Google is a customer experience goliath, and they are continuing to open up Google's Business Messages for more consumers. With 2.49 billion Google searches happening every day, that's a huge potential audience which brands can't afford to ignore.
Rob Lawson who leads Partnerships and Advocacy for Google's Business Messages platform, joined Jason for a fascinating episode of Conversations with Conversocial where they discussed Google's entry into the messaging market and how they're working on getting consumers engaged. Here are our 5 key takeaways from the chat.
To watch to the whole podcast, follow the link below.
1. With The World Moving To Messaging - So Is Google
We've stopped making voice calls in our personal lives…We have multiple ongoing asynchronous threaded conversations with the humans that we care about, but when it comes to a business, you've gotta say okay I need 10 minutes of my day to go and call Comcast or call United or call Citibank.
Is that really 10 minutes? Or is it 20 minutes? And how do I fit that into my schedule? And it's painful and we know that's painful. So how can Google help solve those things? There are businesses in the US where you search for a Walmart or a Domino's pizzas or something, and we'll throw out phone numbers and over a hundred million times those phone numbers get clicked.
There are billions of calls coming from Google search services. So we were conscious that that wasn't a great user experience, and we should make that better.
So how do we trigger search to be a conversational experience? To have that asynchronous, turn-based, conversational engagement with the brand straight from Google search is really the objective here.
2. People Only Hate Automation If It's Done Badly
Most of us instinctively think we're going to have a human engage thats going to be warmer and faster and more intelligent than a bot. I think that's behind our appetite to have live agents there… Equally, people want things quickly. My opposite of that is if you want a taxi, would you rather pick up a phone, speak to a dispatcher and try and describe where you want picking up and where you're going, or would you rather open Lyft or Uber and have that happen automatically?
When automation is easy and good, we prefer it. Do you go to the self-serve checkout in Safeway, or do you go to the the line where you're dealing with a cashier? Most of us probably go to self-serve when that's easy, because when it's accessible, we prefer automation than we prefer dealing with people we don't know.
3. Bots Are Actually Preferable In Some Situations
There's a challenge there from the business side, because suddenly you're working across cities and across functions and you have to have different sorts of user journeys…producing these merge experiences is a challenge for businesses, but when it's done well, I think that's delightful to users.
There's lots of, emotive negative response around bots…(but) as you move out of care journeys into these shopping journeys, or setting appointments, or booking something, signing up for more information, you want to interact with the backend.
If I want to change the seats on my flight, I don't want to speak to somebody, I want to see a map of the plane and I want to choose my seat. So give me access to the backend, show me the inventory, (or) show me all the jeans you've got that might fit me and I'm going to pick the one based on the pictures, not based on somebody describing it. I think you've got to blend those things together in the right way, based on what the users are looking for.
4. Messaging Can Be A Proactive Tool For Brands
It is really asynchronous- this isn't just on the user side, it's on the business side.
So maybe it's a big airline customer service and you want to know what time the plane's boarding and it's going to board at four o'clock this afternoon. Then at 3:30 this afternoon, you can send another message saying, 'Don't forget your plane's boarding in 30 minutes.'
This is something where the business can reach out to the user. You're not just sitting, waiting to respond to user questions, you can use it as a channel to reach back out and engage the user as well. So that sort of changes the way customer care works…you have to train agents differently, but it's the right thing, we're sure of that.
5. They're Fully Focused On User Experience
From a Google perspective, you're searching on Google and every pixel of the search results is sweated over, and to some extent fought over to make sure we're giving the right things to users... We want to put the best things on that page, in the highest sort of profile places.
So putting a messaging button there comes with some responsibility…If you search for Walmart and you see, "Great, I can message them, I don't have to call them." You hit the message and you have a conversation, but you can't answer your problem or your need, and then you have to come back to search and then call them. That's horrible. We care that it’s a sort of nourishing, fulfilling experience when you hit that message button. So from a Google perspective, we want to make sure that product is working.
Messaging channels and automation are key to the future of relationship management. Through the combination of human agents and bots, brands are able to scale their customer-facing operations to meet the increasing demands for attentive customer engagement — facilitating two-way unique customer engagement at scale. However, a unichannel approach to CX is needed.