For businesses that use Google to advertise their services, getting customers to contact the company is the most challenging part of their marketing efforts. When consumers search for a service provider, they get back search results with dozens of businesses that could meet their needs. Getting customers to contact some of the companies they see in search results is the step that can lead to a searcher becoming a customer. Google has added a feature to search results that could help businesses generate more leads.

Last week, SEO marketers began to notice that certain business listings on Google search result pages had a new “Request a Quote” button. This button makes it easier for consumers searching on Google to connect with the companies they are researching.

The new button is shown on the right-hand side of search results in the Knowledge Panel for a company. If someone does a branded search on desktop (i.e., a search that includes a specific brand in the query), the "Request a Quote" button will be on the right-hand side, under the aggregated review score.

The "Request a Quote" button doesn't show up for every business. However, since the button shows up in the search results of every user, it suggests that this new feature isn't merely a test from Google. The "Request a Quote" button is most likely here to stay. This feature is useful for businesses with an online presence on Google. It would increase the number of leads generated from Google Search with no disadvantages for the company.

This change is the latest in a series of updates to Google My Business this year. In order for businesses to take advantage of the new feature, they need to have a listing on Google My Business. Furthermore, they need to opt-in to the GMB messaging feature. To turn on the messaging feature, business owners need to manage their location from the Google My Business app. From the Customers submenu, there’s an option for Messages that needs to be turned on.

Once active, the messages a business receives from customers can be viewed and responded to from the Google My Business app. The replies will come to users on their Google Maps app.

This feature could become a highly useful tool for generating leads from Google search results. The button makes it easier for consumers to begin engaging with a brand. Once that initial connection is made, business owners now have a foot in the door for completing a transaction.

The only potential downside to the feature is that it may reduce traffic to the company's website, even if just by a little. The "Request a Quote" button replicates a function that consumers would typically need to visit the company's website to access. If people can start a conversation with a company without visiting the website, that will reduce some traffic. However, it's a good trade-off for a more direct way to engage with people searching on Google.

Before utilizing this feature as a way to generate leads, business owners need to be sure their staff is available to respond to the requests that come from Google. Customers will be expected faster responses than if they filled out a contact form on the website. If customers have to wait too long for an answer, they may search for another brand and request a quote from them.

For more recent news about changes and updates on Google that will help business owners, read this article on Google's new ad features to support local retailers