The End of Google’s Chat Feature

Google My Business Logo

Google is turning off the chat feature on all Google Profiles, is this going to effect you?

Google have recently announced the winding down of its chat feature in Google Business Profile, set to conclude on July 31, 2024. For businesses heavily reliant on quick communication channels like chat, this news may pose significant challenges.

Among those most affected are service-oriented businesses such as locksmiths, emergency plumbers, and emergency electricians which often field urgent inquiries from customers. As a local SEO Agency that manages 100’s of Google Profiles, we get to see every notification that chat messages create and for some businesses, they will certainly require an alternative communication method on the 31st of July.

Chatbot

Who Will Be Affected:

The discontinuation of Google’s chat feature will primarily impact businesses that rely on real-time communication for customer inquiries and service requests. These include but are not limited to:

  • Locksmiths
  • Emergency plumbers
  • Roadside recovery
  • Electricians
  • Vehicle repair garages
  • Medical clinics with urgent care services

For these businesses and for many more, the ability to respond promptly to customer queries can make all the difference in securing a job or losing it to a competitor or potentially their client being at risk.

How It Will Affect Them:

The removal of Google’s chat feature will pose several challenges for affected businesses:

  • Delayed Responses: Without the instant messaging capability provided by Google’s chat feature, businesses may experience delays in responding to customer inquiries, potentially leading to lost opportunities and dissatisfied customers.
  • Reduced Visibility: Businesses that previously leveraged the chat feature as a means of engaging with potential customers directly from their Google Business Profile may see a decline in visibility and engagement as a result of its removal.
  • Customer Expectations: In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, customers expect quick responses and seamless communication channels. Failure to meet these expectations could result in a loss of trust and credibility for businesses.

What Businesses Can Do to Adapt:

Despite the challenges posed by the discontinuation of Google’s chat feature, there are several steps businesses can take to adapt and mitigate its impact:

  • Emphasise Alternative Communication Channels: Encourage customers to reach out via phone calls or contact forms on your website as alternative means of communication. Clearly display your contact information on your Google Business Profile and website to facilitate easy access for customers.
  • Integrate Third-Party Chat Solutions: Explore third-party chat solutions that can be integrated into your website to provide real-time communication capabilities. Many WordPress plugins offer chat functionality that seamlessly integrates with your website, allowing you to maintain direct communication with customers.
Wordpress plugins

WordPress Plugins for Adding Chat Functionality:

For businesses looking to add chat functionality to their WordPress websites, here are some recommended plugins:

  • WP Live Chat Support: This plugin offers a fully customisable live chat solution that enables businesses to engage with website visitors in real-time. Features include proactive chat invitations, offline messages, and integration with popular CRM systems.
  • Tawk.to Live Chat: Tawk.to provides a free live chat application that allows businesses to monitor and chat with website visitors in real-time. The plugin offers unlimited agents, group messaging, and mobile apps for on-the-go communication.
  • Drift: Drift is a powerful conversational marketing platform that includes live chat functionality for WordPress websites. With Drift, businesses can engage with website visitors in real-time, capture leads, and provide personalised support. The plugin offers customisable chat widgets, chat routing based on visitor behaviour, and robust analytics to track chat performance. Additionally, Drift integrates with popular CRM and email marketing tools, making it a comprehensive solution for businesses looking to drive engagement and conversions through live chat.

Loosing Chat Can Improve Engagement!

While the discontinuation of Google’s chat feature presents challenges for businesses reliant on real-time communication, it also offers an opportunity to explore alternative channels and enhance customer engagement. By emphasising alternative communication methods and integrating third-party chat solutions into their websites, businesses can adapt to these changes and continue to thrive.

If you are in this sector and are concerned at the thought of loosing the chat facility, feel free to speak with one of our experienced account manager here at CTO Digital who will happily give you some advice and guidance on the best way to deal with this. 



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