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Google Business Profile Updates: What the Removal of Chat and Call History Means for Your Business

Prepare for the removal of chat and call history from Google Business Profile on July 31, 2024. Learn how to adapt and keep customer interactions strong.

GoSite Team

Starting July 31, 2024, Google will remove the chat and call history features from Google Business Profile.

For many local service business owners, these tools have been vital for interacting with customers. This change might seem daunting, especially if you use your Google Business Profile as your main online presence. But don't worry—we're here to help you navigate these changes and keep your customer connections strong.

Read Google's full statement here.

In this blog, we'll explain what these updates mean for your business, how to prepare, and the best ways to maintain your online presence without these features.

Understanding Current Chat and Call History Features

google-business-messages-mobile-examplesImage Source: Google and Sprout Social

Currently, the chat and call history features in Google Business Profile offer significant benefits for local service businesses. Here's a breakdown of what these features do and how they help:

Chat Feature

The chat feature allows customers to message you directly from your Google Business Profile. This feature enables you to:

  • Answer Questions: Quickly respond to customer inquiries, helping them make informed decisions about your services.
  • Tell Your Story: Share details about your business, services, and values directly with customers.
  • Attract More Customers: Engage with potential customers in real-time, increasing the likelihood of converting inquiries into jobs.

When you turn on chat, customers see a "Chat" button on your profile. You get notifications for new messages, and you can customize an automated welcome message. Additionally, you can share photos and have multiple managers handle customer chats, ensuring prompt responses.

Call History Feature

The call history feature tracks calls made to your business through your Google Business Profile. This feature helps you:

  • Keep Records: Maintain a log of customer calls for reference and follow-up.
  • Measure Engagement: Track how many calls you receive from your profile, giving you insight into customer interest and engagement.
  • Improve Customer Service: Review call details to better understand customer needs and improve your responses.

These features have made it easier for small business owners to manage customer interactions and measure the effectiveness of their online presence. However, with the upcoming changes, it's essential to find alternative ways to maintain these benefits.

Details of the Upcoming Changes

Google has announced that beginning July 31, 2024, the chat and call history features will no longer be available in Google Business Profile. Here’s what you need to know about these changes:

Specific Changes

  • Chat Feature: The ability to send and receive messages through your Google Business Profile will be discontinued. Customers will no longer see the "Chat" button, and you won't be able to interact with them via this feature.
  • Call History: The log of customer calls made through your Google Business Profile will no longer be accessible. You won't be able to view or track call history details from your profile.

Timeline of the Phaseout Process

  • July 15, 2024: Customers will no longer be able to start new chat conversations with your business. Ongoing chat conversations will continue, but customers will be notified about the upcoming phaseout.
  • July 31, 2024: The chat feature will be removed entirely from Google Business Profile. At this point, you will no longer receive new chat messages, and the call history feature will also be discontinued.

Impact on Businesses

The removal of these features means that you will need to adjust how you interact with customers and track engagement:

  • Customer Interaction: Without the chat feature, customers will rely on other methods, such as phone calls, emails, or visiting your website, to contact you.
  • Engagement Metrics: You will need to find alternative ways to track and measure customer interactions, as call history will no longer be available through Google Business Profile.

While these changes may seem challenging, they also provide an opportunity to explore and implement new methods for maintaining strong customer relationships. In the next sections, we'll discuss practical steps you can take to prepare for these changes and continue engaging effectively with your customers.

What This Means for Your Business

The removal of the chat and call history features from Google Business Profile will undoubtedly change how you interact with your customers. Here’s what this means for your daily operations and some alternative ways to keep those customer connections strong:

Impact on Daily Operations

  • Customer Communication: Without the chat feature, customers will need to use other communication methods to reach you. This means more reliance on phone calls, emails, and possibly social media messaging.
  • Tracking Interactions: The loss of call history means you’ll need to find new ways to track and record customer interactions. This might involve using call tracking software or keeping a manual log of incoming calls.

Alternative Communication Methods

  • Phone and Email: Ensure your Google Business Profile is updated with your phone number and email address. Encourage customers to use these methods for inquiries and support.
  • Website Contact Forms: If you have a website, use contact forms to allow customers to easily send you messages. Make sure these forms are easy to find and simple to use.
  • Social Media: Leverage social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram for customer communication. These platforms have built-in messaging features that can serve as alternatives to the Google chat feature.
  • Third-Party Chat Services: Consider integrating a third-party chat service on your website. Services like LiveChat or Zendesk can provide real-time messaging capabilities similar to what Google offered.

Maintaining Customer Engagement

  • Regular Updates: Keep your Business Profile updated with your latest contact information, business hours, and any other relevant details. This ensures customers have all the necessary information to reach you.
  • Customer Reviews: Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on your Google Business Profile. Positive reviews can help build trust and attract new customers.
  • Clear Communication: Make sure your customers know the best ways to contact you. Update your automated messages and website to reflect the changes and guide customers to the new communication methods.

By proactively adapting to these changes, you can maintain strong customer relationships and continue to provide excellent service, even without the chat and call history features. Next, we'll discuss the steps you should take before July 31, 2024, to ensure a smooth transition.

Steps to Take Before July 31, 2024

As the phaseout date for the chat and call history features approaches, it's essential to take specific actions to ensure your business transitions smoothly. Here are the steps you should follow:

1. Download and Save Past Chat and Call History

Before the features are removed, make sure to download and save any important conversations and call logs:

  • Google Takeout: Use Google Takeout to export your chat and call history. This tool allows you to back up your data and keep records for future reference. You can access Google Takeout here.
  • Backup Records: Save the downloaded data securely on your computer or cloud storage. This ensures you have access to important customer interactions even after the features are removed.

