Google Local Now Providing Phone Support for Verification Issues

Update 10:00 pm: Google has confirmed that this is a permanent feature.

Update 01/09/12 11:09 am: Google has confirmed that phone support is US- only and just English at this point if an agency is managing the listing, they should be able to get support.

Google+ Local had a rough 2012. But it appears that at the start of 2013 there has been at least one upgrade that is worth shouting about (here’s hoping its permanent).

Google is actually providing phone support when a business runs into verification issues.

Just to be sure that you read that correctly, I will repeat it:

Google is actually providing phone support when a business runs into verification issues. And not just phone support but support that is staffed (at least currently) by US based, English speaking personnel.

To initiate a call in go to the Google Places for Business I’m having a problem verifiying my listing(s) troubleshooterΒ and select the option “I tried PIN verification for a single listing” and indicate that you asked for a postcard and have waited the requisite 15 days. At the bottom of the form you will a link to “Please eitherΒ call usΒ or complete the following form:”

When you select the call us option you are taken to a call back form. I tested it to see if it was actually working and within 10 seconds of filling it out Google rang me up, an automated attendant asked me to press one for support and Darrel answered. He said when I asked: “This line is primarily to provide support for verification issues”. I would suggest that this quote should be filed along with Neil Armstrong’s “One small step” quote if not for its eloquence at least for its significance.

After I picked my jaw up from the floor I thanked him and let him go on with his day. Needless to say I was shocked.

Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 4.40.56 PM

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97 thoughts on “Google Local Now Providing Phone Support for Verification Issues”

  1. Maybe the end of the world is near? I have had three of my locations in postcard limbo for months now (funny thing is I did get a postcard just yesterday that was about 45 days past due). I’m going to jump on this right away while the option still exists and I’ll report back if it works for me!

  2. @David
    Right you are. It is an earthquake. I am amazed. But Google has done such a good job of not providing service that when they offer a modicum of support it is perceived as an earthquake.

  3. YAY! Good move in the right direction to start off the new year.

    Google just emailed us an official announcement about this, so I just shared the news on the forum too. I was trying to get here to check comments but Mike’s blog was down for me for awhile. Did the earth shattering news cause Mike an avalanche of traffic? πŸ˜›

    Hopefully there will be some aftershocks and more support improvements follow this one. πŸ˜‰

  4. This is what I call a “black swan” event – the good kind πŸ™‚

    Fingers crossed that they don’t get flooded and have to revert back to being, how shall we put it…parsimonious.

  5. Great News – Lets hope that the scope of their support will broaden to provide support for profiles with problems such as “location not supported,” etc.

  6. Mike, congrats on being the first to break the news. You’re a legend.

    This is a pretty big deal…kind of. Don’t get me wrong, I’m shocked by the news, but I’ve dealt with Google Adwords support enough to know that 99.9% of the time I know more than the customer service rep, and that’s not saying much as I still have a lot to learn.

    I’m a PPC guy, but right now I am helping my brother who is an orthodontist in Woodland Washington with his SEO as well. He ranks #1 organically, but not on the map. Funny thing is he is the only orthodontist with an address in Woodland and his listing is verified. I am going to try and call Google and see if by chance I can get some help with the issue, but most likely they won’t be able to help me with that.

    1. Stuart

      It is only a big deal because its lack has been so obvious. At this point it is clearly just for verification issues so I would not hold out much hope that will be willing or able to solve other issues.

  7. Mike, great update. However, I just clicked the link and, wouldn’t ya know it, I already got this message:

    “Contacting Us
    Our goal is to help you get the fastest answer to your question. Here’s how you can find what you’re looking for:
    Talk to a specialist
    This service is temporarily offline. Please use one of the other contact options provided. ”

    I’m wondering if this is either a really, really early beta… ooooooor, they have already been inundated by so many callers because of the trainwreck (as you so greatly put it) Local has become, they had to temporarily shut it down? Maybe there will Craigslist ads for call center reps in Mountain View shortly πŸ™‚

  8. That is great news Mike! As always, thanks for sharing your knowledge and insight, it never goes unappreciated. Great step in the right direction to kick off the new year! (I think it also speaks volumes to the influence you have on their product, couldn’t be a better person for it.)

