Patient Messaging Using Your Google My Business Profile
Dentists can now interact with dental patients directly from Google search results!
There is a little known but very effective feature available in your Google My Business Profile which allows you to interact directly with patients who are searching online for your dental business or services. This is known as ‘Google Business Messaging’ and is very well-worth a try, particularly as it’s not being used by many dentists in the UK. So it’s a great opportunity to differentiate.
Why use Google My Business Messaging?
Here’s what the search giant themselves says about the feature:
“Google My Business messaging allows customers viewing your listing to message you directly. Respond to questions, share information, and quickly connect, for free”
The feature is known to work best for small to medium size businesses such as dentists, opticians and hairdressers who are probably best placed to give near instant answers to their clients. This type of contact is also much more preferable to delayed emails and potentially missed ‘phone calls.
How do you set up and use Google My Business Messaging?
Initially this service was only available to users of Android devices but is now available on IOS (Apple) and desk-top too.
To get started you first need to download the app, login to your Google My Business page and turn on the messaging options in the customer’s menu. You can also manage your messages in this section of the app. If you prefer to manage your messages in a desk-top environment (this may be better for the reception team) then Google also made this possible earlier this year.
What will patients see on Google?
When a user searches for your business they will see your information pop-up in the information panel on the right-hand side of the Google results page. From there they will be able to message you directly from a button which appears adjacent to the “call” and “website” buttons in your listing.
How do you manage your messages?
- You will receive app notifications when a patient contacts you.
- You can create an auto-responder to notify the patient that you will get back to them quickly. However, Google does impose an expectation that you will make contact within 24 hours and can withdraw the service if you repeatedly fail. You can message the enquirer directly from the app or on desk-top in your Google account.
- You can have more than one member of your team available to respond – they just need suitable access to your business profile. As the patient will see who responds, it is important that they have an appropriately professional profile name and image.
Does this make your other means of business communication redundant?
Certainly not! Whilst younger users are very used to this near-instant form of communication, other, older folk may still prefer more traditional means such as email or call. So please don’t neglect those.
It is also true that a prominent dental website remains the most important platform for new patients to find out about you and your services and so you should still expect the majority of web communications to come from there. That said, we believe that Google My Business Messaging can be a great addition to the communications tools you already use – it’s easy to set up and well worth a try.
If you need any guidance, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Dental Media web team on 01332 672548.