Google has introduced a new chat feature through Google Hangouts for businesses listed through Google My business that allows potential customers and businesses to chat with each other online.
Chat functionality has been popular on many websites, particularly the types of businesses that have the need for support. Rather than having a customer submitted ticket, a live chat feature during business hours can really cut down on some of the work, especially because the users can often chat with multiple people once, whereas the support phone call has to be one-on-one.
The chat window is superimposed over top of the Google+ page for the business you are chatting with, so users can still reference information about business if they like.
If there is no one from the business available, it still does open up a chat window, which is definitely different from most live help chat platforms. It doesn’t give any indication on the search result page about whether or not there is someone available, is simply says the hours of operation. So that would definitely be an improvement, and would also bring it in line with other similar services.
But it’s unclear if the business receives those messages when they do login and can then respond, or if they are off into Never Never Land.
If you are wanting to test this feature out for your business listing, you will need to contact Google My Business Directly as they do not have a signup for it yet, or even any support documentation for the new feature.
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