    Thanks again!

  9. I just wanted to try out and got that message: “This service is temporarily offline. Please use one of the other contact options provided.”

    Do they provide that service outside US, too?

    1. @Thao & Petra
      It is not in the UK at the moment so I am thinking it is US only but I am trying to get confirmation.

      Can anyone confirm that the service is in or not in Canada?

  10. I can’t wait to try this for my ‘one-off’ listings I’m trying to verify that only give the phone verification option and no postcard option.
    Frustratingly these happen to be my customers that have auto-attendants on their system.
    I’m so excited!

  11. I received an email from Phil linking us to your post with this great news. I wonder if the person that helps with the verification issue, will then help you with other issues with the same listing or send you back to the troubleshooter. We have had verification and then other issues with the same client listing, which I’m sure many others have too.

    Thanks Mike and Phil! I’m going over to the Local Search Forum to read Google’s official announcement Linda shared.

  12. This should make life a little easier for us responsible for setting up and managing those pages. I wonder how many support staff they will end up needed or how long wait times will be.

  13. Thanks Mike! This is great news. I have 3 clients in different verification situations and awaiting our last effort to verify by postcards. If they don’t work hopefully I can now speak to a Google specialist and get them all sorted in one go! Can we keep this info between ourselves for now so that their phones don’t get too jammed up. Hmmm, I suppose it is probably a little late to ask that now ;-D

    Once again, nice work Mike!

  14. Thanks for the heads up Mike. I do feel sorry for the predictably small amount of staff that will head this up and the hordes of calls they will get once this becomes more public to the masses lol.

  15. FWIW, I called in yesterday about a duplicate listing that I claimed but could never seem to get verified. I had a bit of difficulty getting the rep to understand what I wanted, but once we were on the same page he asked permission to work on it and call me back. About five minutes later he called and the listing had been deleted. Mission accomplished.

    I can’t say that I’m particularly impressed as it was a very simple transaction, but this combined with the recent sucessful email assistance regarding a merged listing, is a step in the right direction.

  16. Wow is right, I almost wish we had issues with verification so I can call the support hot line and hear this for myself. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for the heads up, it will be a great 2013!

  17. @Josh – we provide support during US business hours. We’ll make that more clear on the page you reached last night.

    @Jason – not yet for map location issues, but stayed tuned as we learn more from the initial launch for verification issues.

    While we restrict phone numbers to the US, US business hours, and English, the team should be able to work with any location where Google Places for Business is launched.

    Thanks for the feedback so far.

  18. @Gabriella

    It will be great IF Google can finally get the Dashboard and the rest of their local product working right. I am hopeful and ever the optimist that will happen.

  19. So excited to learn of this news! Hopefully this will ease the panic and frustration many business owners have experienced since the migration to Google+ Local in May. Can’t wait to hear how effective this is in terms of actually solving verification and listing problems!

  20. This is shocking. But I was under the impression that Google Places was ging to be handled under the auspices of Google Plus Pages? So will this get both the Place and the Page verified, or just one of them?

    1. @Michael
      The Dashboard will likely continue to exist for those not wanting or needing a social presence. This process to help with verification will work regardless of whether a business is using the Dashboard or the G+ Plus Page verification system.

  21. @Joel – Thanks for the update on the hours! Certainly would be good to see what they are.

    @Michael – I tried this out this morning and the rep I spoke with said that they could do either. It appears to be only accessible in the Places for Business help currently, but my question was about a Plus listing and they had no problem with that.

