Google Place/Tags Support Calls Me Back

I have been working to un-merge two listings on Google since November 5th. This is a problem that has plagued these two b & b’s forever. In an effort to speed this along, I called Google in late December and again in early January to speak with a Tags Rep to see if they could help in any way. Here is my previous account of those calls.

This last Thursday I received the following voice mail on my answering machine after hours. To prove to the world that it really happened I am posting a copy of the message. For your convenience I also have it transcribed below:

[wpaudio url=”http://blumenthals.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/GooglePhoneCall.mp3″ text=”The Voice Mail Message from Joe at Google” dl=”0″]

Hi. This message is for Mike. My name is Joe and I am calling from Google.

I received an elevated concern from one of our sales representatives named James who apparently you spoke with around January 3rd. We were able to take a look at the two you listings you described to James, the Westcott House and the Bayfront Marin House, the two bed and breakfast that are located in St Augustine Fl.

And I just wanted to let you know that I was able to split those listings and during our next update of all the data on Google you should see that those listings have been split apart and if you have any further questions or problems please don’t hesitate to contact us on-line on our Google.com/help.

Thank you very much for your business.

At the time of my reporting of the phone conversation, Ethan Russel, a Google product manager, chimed in and noted that Google would be rolling out a solution for those experiencing the merging problem sometime this quarter.

It is unclear to me if this phone call is standard procedure going forward or if I warranted special treatment because of all of my whining.

Are we seeing the genesis of customer service from Google? Did I experience the first known effort of Google servicing a merged record? Or is it just a one off fluke that proves nothing more than the fact that Google does in fact have a telephone with outbound lines and at least one person that still remembers how to dial?

I am hoping for the former.

Has anyone else received a similar call back with their problem solved?

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Place/Tags Support Calls Me Back by

12 thoughts on “Google Place/Tags Support Calls Me Back”

  1. Mike,

    I’d love to see more accounts of this before I believe it’s not an anomaly. As we know, Google responds more quickly to higher priority issues.

    And often that “higher priority” is defined by who’s asking (like Blumenthal or the NY Times).

    Will

  2. @Mike – I’ve been wondering if we might see something like this soon. If you’re charging small businesses, you almost have to start offering some sort of customer service for issues with the Places listings.

    My question: were you doing any Tags advertising (even the 1-month free trial) on these listings?

  3. Mike –

    I am now expecting a swarm of locusts and some other signals that this may indeed be the end of the world as we know it.

    I think most end times prophecies have ‘Google makes actual phone calls to actual customers’ as something that must occur for the end to come.

    Good luck with everything, I am going to my bunker to wait this one out.

  4. Looks like you’re alone on this one Mike. :) I have seen merged listings happen waaaaaaayyyy too often and they rarely get fixed and if they do…. it’ll take months like it did in your case. Well, good luck to the rest of us I guess and let’s cross our fingers we’ll get just as lucky as you did.

  5. @Will

    Yes, it is but a single example of both a call back and a promise to fix merged records…. either would be good going forward but both would be like customer service heaven. :)

    @Justin
    One of the merged listings was doing Tags. I talked the other into doing Tags as well… 1)it provided an escalation path for the problem and 2)They were sharing the listing, one week one, the next week the other and Tags allowed the other phone to show during the time when it was their listing.

    @Frank

    End of Times is a GREAT analogy. Headline: Google Sets Up Customer Service Just in Time for Armageddon. Investment for Naught, Stock Plummets.

    @Vlad
    It could be the path I chose to get support… pay via Tags, call Tags, have them run it up the pole… or it could be just a one off fluke… Good luck

  6. Google has called us two or three times in the last month regarding a couple of duplicate listings that we are trying to fix that we have clicked “report a problem”. I was very surprised to hear from them!

  7. As with Ryan above, I got a confirmation call back on a duplicate record which got a “fix”. Permanent or temporary I can’t tell.

    The call was a total surprise. In fact the introduction and the person referencing that he worked for Google almost led me to believe the call was spam.

    I’ve reported many problems in the past and had never once gotten a response or call from normal Google operations. The call on the duplicate listing was actually rather quick relative to the most recent time I had reported it…and a fix ensued.

    Of course I had reported the same problem many times in the past with no response.

    Is it possible Google is testing some kinds of responses these days??

    Who knows. They don’t tell us.

    Mike’s response is not that of a normal business with normal customer service. He had to go to the source that is taking his payments–Tags–to get someone to respond.

    Is there an implication there that Google gives customer service when you pay them with advertising…but not adwords…just boost or tags?

    That would be weird. Did Mike get a response because he is a known public commentator on Google and it created a “heightened sense” of need to respond, similar in nature to the recent JC Penny situation wherein the NYTimes reported on the situation.

    Hard to tell.

    At the least, I experienced a positive call as did Ryan on the duplicate listing issue…and that is a small positive step….if not a sea change.

    Hope it continues. Maybe someone from Google will be kind enough to come out of the shell and tell us what to expect. :D

  8. In my experience, working with Tags sales rep is the best way to get resolution on things. I’ve got one client who is located in Austin, but for some reason was only showing up for searches in Houston.

    We went threw all the expected steps to fix the problem. We moved it within his Places account. We reported the problem online. Nothing.

    Finally, the client got a Tags sales rep on the phone, told him that he’s love to sign up, but can’t do so until his Places Page is showing for the correct city.

    It was fixed in less than a day.

  9. I think you MAY be getting special treatment, Mike, but I would love it if that’s not the case. The merging issue feels so hopeless at times. Google can solve it by reaching out and touching someone :)

  10. I’ve been having difficulties with Google ever since they changed to their new mapping API. Merged listings, losing ownership of my listings and being unable to retake ownership (duplicate listings being created rather than taking ownership of the original), etc etc… I’ve been hounding Google about these issues for nearly 8 months by phone, e-mail, and snail mail – to no avail. How the heck did you manage to rip a response out of them? You must have stock in Google =P

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