2. Update Your Business Profile

Ensure your Google Business Profile is fully updated with all necessary contact information:

  • Phone Number: Make sure your phone number is visible and correct on your profile. This will be a primary contact method once chat is discontinued.
  • Email Address: Include a business email address where customers can reach you.
  • Website Link: If you have a website, ensure the link is updated and prominently displayed on your profile.

3. Communicate Changes to Customers

Inform your customers about the upcoming changes and guide them on how to contact you:

  • Automated Messages: Update your current chat’s automated welcome message to inform customers about the discontinuation and direct them to alternative contact methods.
  • Website Announcements: Place a notice on your website explaining the changes and providing updated contact information.
  • Social Media Updates: Use your social media channels to inform followers about the changes and how they can continue to reach you.

4. Explore Alternative Communication Channels

Identify and set up alternative ways for customers to communicate with you:

  • Third-Party Chat Services: Consider adding a chat feature to your website using services like GoSite will send website visitor conversations directly to your smartphone. GoSite chat also syncs with Facebook messages and Thumbtack messages.
  • Social Media Messaging: Encourage customers to use Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct, or other social media messaging services.
  • Contact Forms: Ensure your website has a simple, user-friendly contact form for customers to reach you.

Messenger 1Learn more about GoSite's Lead Generation Tools

5. Monitor Your Business Profile Performance

Even without chat and call history, you can still track your profile's performance:

  • Performance Metrics: Use Google’s performance metrics to monitor searches, profile views, direction requests, and other interactions. Learn how to access performance data here.
  • Regular Reviews: Regularly review your performance data to understand how customers are interacting with your profile and make necessary adjustments.

By taking these steps before July 31, 2024, you can ensure a smooth transition and continue to provide excellent service to your customers, even without the chat and call history features. In the next section, we’ll address some frequently asked questions to further help you navigate these changes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I turn on call history on Google Business?

Currently, call history is enabled through your Google Business Profile settings. However, since this feature will be removed on July 31, 2024, you won’t be able to turn it on or use it after that date. We recommend saving any existing call history data before the phaseout.

Why do Google Chat messages disappear?

Google Chat messages may disappear due to the automatic deletion settings or if the chat history is turned off. With the upcoming removal of the chat feature, all chat messages will no longer be accessible after July 31, 2024. Make sure to download and save important conversations before this date.

How do I enable the chat option in my Google Business Profile?

To enable chat, you would typically go to your Google Business Profile, navigate to the messaging section, and turn on the chat feature. However, since Google is phasing out this feature, you won’t be able to enable or use chat starting July 31, 2024.

How do I turn off chat history in Google Chat?

To turn off chat history in Google Chat, you would adjust the chat settings within your Google Business Profile. However, with the chat feature being discontinued on July 31, 2024, there will be no need to manage chat history settings.

Why did my chat history disappear?

Chat history might disappear if it was deleted or if the chat history settings were turned off. After July 31, 2024, all chat history will be permanently unavailable due to the removal of the chat feature. Be sure to download any important chat records before this date using Google Takeout.

Is Google Chat being discontinued?

Yes, the chat feature within Google Business Profile is being discontinued. Starting July 31, 2024, you will no longer be able to use chat to communicate with customers through your Google Business Profile. It's important to explore alternative communication methods to maintain customer interactions.

Conclusion: Monitoring Your Business Profile Performance

Even though Google is removing the chat and call history features, you can still track and monitor your Business Profile performance using other available metrics. Here’s how you can continue to keep an eye on how your business is performing online:

Performance Metrics You Can Track

  • Searches: See what queries people are using to find your business. This metric helps you understand what potential customers are looking for and how often your profile appears in search results.
  • Profile Views: Track the number of unique visitors to your Business Profile. This shows how often your business is being viewed by potential customers.
  • Direction Requests: Monitor how many times customers request directions to your business location. This can indicate the level of interest in visiting your physical location.
  • Calls: Count the number of clicks on the call button on your Business Profile. This helps you gauge how many potential customers are reaching out by phone.
  • Website Clicks: Track how many times visitors click on the link to your website from your Business Profile. This is useful for understanding how effective your profile is at driving traffic to your website.
  • Bookings: If you use a booking system integrated with your Google Business Profile, you can track the number of completed bookings. This is particularly useful for service-based businesses.

How to Access Performance Data

  1. Google Search and Maps: You can view performance data directly from your Business Profile on Google Search or Maps. Simply navigate to your profile and select the "Performance" option.
  2. Business Profile Manager: For managing multiple profiles, use the Business Profile Manager. This tool allows you to download performance reports in bulk, making it easier to compare data across multiple locations.
  3. Custom Reports: Set a date range for your reports to track performance over specific periods. This can help you identify trends and make informed decisions about your marketing efforts.

Tips for Using Performance Data

  • Regular Reviews: Make it a habit to review your performance data regularly. This helps you stay informed about how your business is doing and quickly identify any areas that need improvement.
  • Adjust Strategies: Use the insights gained from your performance data to adjust your marketing and customer engagement strategies. For example, if you notice a drop in calls, consider updating your profile or improving your customer service processes.
  • Compare Metrics: Look at different metrics together to get a comprehensive view of your profile’s performance. For example, compare website clicks and direction requests to see if online interest is translating into physical visits.

By actively monitoring your Business Profile performance, you can continue to make data-driven decisions that enhance your online presence and attract more customers, even without the chat and call history features.

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