We have previously introduced you to Near Me Messaging and its benefits. Near Me Messaging implements a Google Business Messages virtual agent, available straight from the chat button on a business’ Google Maps profile. Near Me Messaging’s virtual agent is powered by state-of-the-art natural language understanding that delivers human-like responses. What sets Near Me Messaging apart from similar services is the 5 minute set-up time, self-serve customization, and built-in live chat support.
The benefits of Near Me Messaging include:
- Saving time and manpower in delivering excellent customer service
- Customizing your agent through the self-serve platform
- Gaining customer insights through Near Me Analytics
- Understanding what your customer needs through conversation history
- Chatting directly with your customers with our live agent feature
We are currently looking for beta testers for Near Me Messaging. For our beta testers, we are offering our service at our expense for a limited time, with no contract necessary. Don’t miss this opportunity to try out a virtual agent and see if it’s a good fit for your business. To get started, follow this step-by-step guide on how to launch your virtual agent with Near Me Messaging!
Step-by-step Guide to Launching your Virtual Agent with Near Me Messaging
Step 1. Visit the Near Me Messaging website and sign in with the account that you use for Google Business Profile.
Go to the Near Me Messaging website and click the “Sign in” button. Once you sign in with the account that you use for Google Business Profile, make sure that you check all of the available boxes and give permission to Seasalt AI to launch your virtual agent. Seasalt.ai is an official Google Partner, so you can rest assured that we will use these permissions responsibly. We are using these permissions for two functions: first, to access information from your Google Business Profile so that your virtual agent can provide accurate responses, and second so that we can launch the agent to your Business’ Google Maps page on your behalf.
We will never use these permissions to edit or delete your business profile. We still need you to grant permission to all of them because Google does not provide separate permissions for “view”, “edit”, and “delete”. We will only use the “view” permission.
Click “Sign in with Google” and sign in with your Google Business Profile account.
Granting permissions for Seasalt AI gives us the ability to publicly launch your brand’s virtual agent to your Google Maps page on your behalf.
Step 2. Build your virtual agent.
Once you sign in and grant permission, you will see all of the businesses that you manage with your Google Business Profile account. If you don’t see your business, make sure that you are using the right Google Business Profile account to log in. You can also click on the “Sync” button to synchronize your businesses. Note that you will need to set up the virtual agent individually for each of your business locations. To set up your virtual agent, click the “add agent” button on one of your businesses.
Businesses associated with our Google Business Profile.
Near Me Messaging will start building your virtual agent by synchronizing information from your Google Business Profile. Building your virtual agent should take less than 5 minutes, and you can watch the progress as each step completes.
You can view the progress of your virtual agent.
Step 3. Private test your virtual agent.
When your agent is finished building, QR codes will appear on your screen. Use your mobile phone to scan the QR code and test your virtual agent. This is still a private version of your virtual agent and will not appear on your Google Maps profile yet. Note that this virtual agent is an initial version that uses only the info from your Google Business Profile along with customer reviews from Google Maps to generate responses. If you test it and you feel like your virtual agent needs some improvements, you can greatly improve the responses by creating custom FAQs, adding information from your website, and curating your Google reviews. For a more detailed walkthrough on customization, take a look at our guide to improving your virtual agent.
QR codes for your private virtual agent will appear once your agent is finished building.
Step 4. Publicly launch your virtual agent.
Once you test your virtual agent and are satisfied with the responses, you can go ahead and launch your virtual agent. By launching your virtual agent publicly, your agent will be available to your customers on Google Maps. In this blog, I will walk you through the basic process, but you can refer to our documentation and videos on how to launch your virtual agent on your Google Maps profile for more detailed information.
First, go to the “Virtual Agent” tab and ensure that your agent name and agent avatar image are exactly how you want them to appear. Once the agent name and avatar image are verified by Google as part of the launch process, you will not be able to modify them via the Near Me site.
Once you’ve confirmed your agent details, navigate to the “Public Launch” tab. Click the “Verify” button to verify your brand and location with Google.
Clicking the “Verify” button will verify your brand and location with Google.
Once your brand and location are verified, you can click the “Launch” button to publicly launch your virtual agent.
Clicking the “Launch” button will launch your virtual agent to the chat button on your Google Maps profile.
It can take up to four hours for the chat button to appear on Google Maps. Once the chat button appears, your virtual agent is available for your customers to chat with. After public launch, you can still continuously make changes and further customize your virtual agent. When you make changes, you can go to the “Private Test” tab to test them out before making them public. Once you’re happy with the changes, you can click “Re-Launch” from the “Public Launch” page to instantly update the public version of your virtual agent.
You can click “Re-Launch” button once you are done making changes/improvements to your virtual agent.