  22. Hi Mike,
    Do you know if this support relates to verified listings that are Active but not showing impressions? Several of my clients (who are service-area businesses) have verified listings that are in this category. Or, is it just for non-verified pages.
    Thanks for posting this wonderful news. You’re a fantastic resource!

    1. @Kathy
      At this point Google has said that it is for verification only. I have not tried using it for other reasons. With service area businesses it is incumbent to check to see if when you view the listing whether you get a “We currently do not support” message or not. Does the verified listing show in search

  23. Mike said: “Verification is verification. It is the same whether it is driven by the dashboard or the Plus environment.”

    Although as I reported in the forum quoting Jade directly from the email she sent us:

    “**only for postcard verification issues in the Places dashboard**”

    So I took that literally to mean only for Places verification issues NOT for G+ verification issues???

    I see verification on each platform separate with potentially different issues. Lots of new verification issues can come up with G+ verification that are diff that the standard Places verification issues.

    Plus they each have their own separate troubleshooters that I think may go to different support departments.

    Here is the G+ verification troubleshooter. Different questions and flow than the Places verification troubleshooter.

    Maybe we need clarification on that point?

  24. I just tried it on one listing where a suite change (SUITE # MOVED TO SECOND ADDRESS LINE), and on another listing with a “Pending Review”.

    Google auto called within 30 seconds, pressed one, and was transferred to “Dwayne” immediately.

    Explained the issues. They have access to an in-house dashboard that shows all the transaction history for each listing. I asked if he was looking at Map Maker, he said NO.

    They are also able to load your google places dashboard, and review the info there.

    He was super friendly, and American, but could not disclose his office location.

    Very proactive, is escalating the issue for resolution and promised contact by email within an hour or a phone call back if he needed any additional information.

  25. The past 2 days, I’ve used the Google Plus Local phone support 6 times. Very helpful for the most part.

    I also spoke with Duane, he’s been the best so far. He gave me his email address, and you can also email him concerns.

    Here are their hours:
    9AM – 3AMEST
    Isn’t that great!

    I’ve had them remove rogues and remove listings with out a pin verification by phone or mail too. Very helpful.

    1. Andrea
      At this point the support line is for English speaking US Businesses. When (or if) Google will expand the support to other languages and other countries is unknown.

  26. That is my finding as well. Strange. Google says that they will not verify a prevously verified places page of ours (all of a sudden one day was just not verified), as it does not have enough followers . . . but I can talk to a sales representative?

    The Page has about 80 followers and would have more, had Google not created two duplicates of the same Plus local business page that diluted the page we have in our acount and administer. Reported more times than you can count hairs on the head.

    But I see Plus local pages with two or three followers that are verified. So the question is, are different standards being applied to different users in this regard? Google requires some local pages to have hundreds of followers and others to have two or three? Very strange. I was talking with Neil Ferree about this the other day and he mentioned you. Seems like the idea of merging the accounts is not working out.

  27. It’s a pity the new feature isn’t available in Europe and on other continents as well. I see more and more corporations targeting their web products on the USA (just think of Yahoo Places and Bing Places, which are still only available in the US). I think “European” local SEO is about 1-3 years behind the main trend and with each year the gap becomes larger..

    1. @Dorothea
      Google is a world wide company and builds things at scale. Thus one would think that sooner or later this might reach beyond English and beyond the US but I would also think that even Google has limited resources and needs to role these things out in a way that is both successful and sustainable aiming at the biggest chunks first… who knows I certainly don’t speak for them nor do I know their plans but I am sure that they are thinking along international lines.

  28. This is awesome! I have several clients that I can use this for immediately. I have always told clients that Google is about as fast to move as the Federal government! Now we may just be able to get some things accomplished.

  29. Well its great for users of Google in the US…. As for us down in South Africa I guess its hang on and hope that the local Google offices introduces this policy soon.

  30. Hello..
    My local listing is verified and I have uploaded my company details according to the Google guidelines but I have not getting my company name in search results
    what should I do now anyone help me pls…

    Thank you

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