Google Maps Quality Calls: Improving But Still Confusing

Adrew Forster of Adster Creative recently received and recorded a call from the Google Maps listing quality team.

The calls are improving in quality over previous calls that we have heard. For example the caller clearly introduced herself. A definite improvement. But the call was still confusing. The intent of the call was not clear and the questions asked were not asked in a way that lead to mutual understanding.

If they are confusing to Andrew, who knows about the Google calls and expects them, imagine the confusion still on the part of the SMB. Still some room for significant improvement.

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Google Maps Quality Calls: Improving But Still Confusing by

24 thoughts on “Google Maps Quality Calls: Improving But Still Confusing”

  1. You use the verb “improve” generously, Mike. Not that I know of a better one: I’m not sure of a verb that means “to become slightly less crappy.”

    At least the call didn’t seem (rigidly) scripted.

    Nice job, Andrew; I can still find Adster on the map!

  2. @Phil

    I was in a good mood when I wrote it. :) And I need to give them credit when I can.

    Several points that I was thinking about:
    -She introduced herself as with Google Maps
    -She took her time

    For sure, there was still a huge communication gap that Andrew had to work very hard to deal with…. and one can only guess what would have happened in a busier environment.

  3. @Mike- don’t forget that Andrew is not your typical SMB. Most people would have hung up.

    It’s like he’s giving her every chance to explain herself. I did the same for my call with Google.

    This is crazy that Google hasn’t listened to any of these calls (or even worse, they have listened and think this is acceptable).

  4. To ChrisR’s point, props to Andrew for being so patient with the rep. I’m curious what the hang-up rate is for these calls. Thank you Andrew and Mike for sharing this!

  5. @ChrisR
    I agree with you. The calls, while better, still need a lot of improvement.

    @Kerry
    Great question about the hang up rate. I am sure that it is high.

  6. Thank God she got someone (Andrew in this case) who knew ALL of the info about the company… I’ll be certain to make sure all of my client’s receptionists are aware of this ‘issue’.

    *I own a condo 18 blocks from this business ;-)

  7. I received a similar call last week from Google verifying my address, and asking whether I received customers at my address (I don’t). The address has always been set to “do not display” in Places, but for some reason it began showing up in my Places listing about 2 weeks ago. I sent a note to support notifying Google that the address was showing, and asking them to remove, and I suspect that triggered the call.

    The interesting point is my rankings took a significant hit after the call. It seems tied to removing the address from being displayed, but I was ranking quite well even when the address wasn’t displayed.

    All very vexing. The quality of the call was also sub-standard. I can only imagine what the SMB owner goes through.

  8. @Keith – I too have seen a ‘hidden’ address appear on a client’s listing. And I also see the numerals missing from a street address on another listing; e.g. “123 Any St. Big City” is now “Any St. Big City”.

  9. Fast forward to about 4:10 of that call. The Google maps rep finally states she is trying to amend the pin placement as it may be confusing for customers. Wow, what a great starting point that would have been. By the time she gets around to the point of her call most SMB reps would have hung up already.

  10. @Keith
    I agree that was what she came around to and if that was the only intention of her call would have been a great start…. but we really do not know her initial intentons… Perhaps she wanted to ascertain whether the listing was spammy or not?

  11. Our office received a call from a Google rep about two weeks ago. The conversation was much shorter, about two minutes from start to finish. The beginning of the conversation was stilted as our staff is so accustomed to the “I work for Google” marketing calls. After our initial skepticism, we realized that this was the real deal. The rep simply confirmed our address and verified that a restaurant was located across the street.

  12. @Mike: What are the purpose of these calls? If it’s spam, the last thing you do is call the business in question, since most spammers are better rehearsed than the Googlers (everyone is following a script), and almost all the spammers employ VOIP numbers that forward to another location. If it’s to verify the details of the address, why can’t they do that using their existing tools (street view, satellite view, Google reverse search)? If it’s to see if it’s a SAB with a street address, going through their website, SV, and satellite imagery should be enough info. to figure that out. I’m really puzzled by their internal procedures for verifying businesses, which seem unnecessary complicated and obtuse.

