Coming: AdWords Feature Harnesses Power of Text

Waiting on hold is one of the few things in the world that we can all agree is terrible. Seconds bleed into minutes, minutes bleed into hours, and that annoying background music? Man, I’m getting angry just thinking about it!

*Steps away from computer, takes a deep breath*

It’s not just waiting on hold or dealing with tedious menu options that irritates consumers — it’s making calls in general. Simply put, people no longer want to speak on the phone. Text, email, chat and social media are far more favored methods of communication this day and age — especially among Millennials, the generation that boasts the most buying power.

To accommodate modern communication preferences, Google AdWords is rolling out a new mobile ad extension that will allow consumers to connect with advertisers via text message or SMS. This is a promising development not only for consumers with an aversion to verbal dialogue, but for business owners too.

Texts are easier and more efficient than phone calls. While the contents of a phone call can be disputed or forgotten, a text message is cut and dried, shielding you from the types of customer service breakdowns that can eviscerate shopper loyalty.

Here’s how it will work, according to Google:

Tapping on the texting option launches a user’s SMS app with a pre-written message tailored to the product or service they’re interested in. For example, if you’re a travel advertiser and someone messages you after searching for New York City hotels, they can send or edit your pre-written message text, “I’m interested in a reservation. Please text me back with more information.”

Consumers have already shown a willingness to engage in non-verbal dialogue with companies. According to a study, 73 percent of customers are satisfied after using live chat, higher than any other form of customer support including email, telephone, and social media. Even more, 62 percent of customers are more inclined to purchase products online if live customer support is available.

While live chat is inherently different than text-to-chat, it underscores that consumers would rather use their fingers than their mouths to communicate with businesses. But enough about consumers — imagine the benefits your business would enjoy by having this option.

Think about a restaurant during prime lunch and dinner hours that could now field takeout orders via text, or the receptionist at a doctor’s office that would no longer have to choose between putting a caller on hold and making the patient standing in front of them wait until their call is finished. The potential customer service gains are limitless.

According to Search Engine Land, Google has been testing click-to-text ads for several months now. The blog notes they will be similar to call extensions, which have been around for years. The feature will only be available to companies advertising on AdWords.

While it’s unclear when the text-to-call feature will become available, it’s not too soon to envision how it could help your business, or to consider whether the incremental benefits it offers would make taking out a search ad more palatable.