge what your paying customers say about you.

Want to generate more reviews on your Google My Business profile? If you have less than 10 reviews, reach out to us!