How Good is Google Places for Business Phone Support? Very Good

Google first rolled out phone support for businesses using the Places Dashboard in early January of this year to deal with verification issues and subsequently announced additional phone support for data quality issues in late January for all English speaking users.

They had introduced email support in the US in Oct 2011 and rolled out email support worldwide in May of this year when they closed the European forums. One assumes with somewhere on the order of 100 million businesses world wide, somewhere north of 8 million claimed and their highlighting of the call in system in the help files the loads on their support system must be significant.

 

contact-us

(First help screen seen when you click on the help link in the dashboard)

call-us

 (Screen seen when you click on “Contact Us”)

Yet their support fulfillment seems to be consistently very, very good.

I had a data quality issue with a secondary phone number showing up for a listing and it seemed that nothing I did over the past 13 days could disuade the Google algo from showing the incorrect number. I called support yesterday and here is the time log of the events:

10:28 Initiated call back support call

10:29 Received call back and placed on hold

10:32 Customer rep picked up the phone

10:32-34 Discussed issue with rep

10:34-36 Rep goes off to interact with tools to fix issue

10:36-37 Rep reports that issue should be resolved within several hours to a day

10:37-39 Rep chit chat.

4:00 When I bother to look the problem is fixed on the main search result page Knowledge panel for the location.

This day has been a long time coming.

I have had a number of similar experiences since the introduction of phone support. Google’s local support (a phrase that in the past was often thought to be oxymoronic and if George Carlin were still alive it could have been added to his routine.) has sort of snuck up on us. Other than what appeared to be one misstatement of fact -being told by the customer service rep that single changes to my bulk upload file should take 2 weeks to show- the interaction was fast, courteous and efficient. In and out in 11 minutes from the point of dialing and despite the almost 3 minute wait for a person it seemed downright speedy.

Over the past 7 years of writing about Google and local search there has been scant cause for me to sing their customer service praises. And while I am sure that I will again pen screeds critical of their efforts in local, today I can only sigh with relief at the obvious improvements.

PS Google is a sponsor of Local University.

 

 

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How Good is Google Places for Business Phone Support? Very Good by

29 thoughts on “How Good is Google Places for Business Phone Support? Very Good”

  1. Nice write-up, Mike. I like the minute-by-minute log. Adds a little dramatic flair.

    My clients’ and my experiences so far have been great, too.

    Now if only Google would pick a damn name and keep it for more than a year, I’d be a happy as a clam.

  2. @Phil
    You can bet that the uber analytic Google knows the length of these interactions to the second… when they read about chit chat (it was actually a discussion about categories but unrelated) they will probably call the whole team together and cheer them on to cut 2 minutes from each interaction. :)

    I think they have picked a name: Places for Business Dashboard… or is it G+ Page management.. oh well still a little confusion…

  3. My expereince has been less successful. Having a large volume of clients, our team contacts Support quite frequently.

    In my expereinces, Support was and continues to be unable to resolve duplicate listing issues. In fact on two separete instances, after reporting the issue and waiting the 3 week period I was told it would take engineering to fix the issue, a 3rd duplicate was created both times.

    However, in more simple cases such as incorrect name, number, or other data showing on the listing incorrectly, Support has been able to correct the issue within the 3 weeks.

    my .02

  4. @Alex

    Yes, simple data issues are their strong point.

    The problems that require a rebuild are more complicated particularly those issues that are internally generated by bugs in their software… like a dupe when you attempt to create a social listing. That is only avoided by staying within the dashboard (unless of course the dupe is caused by bad upstream data).

  5. Many a client of mine has been PV’d by calls to Google phone support. Whether they haven’t received their PIN letter or if they can’t get mail at their location (or use a P.O. Box), it’s pretty easy to call the support line, ask them to put you on hold and call the client to confirm their business information. Once they receive confirmation that you’re authorized to verify their listing, they’ll verify the listing right there and it’ll go live. Very convenient!

    You also mentioned that you had a 3 minute wait – if you don’t call during what I must assume were peak hours, they usually pick up within seconds. I generally hate phone calls but calling Google support is always pleasant.

  6. Mike,
    I’ve spent so much time groaning over the past half decade about the lack of support, I feel it my duty to emit a small ‘hurrah’ these days for this long-awaited, badly needed feature. Thanks for giving your assessment of the quality of phone support, Mike.

  7. @Mala
    Google will call back a US based number only but you should be able to get English language support by using a US based area code via Skype or Google Voice.

  8. I have found the calls to be successful – now if only one of the many calls would result in a non-broken business dashboard where I could do everything.

  9. Found something interesting: It seems as though Google’s phone support has just recently changed or they are testing changes to the phone support process. I can’t access the typical “call us” page (should be named “call me”) outlined here: http://blumenthals.com/blog/2013/01/08/google-local-now-providing-phone-support-for-verification-issues/.

