A Google innovation is being supported by the UK’s leading SMS companies, who claim it will transform business-to-customer communications.
The new extension will enable any business, organisation or brand to add a SMS button alongside their name in search results.
When clicked, an automatic text is sent to the business from the customer.
This can set off any number of internal alerts within the business or even a series of automatic responses designed to acknowledge or answer the initial contact request.
Textlocal.com, which has sent more than one billion texts on behalf of 165,000 clients, has been investigating how a the ad extension can bring bumper business benefits while dramatically improving customer satisfaction.
The development follows Google’s announcement last year that smartphone searches on their engine had overtaken searches from computers for the first time.
Google’s new Message Extension is ‘more targeted, efficient and cost effective at allowing customers to engage with businesses’, says Jason Palgrave-Jones, managing director at Textlocal.com.
He describes it as an exciting development which can unlock an entirely new audience of customers that prefer to use mobile messaging and SMS chat to communicate with businesses.
Palgrave-Jones added: “Google is making it easier for business to receive enquiries, grow their business and to retain customers.
“It’s something that Google predicted years ago when they declared a ‘mobile first’ strategy, having seen the increasing trend for people to search and shop ‘on the go’.
“This innovation could transform a business – it’s very easy to reach someone via text message and at the same time that person is being given the option of how they then want to continue the communication.
“Crucially, it also a means businesses can more easily develop databases of customers so they can be contacted later with discounts, vouchers and offers.
“From a company’s point of view, all that is needed is a number which can receive text messages and send automatic replies, which Textlocal.com can provide for free to any UK business.”
Textlocal.com have been testing Google’s Message Extension since March 2016 and are the only company offering the capability to have these ads linked up to a mobile phone with the capability to send automatic messages back.
Palgrave-Jones added: “Google, a truly global company, has put massive investment into this, which is a clear indication of just how important SMS is as a business-to-customer communication channel.
“The biggest barrier is people’s lack of understanding just what text messaging can do for your business, requiring minimum effort but delivering huge returns, which is where Textlocal.com can help.”