  13. @Dan

    The best I can figure is that these are calls that are looking to clean up the quality of listings in Maps…. and that something triggered the call…and created a question that could not be 100% answered in a brief time with the tools at hand… in other words a call is the cheapest solution on the cost benefit scale..Here are things that seem to generate a call:
    -the owner did an edit that crossed some boundary
    -the listing was reported by report a problem for some issue
    -the listing was reported as closed
    -there was some sort of algo based flag (ie the listing is in a residential neighboorhood but does not show as an SAB)

    I have seen that Google is looking to track down inappropriate use of call centers as well… although they typically, like you point out, nail the rookies not the pros.

  14. @Mike: I’ve just never had much success in removing spammy listings via Community Edits, even if they clearly violate Google Places Quality Guidelines, and even if I provide substantial evidence of their spamminess (and this is almost exclusively for locksmiths). There’s a lot of internal resistance at Google Place to removing any spammy POIs, even though they end up diluting the quality of Maps and make it harder for legit listings to compete. If you can’t trust the integrity of Maps, that’s the start of the ‘Everyone is cheating, so I have to cheap to survive’ mentality.

    There’s a simple way to find call centers–if the business address is located at a 7-11, chances are the ‘business’ is not next to the Slurpee machine in the back. I could elaborate more, but there are ways of calling and catching the spammers at call centers, some through web-based searches, some through calling techniques. You have to have a bit of guile to do that.

    Incidentally, their algo based flags don’t work (it seem incapable of registering simple typos and special characters, for example), and the Google Listing Editors responsible for reviewing the community edits are unfamiliar with the Google Places Quality Guidelines, to the point of absurdity. (Note to Google: Locksmith–just that, nothing else–is not a legitimate business name. You can safely add that one to your algos and internal review processes.)

  15. I work for a company that owns different websites and offers a different types of services, therefore we have a few Google Places listings. We often receive calls from Google, all they want to know is whether we serve at customers location or customers come to our business location. A few minutes after the call our listings are usually deleted from Google Maps, the link from dashboard says we currently do not support the location and in the Google Places accounts listing’s status goes to pending or suspended. I don’t understand why they do it. It is completely unacceptable. Do you guys have any thoughts?

  16. @Silvia
    Google allows each location to have one listing (with some exceptions). That location needs to have a retail presence that supports walk in traffic during stated business hours. If you do not accept walk in traffic then it is necessary to “hide your address”.

    Having more than one listing per location or not having your address hidden are both reasons for Google to remove your listing and give you the “we currently do not support” message.

  17. Hi All,

    I have a question and would really appreciate any help.

    A friend of mine owns a massage studio and received a call from a Google Places. The rep stated that “that in the future, if she doesn’t pay Google, clients won’t be able to find her on the internet by doing a Google search (ie: best massage Arlington, MA). They will ONLY be able to find her if they type her company name.”

    Her studio is at the address listed on Google places, and she receives clients there. Do you think this is related to the the hidden address requirement? I don’t see any reason why her address should be hidden. Has anyone else had this happen?

    Thanks in advance!

    -Amy

  18. @Amy

    I think your friend encountered a snake oil salesman. This is a perfect example why Google shouldn’t be outsourcing. Con artists will piggyback on Google’s efforts and try to scam SMBs.

  19. I think Google should create something that can protect their consumer from such scams. Its really scary esp with this technological advancement that we have.

  20. Thanks for the info!!

    Google deleted my company 3 times because we were not hiding our address

    Nola Carpet Cleaning LLC
    8021 Palm Street
    New Orleans LA 70125
    http://www.nolacarpetcleaning.com
    504-684-4394

    Now that we have our address hidden we have dropped 5 places down from where we use to be… I thought that hiding your address was not a penalty.. this is crazy.

  21. Hey Mike,
    Just noticed this was reposted – thanks for the share. Ya, the call wasn’t terrible, but like others have mentioned if she would have clearly stated the purpose of the call from the beginning it could have gone smoother :)

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