Recently, we learned that Google My Business will be introducing a call logging feature for business owners to see customer calls set off by search results. While we haven’t heard more about this since the first week of October, it looks like the search engine giant will be making further developments on this module.
But what does it do exactly?
Google My Business will not record calls
Let’s rule out the ‘don’ts’ here first. Google My Business is not in the… business… of recording calls or making transcripts. They also won’t track texts.
What we’re expecting this call logging module to do is to work like any other regular phone – it gives you a history of customers who have called you using the GMB listing on the Knowledge Graph.
Keep track of phone calls
Its original intention is to keep track of phone calls from customers who find you on Search and Maps. This will help you respond to missed calls, further enhancing your engagement with your customers, both current and future.
According to its now-existing support article:
These calls may make it easier for you to find and do business with customers who found your business through Google. Any calls you get from your Business Profile will start with a short message that lets you know it’s from Google.
Take note that this is only available to Beta users or select businesses in the US. You might not see it just yet, but GMB will let users know when this module is available. If you do see this on you Google My Business back-end, click ‘Try it out’ and you’ll be notified once they release it.
To be available in-app only
The question now is if you want to use this feature or not.
There’s one important deal-breaker that we learned about this in-development feature. It can, or has to, create a forwarding number instead of dialling what’s indicated on the listing. According to Google’s help page:
When possible, the forwarding number will share the same area code or prefix number as your business. Otherwise, a local number in your geographic region is used. If these numbers aren’t available, a toll-free Google forwarding number is used.
If this won’t be an issue for your business, then maybe this feature will be perfect for you. Don’t worry though; customers can still see your real phone number on your Google My Business listing.
‘Call from Google’
When a customer chooses to tap the ‘Call’ button, you will receive an automated message saying ‘Call from Google.’ You’ll hear this at the start of each call so you know that someone has clicked the ‘Call’ button on your GMB listing.
Each call log will be kept in the app for 45 days. This is enough time to look back at any missed calls gathered and take necessary action.
Why did Google think of this?
Throughout 2020, thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, we’ve seen a rise in phone calls to businesses to confirm if they are open or if they have specific items in stock. While eCommerce is experiencing a boom right now, phone calls are sort of becoming an in-thing again because this helps customers decide if they should go out or not, have that item delivered instead (if delivery is an option) or simply learn more about a local business now that they cannot travel out so much. Getting the information straight from the source improves a business’ trustworthiness and authority.
Would ‘Google Call’ improve local businesses? It depends. While it’s still in development, if you catch it on your GMB, make use of it and see if it works for you. But don’t forget that maintaining a well-optimised Google My Business listing is still important. If you want to use this feature but it isn’t available to you, you can do the following to get more customers:
- Monitor and respond to reviews (and invite people to write reviews)
- Publish regularly on Google Post
- Upload photos when necessary
You can do all of that with the DigitalMaas Platform. Log in or sign up for an account and see your Google My Business listing soar to the top and into the Knowledge Graph to get those calls, with or without the new ‘Google Call’ feature.