Zero-click search and heightened consumer expectations around brand responsiveness have brought Business Messaging function to the desktop. You'll soon be seeing Messages in your GMB desktop dashboard, and GMB's resource on desktop Messaging has also been updated so that by early March 2021, all businesses will have access to messaging on the web.
Back in June, Google announced an expansion of its Business Messaging service to mobile and was reportedly experimenting with additional ways to highlight the tool on SERPs. While the function is not yet available to everyone, the rollout is expected to be completed by the end of March.
Google My Business account users have to opt into the service, which is easy enough to do:
You can send your business a message via your GMB account. You can also automate your initial response to suit your brand voice, and anyone who runs your GMB account can converse with potential customers.
You can track and respond to messages and even export conversations should you need to. Be sure to respond to messages within 24 hours, though, or Google may revoke your access to the tool. Google cites the reasoning behind this trigger-happy response as preserving the customer experience. Having the messaging system available via desktop is beneficial here, as account holders can keep the platform open during the workday and respond to messages as and when they come in. If you find yourself at the mercy of a persistent spammer or even one single abusive message, you can take control and block the user from communicating with your brand through Business Messaging again.
There is more information in the original article.