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.
(First help screen seen when you click on the help link in the dashboard)
(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.
How Good is Google Places for Business Phone Support? Very Good by Mike Blumenthal