How Google Just Changed The Way Patients Communicate with Dental Practices

google my business messaging for dentists hero image

Patients can now text message your dental practice directly via your local Google My Business page messaging in mobile search.

What’s more popular than phone calls?

Text Messaging!

Google has officially launched their new Message feature for Google My Business accounts. The new Message feature permits internet users to begin text conversations with businesses directly from mobile search results.

Why does this matter to dentists?

Well, for starters it allows potential patients to ask you questions about your dental practice, putting you directly in contact with them.  It may also allow you to assist patients who are experiencing a problem before it becomes negative feedback on your review page.

Let’s face it: in this era of instant answers, speed, simplicity, and accessibility are key. Any service that allows your current and potential patients to communicate with you more freely is an asset to your practice.

What is Google My Business Messaging?

It’s a new feature through Google My Business that allows mobile internet users to text your dental practice from mobile search results.

How does it work?

Log into your account Google My Business or create one if needed.

On the Google My Business home page, on the left side bar, you will see this new section for “Messaging” and a “Chat” option in the middle, “Message with customers.”

google my business messaging for dentist how to turn on chat

 

After you click on it, you will need to choose the mobile number for standard SMS.  After configuring your dedicated number, you can download Google’s Allo app to a mobile device which will route the text messages through the app and not through standard SMS.  Also, the designated number doesn’t have to match your official business number.

google my business messaging for dentists verify your number

 

After, you click on next, they’ll text you a code and you enter that code in the box they provide.

With that, you’re done setting up chat for Google My Business.

After you verify the number, you can set up a Welcome Message as an auto reply to patients who use the feature:

google my business messaging for dentist welcome message setup

 

You can easily turn chat on or off with the toggle and even customize the welcome message.  It’s important to note that once this feature is turned on, it is on all the time. As of right now,  there is no way to turn it off after business hours without having to do it manually.

The welcome message on Google Business Chat will be sent to customers when they initiate a chat with you.  Keep it short and sweet—and remember to respond!

Ideally, you’ll want to assign the responsibility to someone who is available at all times because as you use the chat a typical response time will be shown in your Google My Business profile.

Once it is set up, when someone sees your dental practice’s local Google Business profile in mobile searches (used my page as an example), it’ll have the “message” icon:

Google my business messenger for dentists

 

Now that you’ve got your dental practice’s messenger up and running,  don’t forget about it!

Connecting with patients is important.

As you build your practice’s online reputation, a responsive chat will only help to increase it.

It’s all about giving people accessibility and meeting them with whatever communication method they choose.

 

Get more tips on SEO and how to boost your online reach:

Get your local SEO checklist: 7 simple tips to boost your SEO

Four SEO trends for dentists you should implement now

Local SEO and its benefits to your dental practice