Google My Business messaging via SMS to end, but where is the alternative?

When Google My Business released the new GMB app back in November, many people failed to see the massive inconvenience of their new approach to the messaging feature would cause. Previously, the Messaging feature relied on technology from Allo which is set to be discontinued and will only work until March 2019.

Currently, if you try to add the messaging feature on a listing in Google My Business, it prompts you to download the GMB app.

If you are one of the lucky few that set up messaging before this change, you can still access the messaging feature via the Google My Business dashboard and receive and respond to messages via SMS. However, since Allo is going away in two months, we are assuming this SMS functionality is going to stop for everyone, including those that already have it set up. I have attempted to get a public statement from Google about their plans here and have been unsuccessful.

This change, in my opinion, has a sizable negative impact on both marketing agencies and large enterprises.

Agencies

If you run an agency and are using the Google My Business agency dashboard, you cannot access the GMB app. Trying to do so gives you an error that tells you that you have no listings in your account.

A user on the Google My Business forum sums up why this sucks for agencies:

“This is horrible. We were utilizing messaging option with our chat program. Were onboarding many clients that would allow them to use same chat program with GMB, their website, FB, and more. This shuts that down really fast. Plus, I utilize Agency GMB dashboard, which does not work with the App. So to help clients that still want to use GMB messaging separately from the easy to use third party, I have to walk them through it, because I cannot help them through my dashboard access.”

Franchises and enterprises

If you have a chain with 100-plus stores, how would it be possible to manage all of this via one app on your phone? Dan Leibson, who works with several of these types of businesses says:

“We have a few clients (both are 500+ locations) that have heavily invested in website chat and integrated that provider into GMB chat for pre-sales support and customer service. It’s has been a great lead producing and review management (via solving customer service issues before it comes to a review) tool.

These large clients that were using Google SMS for GMB in their communication strategy were told by their SMS vendor that they will have to stop using GMB chat when Google deprecates SMS. And that no solution on the immediate horizon but that a solution ‘was coming.’

Now this revenue and support stream will be completely cutoff.”

We still have two months until Allo stops working so maybe there is the possibility that Google will surprise us and announce a way for us to continue utilizing Google Messaging via SMS. For now, I would advise agencies and enterprises to hold off on adding the Messaging feature until there is a solution that makes sense.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


 

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