    I tried about every option in the form steps (from more than one account) in an attempt to get the immediate phone call but it only rolls over to options for getting email responses or leaving information for them to call you… apparently when they get around to it because I am still waiting on a phone call.

    Anyone else had this or similar experience today or recently?

  10. @ryan – I am not having any trouble getting to the call screen. Are you receiving an error message or are you just not getting a call when they say that they’ll call you?

  11. Ah I see. It happens for me too when I follow those instructions.
    I usually get to the support call by going to that link:
    > “I tried PIN verification for a single listing”
    > “The Status is Needs Action”
    > Scroll to the bottom and click “Call us.” (Second to last paragraph)

    Does that work for you?

  12. Ah, I normally select “The Status is NOT Needs Action” which, for whatever reason, isn’t currently working. This is about the only thing I had not tried but this does work for me. Good call! Thanks,

    I should mention, on this call, this is the first time a Google representative has asked me whether or not I was an employee of the company. Since I am not, he wanted to know what company I worked for, etc., etc. He then verified that we had the authority to edit the listing by calling the branch manager while I was on the line. I found this interesting.

  13. Ryan, they moved things around. On that new page you linked to above click “Contact Us”

    They’ve removed the troubleshooters from the place they’ve always been and put most of the troubleshooter features including “call us” up under contact us. (However it depends on if you have old or new dash, there are different help screens depending on which type of account you are logged into.)

    It’s been reported at my forum that the “call us” option is missing in the old dash, but I can find it sometimes and sometimes not. But right now that link above and contact us pulls it up for me.

  14. Google’s support services may be working well in the USA, meanwhile in Europe they are nonexistent. I’ve been struggling to delete some duplicate listings for over one year and so far I haven’t received any reply. :(

  15. That’s great to hear. Meanwhile, does anyone know what businesses who must use a PO Box because they don’t get mail delivery can do? The city they’re located simply does not do mail delivery so the businesses get a free PO Box at the post office. They are a service business that goes out to residences however do get customers who go to their store to purchase supplies. Help?!

  16. It appears Google has removed (hopefully temporarily) the call back support. When I go to the “My listing has incorrect information” screen and click on “Listing data, including title, address, phone, URL, categories, hours, descripton or coupons”, then click on “Yes, I’ve tried the report a problem link from the maps”, the “call us” link is there but it redirects to another menu screen rather than the screen where you can initiate a call back. I can still fill out a form requesting help, but I did that last week and have not received a response back. This is a huge disappointment. The quality and quickness of service the phone support offered was fantastic.

  17. Alyssa
    There is a bug in some of the links connecting older versions of the dashboard to the help system. Just go to the main page of the Help Files and you will find the contact button that allows for phone calls during US working hours and with US call back numbers (it will work for international listings i English but you need to give Google a US number to call back)

  18. Phone support has been a lifesaver for us many times fixing duplicate issues and verifying listings over the phone. I’m in Canada and never had an issue with our callbacks & local number. It even bypasses our automatic switchboard somehow and rings through.

    Thought I was going to get a raise on the spot when I told my boss you could actually call Google.

  19. Their phone support is HORRIBLE. I have clicked their red button to ask for a phone call 3 times this morning, waited the suggested one minute before making each subsequent request for phone contact. I have now been waiting about 35+ minutes for any response to any of the three requests I have made. Not impressed.

  20. My line is a direct line. There is no automated attendant. The line is open and it is working. I still have not received any phone call from Google and it has now been almost an hour.

  21. I just used my cell phone to call my business office number and my business phone rang just fine. Any technical difficulties are not at this end. I will try using my cell phone however to see if Google will respond in some fashion.

  22. @Mary
    It could be that Google auto dialing system is having trouble connecting with the type of line that you have for some reason. If the cell works let me know and I will report back to Google so they can investigate.

  23. I was able to receive a call using my cell number as the reply phone number. My office number is a land line provided by the major phone carrier in my geographical area and has been working fine all day. The support person from Google did not know why there was a problem in contacting me using my office phone number but also did not seem interested in making note of that or forwarding the issue on anywhere else. She did check out a few things on the basic issue that caused me to attempt to contact Google to begin with today and then advised she did not know why I had been advised to contact Google to begin with. Google has always seemed and continues to seem wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy too big such that concern for the basic customer has been lost in general and product pitches now are just made to the masses on the belief that enough will work most of the time such that particular attention to individual issues is not of great importance. It’s one of the reasons why I generically avoid doing business with Google. Thank you for your assistance today though….warm smile

  24. @Mary – The Blumenthals blog followers in association with the rest of the Local SEO community welcomes you with open arms and sympathetic hearts to the world of Google Local.

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