Google Business Profile Chat feature to sunset on July 31, 2024

Google today announced the discontinuation of the chat feature within Google Business Profile (GBP).

Google Business Profile Chat
Google Business Profile Chat

Google today announced the discontinuation of the chat feature within Google Business Profile (GBP).

This change will take effect in two stages:

  • Starting July 15, 2024: Customers will no longer be able to initiate new chat conversations with businesses through Google Search and Maps. Existing conversations will continue, but users will be notified about the upcoming retirement of the chat functionality.
  • By July 31, 2024: The chat feature will be entirely removed from Google Business Profile. Businesses will no longer receive new chat messages through this platform.

The removal of the chat feature presents both challenges and opportunities for businesses that have been utilizing it for customer communication.

Loss of a Direct Communication Channel: Businesses that relied heavily on GBP chat for interacting with customers will need to find alternative solutions. This could involve encouraging customers to use phone calls, emails, or other messaging platforms.

Preserving Past Conversations: Businesses can download their past chat history through Google Takeout until August 30, 2024. This allows them to maintain a record of previous customer interactions.

Adapting Customer Communication Strategy: Businesses should proactively inform existing customers about the upcoming chat feature shutdown. This can be done through existing chat conversations, website updates, or social media announcements. Additionally, GBP still allows businesses to showcase their website link, phone number, and business description, which can serve as alternative contact points.

With the chat functionality being phased out, businesses should explore alternative communication strategies. Here are some options to consider:

Website Contact Forms: Embedding a user-friendly contact form on your website allows customers to easily send inquiries directly through your website.

Social Media Messaging: Many social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp offer built-in messaging functionalities that can be used for customer communication.

Dedicated Business Messaging Tools: Several third-party business messaging platforms offer features specifically designed for customer communication. These platforms can integrate with your existing business tools and workflows.

While the chat feature is being removed, Google Search and Maps remain crucial platforms for business visibility. Businesses should continue to optimize their Google Business Profile by:

Providing Accurate and Up-to-Date Information: Ensure your business listing includes accurate contact details, business hours, and a detailed description of your products or services.

Encouraging Positive Reviews: Positive customer reviews on your Google Business Profile can significantly enhance your online reputation and attract new customers.

Utilizing High-Quality Photos and Videos: Compelling visuals can showcase your business, products, or services and make your listing more visually appealing to potential customers.

The removal of the chat feature from Google Business Profile necessitates an adjustment to communication strategies for businesses that have been using this platform. By exploring alternative communication channels, maintaining a strong Google Business Profile presence, and adapting to evolving online tools, businesses can continue to connect with customers and ensure their online visibility.

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