Google My Business is a “free tool that allows you to promote your Business Profile and business website on Google Search and Maps.” Through your Google My Business account, “you can see and connect with your customers, post updates to your Business Profile, and see how customers are interacting with your business on Google.” Earlier this month, Google My Business released a beta version of its new call history feature. Read on to learn more about this new feature and how you can use it for your business.
Google My Business Call History Feature
According to Google My Business, “you can use call history to keep track of calls from your customers on Google Search and Maps. […] These calls may make it easier for you to find and do business with customers who found your business through Google.” Right now, call history is available as a beta version to a select group of U.S. businesses only.
How the Google My Business Call History Feature Works
As Google My Business explains, when a customer uses the Call button on your Business Profile, the call shows up on the Calls tab on your Google My Business app. On this tab, you can see all of your recent and missed calls. And once the call history feature is turned on, your customers will be able to connect with you through the phone number listed on your profile. Customers trying to call your business will see a local phone number with the same area code as your business. Google might also use a regional phone number, or on rare occasions, a toll-free phone number.
It’s important to note that you can only access your call history on the Calls tab on your Google My Business app.
Why the Google My Business Call History Feature is Useful for Your Business
As a result of COVID-19, phone calls have experienced a resurgence as one of the primary ways customers can connect with businesses. According to Search Engine Land, “call volumes are way up […] as consumers seek to, among other things, confirm product inventory and opening hours. Historically, small businesses have done a poor job in answering the phone and responding to missed calls.” The call history feature could help small businesses improve their customer service track record and possibly increase sales as customers call to check on available inventory.
Some additional facts to keep in mind about the call history feature include:
- Calls are only saved on the Calls tab for 45 days.
- If you choose to use the call history feature, you can’t turn off the automated messages you receive from Google when a customer calls you.
- The call history feature doesn’t track text messages from your customers, it only tracks phone calls. However, if you want to text your customers through the messaging feature in the Google My Business app.
How to Turn the Google My Business Call History Feature On and Off
To turn on the call history feature in your Google My Business profile, follow the steps below:
- Sign in to your Google My Business account. If you have multiple business locations, select the location you want to manage.
- Click Home.
- On the Preview Call History card, click Try It Out, and then Turn On Call History.
To turn off the call history feature:
- Log into your Google My Business account.
- Click Info on the left-side menu.
- Next to your business phone number, click on the pencil icon.
- Uncheck the box next to See recent calls from customers on Google Search and Maps.
- Click Apply.
If you ever want to turn the call history feature back on, you can do so on the Home tab of your Google My Business profile.
Note: In order to use the call history feature, you’ll have to set up a Google forwarding phone number. I’ll explain this step in the next section.
Creating a Google Forwarding Number
One of the major reasons businesses might choose to forego using the call history feature is due to the need for a Google forwarding phone number. This number disguises the business’s actual phone number, which might make some customers leery of using the phone number. According to Google, the forwarding phone number “varies based on the location in which its dialed, which includes its area code. When possible, the forwarding phone number will share the same area code as your business. Otherwise, a local number in your geographic region is used.” However, if these options aren’t available, Google will have to use a toll-free number — it’s rare that a toll-free number needs to be used, but it does happen on occasion.
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Photo Credits: Google My Business