Google’s Business Messages has been launched! The first results of HEMA and AS Watson
We have started a pilot for Business Messages in collaboration with Google. OBI4wan is part of Google’s program for Google’s Business Messages, enabling this software vendor as being one of the first to build with Google’s technology, and to influence its roadmap and standards. Good news for our customers; we can offer an even better messaging experience through Google Search and Google Maps.
A select number of OBI4wan customers, including HEMA and Kruidvat, have already begun using Business Messages from Google during the pilot phase. From now on it will be possible to approach HEMA and Kruidvat via the Google Business profile of the retail chains. Messages that are sent to them via this route will arrive directly in OBI4wan’s online customer support (webcare) tooling.
Direct personal contact via Google Search en Maps
With Google’s Business Messages it is now possible to place a button in the company profile of organisations that offer the chat. This chat is therefore visible within the search results of the search engine. When users within Google click the chat button on the company profile, they immediately start a conversation with a service agent of the organisation.
With this new feature, Google is helping to reduce friction between organisations and customers by enabling companies to receive messages directly from search results in Google. Organisations can route and manage users by company and location, so that customers can have conversations quickly and effectively.
Google’s developments are in line with the shift from communication through public channels to more closed channels, with a focus on a conversational experience. The new channel helps organisations improve their customer service and expand conversation through guiding purchases, scheduling appointments, upsell and increasing customer loyalty.
HEMA and Kruidvat are the first organisations in the Netherlands with Google’s Business Messages
During the pilot phase, HEMA and Kruidvat were the first to start using Google’s Business Messages in the Netherlands. Messages sent via Business Messages arrive directly in the tooling of OBI4wan, which the two organizations already use for online customer support, or webcare.
“As an organisation, we at HEMA pride ourselves in being available at all times for our customers. Our stores are often found through Google searches, and calls are therefore regularly made directly to the store. However, employees at the store are not always able to answer the phone right away and that’s something we try to avoid. By getting started with Google’s Business Messages, we were able to reduce any crowding on the store phone and were able to speak to our customers directly via chat instead. This is not only a ‘win’ for our employees, but certainly a ‘win’ for our customers as well. Our agents can now answer a customer’s question via the customer contact centre within just a few seconds”, says Ronald Gerrits, Project Manager Customer Service at HEMA
Also A.S. Watson, which includes brands such as Kruidvat and ICI PARIS XL, considers it important to use new channels for customer contact. Dieke van Leeuwen, Team leader Digital (Webcare and Chatbots) at A.S. Watson, adds:
“For Kruidvat, we started by connecting 36 branches in Amsterdam. We would like to see whether Google’s Business Messages can be a new, interesting channel for our online customer contact, as well as what the effect of this new channel on our existing channels will be. It may be a substitute for another channel in the future. Questions that we mainly receive via this new tool mainly concern store visits. This includes the opening hours of a particular store, purchases, availability of products and our return policy. Customers expect a smooth and easy response through this channel, because, in many cases, they’ve planned a visit to the store on that day. They find this contact option by searching the relevant store on Google via their mobile device.”