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In the business world, where customer engagement is so important, Google’s decision to phase out the “Chat” and “Call History” features in Google Business Profile (GBP) has left some entrepreneurs reeling.

These features have been key for many local businesses when it comes to maintaining effective communication with customers. Let’s take a closer look at what’s changing, when it’s going to happen, and some ways to prepare.


Phasing Out Features

Effective July 31, 2024, Google will no longer support the Chat and Call History features within the Google Business Profile framework.

Chat: With the chat feature, people who visit your GBP page can click the “chat” button and message your business at any time with questions, concerns, etc. You would then receive notifications for any messages that show up in your business profile. It’s a convenient way for customers to interact with your company outside of regular business hours.

Call History: The call history feature logs calls made through GBP, giving businesses a record of all incoming and outgoing communications. It automatically records details like call duration, time, and the caller’s phone number. This helps business owners track customer interactions and follow up as needed.


Important Dates to Remember

To ease the transition a bit, these features will be phased out in stages.

July 15, 2024: Businesses will no longer be able to start any new chats within GBP. However, ongoing conversations can continue – though they will include an automated notification informing users about the upcoming changes.

July 31, 2024: This is the final day for both the Chat and Call History features. After this date, businesses and customers will no longer have access to either of these features through GBP.


Next Steps for Your Business

As the discontinuation looms for these features, there are some things you can do to prepare.

Download Your Data: Before they end, you can download all your Chat and Call History data. This information will help you maintain a record of your business communications, and it can serve as a valuable reference for future interactions.

Inform Your Customers: Transparency is key. Communicate with your customers about these upcoming changes, and provide any alternative methods they can use to contact you. This could be through social media, email, or direct phone lines.

Explore Alternative Platforms: Look into other options that offer similar customer interaction and tracking features, like professional reputation management services, or putting a chat service on your website.


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Other Ways to Maintain Effective Customer Communication

Maintaining effective communication with customers is crucial for the success of local businesses. By keeping customers informed about new products, services, promotions, you can keep your clientele informed and engaged.

Though things may change – and features like Chat and Call History go away – you still want to keep the line to your customers open.

Social Media: Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and X (formerly Twitter) are excellent for real-time communication with customers. Make sure your business profiles are active and responsive to customer questions.

Email Marketing: Email remains a powerful tool for customer engagement. Regular newsletters, promotional offers, and updates can keep customers informed and engaged with your brand.

Reputation Management: Reputation management plays a pivotal role in how businesses communicate with their customers. By actively managing your business’s reputation, you can ensure that the narrative surrounding your brand remains positive and authentic. This involves monitoring customer reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and social media, and responding to feedback in a timely and professional manner.


Keeping the Lines Open

While the end of Google’s Chat and Call History marks a significant change, it’s also an opportunity to explore new ways to engage with your customers. By doing so, you can ensure that your brand continues to provide excellent customer service.

For local business owners, keeping in touch with your customers is important, but it can also be time-consuming and difficult to add on top of running your company.

That’s why Smart Link Solutions offers comprehensive social media and reputation management services. We can plan, execute, and monitor your brand’s online presence with efficiency.

For more information, contact Smart Link Solutions today!


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