Heads up, businesses! Chatting with customers on Google Business Profile is coming to an end.

The search engine giant has announced that it will be discontinuing the chat and call history features in its Google Business Profile starting July 31, 2024. The update will affect how customers can interact with your business through the platform. 

Here’s what Google said in its email to businesses:

“We are reaching out to share that we will be winding down Google's chat and call history features in Google Business Profile on July 31, 2024. We acknowledge this may be difficult news – as we continually improve our tools, we occasionally have to make difficult decisions which may impact the businesses and partners we work with. It's important to us that Google remains a helpful partner as you manage your business and we remain committed to this mission.”

The key changes

According to Google, from July 15, 2024, customers will no longer be able to start new chat conversations with businesses through Google Business Profile. While customers in existing chat conversations will be notified that chat will be phased out, the feature will be completely removed by July 31, 2024.

Alongside this, businesses will also lose access to their Google Business Profile call history.

What this means for your business

If your business heavily relies on Google Business Profile chat and call history for customer communication, the recent changes might raise concerns. But fear not! While chat and call history features are being phased out, customers won’t be left in the dark. They can still find and contact your business via Google Search and Maps.

Your business profile will continue to showcase essential information—website links, descriptions, photos, and more—helping customers learn more about your brand. Plus, you’ll retain the ability to receive calls and track engagement metrics, like web traffic and direction requests.

Timeline of Google removing chat and call history features from Google Business Profile.

Remember, convenient communication channels matter. According to a Forrester study commissioned by Google, 68% of people are more likely to buy from a business that offers seamless interactions. Therefore, Google’s latest approach signals a shift in shaping the future of business interactions on its platform.

Why is Google removing chat and call history in Google Business Profile?

While the specific reasons behind Google’s decision are still undisclosed, it’s possible they might be streamlining communication methods or focusing on enhancing core Google Business Profile features.

Google’s move could also be driven by other possible reasons, such as integration of these functionalities with third-party apps for a more streamlined experience or complex data privacy and security considerations. 

Whatever the reasons, the update will likely influence businesses to pivot their communication strategies to maintain strong customer engagement. So, let’s take a look at what you need to do next to adapt to the changes.

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What you can do to prepare

With the Google Business Profile chat and call history features ending, here’s what you can do to prepare for a smooth transition and ensure continued communication with your customers:

1. Download your chat and call history (if needed)

If you’d like to keep a record of past conversations and call history, you can download them via Google Takeout until August 30, 2024.

2. Consider alternative communication channels

If you currently rely on chat conversations with customers, think about offering alternative ways for them to reach you. Here are a few options to explore:

  • Prominently display your phone number and email address on your Google Business Profile and encourage customers to use those methods.
  • Integrate live chat software on your website. Use Birdeye’s comprehensive webchat solution, which integrates directly with your website and allows for real-time communication with customers.
  • Consider social media messaging features. If your business has a strong social media presence, utilizing direct messaging features on platforms like Facebook or Instagram can be another way to connect with customers.

3. Invite customers to alternative chat channels

Consider asking your customers to switch to different chat channels if they’re already in a conversation with you.

The bottom line

Although the chat and call history features will disappear from Google Business Profile, there are still plenty of ways available for customers to find and interact with your business. By taking some proactive steps and exploring alternative communication channels, you can ensure a seamless transition for both you and your customers.

Birdeye: Your partner in customer interaction

Amidst these changes, Birdeye steps up to offer advanced solutions to help you maintain and enhance customer interactions. Here are a few ways Birdeye can help:

  • Webchat integration: You can seamlessly connect with customers using Birdeye’s webchat solution, which offers real-time communication on your website, ensuring instant support and effective engagement.
  • Unified messaging platform: Birdeye Messaging consolidates messages from various channels, such as SMS, email, and social media, into a single inbox, streamlining customer interactions.
  • Automated responses: Utilize Birdeye’s automated responses feature to engage with customers promptly, ensuring no inquiries go unanswered, even outside business hours.
  • Customer experience management: Birdeye helps you gather and analyze feedback to enhance services and boost customer satisfaction.

Ready to take your customer engagement strategy to the next level with Birdeye’s comprehensive suite of tools? Sign up for a free demo of Birdeye today.

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