Google My Business is working on a new feature that will allow businesses to see recent customer calls triggered from search results.
Google is notifying business owners about this upcoming feature via the GMB. The notification can be seen below:
Clicking on Try it out prompts a message saying “You’ll be notified when this feature is available.”
Call history in Google My Business is clearly in the early stages of development. But there’s a help page already published where users can learn more about the feature before it launches.
Clicking on Learn more links to a help page that reads:
“You can use call history to keep track of phone calls from your customers on Google Search and Maps. Your calls are all in one place to help you respond to missed calls and stay engaged with your customers.
These calls may make it easier for you to find and do business with customers who found your business through Google. Any calls you get from your Business Profile will start with a short message that lets you know it’s from Google.”
How Google My Business Call History Works
When this feature launches, a dedicated “Calls” tab will be added to the Google My Business app.
The Calls tab will log calls from customers that click the “Call” button on a GMB business profile. Both missed calls and answered calls will be logged.
Call history can only be viewed from the Google My Business app. It will not be available on the browser version of Google My Business.
This next part is important to pay attention to, because it could determine whether you even want to use the feature or not.
Opting In or Out of Call History
When call history in Google My Business becomes available, businesses can choose to activate it or not.
There’s one big reason why a business might choose not to opt-in to call history: it disguises the business’s actual phone number.
In order to log calls from GMB profiles, Google has to create a forwarding number for customers to use instead of the number on the business profile.
For some this may be an issue, and for others it may not be.
Whether this matters all depends on how important it is to the business that they’re contacted through their actual phone number.
Here’s what Google says about call forwarding in the help page:
“The Google forwarding number varies based on the location in which it’s dialed, which includes its area code or prefix number. When possible, the forwarding number will share the same area code or prefix number as your business. Otherwise, a local number in your geographic region is used. If these numbers aren’t available, a toll-free Google forwarding number is used.”
This feels like the phone number equivalent of Google disguising publisher domains in AMP URLs. Although that’s also an issue which matters to some and not others.
Customers will still be able to see your real phone number on your business profile. The forwarding number will only be used when the “Call” button is tapped.
Should you decide to activate call history, at the start of each call from your GMB profile you will hear an automated message that says “Call from Google.”
When Google launches call history businesses can turn it on and off at any time from their GMB dashboard.
Calls are kept for 45 days in the “Calls” tab. Call history only tracks phone calls, not texts.
The beta version of call history in Google My Business will be available for a select group of businesses in the US only.
Sources: Google My Business Help, Local Search Forum