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Mike Blumenthal says Google has "saved millions of dollars by not providing support." This lack of support, especially for small business owners, includes ignoring almost four dozen complaints to the BBB.
Comments12 Comments  


from rustybrick 3871 Days ago #
Votes: 0

At least a C- is an improvement over last year's D. :)

from earlpearl 3871 Days ago #
Votes: 0

All they have to do is respond.  It appears Google's rate of response compared to other businesses is dismal, far worse than that of other businesses, and only marginally better than it was a year ago.   They still choose not to respond in many cases.That is in stark contrast to other businesses.  I can't think of businesses that simply choose to ignore complaints and manage to get away with it and don't get criticized for that type of consumer reaction.As Mike suggested its simply an incredibly low and simple method of measurement that any business could do well with should they choose not to be stubbornly close mouthed.

from seobro 3871 Days ago #
Votes: -3

Google just loves to ignore. They hate customers and prefer to use the crapple model - we are so great that we can treat you as crap. It will catch up to them soon.

For example, do you think that people were constanly asking mods - please get rid of voting as it is eating all my time voting on your wonderful stories that I beg you get rid of voting now.

Mods are angry that they do not have all the power. The king don't wanna hear from no peons. Folks, over time companies that do not listen to customers go under like GM, but it takes time for people to get fed up.

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from MattMcGee 3871 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Hehehehe... :-) No, no one was asking us to get rid of voting. But everyone's actions spoke MUCH louder.

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from Jill 3871 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I'd like to know what people were complaining about in regards to Google. I wouldn't be surprised if they were complaining about organic results, in which case, of course they wouldn't respond.

But the avg. consumer may not understand that. If they were real paying customers of Google's who are complaining about a service they're paying for, that's another matter.I was actually pleasantly surprised this week when Google helped fix an Adwords / Analytics account get linked properly when it couldn't be done on the client's end themselves. Very impressive! I thought for sure they'd just ignore it.

from earlpearl 3871 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Jill:Clearly there are misdirected questions.  That is not the issue.   Spend some time inside the Google Places Forum.  You'll find that questions go unanswered.  There are many powerful disturbing problems.  They don't get answered.  They don't get resolved.

I'm involved in an issue right now.  Some businesses are simply losing their visibility.  There is an existing algo problem.  Data is getting misdirected.  Its a mess.   There was google commentary on either 9/24 or 9/25.  There have been a myriad of comments since then.  The issues continue.   A google staffer commented today.   That is about 2 weeks without a peep.

  Here is my worst example:   A couple of years ago I assisted a business that had a plusbox issue.  The plusbox information was highlighted and it gave the wrong address for the business.   The business kept reporting that people were driving to the wrong address.  In every case wherein a potential customer complained the reason for the wrong address was always given as google.

After a couple of complaints a google employee said they would look at the problem and get back to the business shortly.  Isn't that great and a fine example of potential customer service?  Nine months later, and nobody from google ever responded to the business.  Hm...babies were conceived and born during that period.  I aged a lot.  Google never got back to the complaining business.

After nine months and a lot of research by non-google people on why this plusbox and many others were giving out wrong addresses...a couple of us began to write that we were about to reveal the inner workings of what was seeming to occur and why erroneous plusbox addresses were showing.  Bingo.  the problem got solved.   Google corrected the plusbox flaw, pretty much across the board.   Coincidence or not?   Can't say for sure. 

It does remind though of the time Danny Sullivan tried to contact his local police department and found that google places/maps record was providing the phone number of the town jail.After that outrageous example....that misinformation got solved in a day.

  The contrast is that the complaints in the Google Places forum go largely unanswered and unresolved forever...if not for a long time.   Very rarely do google employees respond.  The response efforts are sporadic at best.Look through the google places forum yourself and form an opinion on how the responsiveness works.

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from Jill 3870 Days ago #
Votes: 0

It's a tricky situation for sure because they're providing that information for free. While it certainly seems that if they're going to provide it they need to do it accurately, it's hard to say what the customer service should be for free stuff.

My guess is that they're going to get sued over the sort of things you mention @earlpearl when it starts driving potential customers to competitors as that's clearly a monetary loss and something that can be sued over. If people are misdirected, it seems almost like a trademark infringement issue, even if it's done by mistake.

Will be interesting to watch it play out. Ideally, Google will fix their infrastructure for Places information. Mine's been screwed up too, so I can relate!

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from MattMcGee 3870 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Customer service isn't (and shouldn't be) limited to companies that offer paid services. Twitter is free, yet they have to provide customer service when things are broken. Same with Facebook and countless other companies, right?

Google's ignorance of complaints from small/local biz owners is pretty legendary by now. Maps/Places is a nightmare for a lot of folks. Google spends way too much time pitching its services to new SMBs then trying to serve the ones who are already using its products.

from earlpearl 3870 Days ago #
Votes: 0


I didn't specifically articulate this. Google does fix things. Sometimes they do it quickly. They tend to do it when the problem might become embarrasing: The situation I referenced with Danny Sullivan, and the Google Places record that refereenced the phone number to the town jail rather than the police department; Another instance that generated a quick fix was a couple of years ago when Bill Slawski found a map record that referenced the girl scouts for a search query for Miami gun shop. (I'd fix that one right away, too) ;) They can fix things quickly in many cases. Sometimes the issues are deeper and require a systemic change. They in fact have communicated in several of those cases. In most cases, though, they are simply mute. SMB's are urged to come into the forums for Google Places; they have problems; they generally go unanswered. Its an incredible general fail with regard to customer service.

from MikeRamsey 3870 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Also, I think it is important to remember that Google is monetizing Places. Tags are $25 a month and the support is still non existant/week considering that if they had a support team that helped people with issues (that care about there listings) then they are getting more businesses in the 7 pack that have had access to a google employee that can push their products.

Google, is not saving money by not offering Places support. Good support leads to product upsales. Ask GoDaddy, Apple, and even Walmart customer service centers.

1 person in Google Places asnwering and fixing concerns could probably deal with 20+ issues a day. If 1/2 of the poeple signed up for tags because of the help *(and a link to a free tag for the first month) then that employee is generating $2,750 for the year....each day. That would be $1,003,750 dollars in tags a year and I am pretty sure that they employee would not make that. Pay them $50,000 and you have an ROI that is 20 times the cost. Not offering support is simple ignorance and pushes more people away from Google Places than bringing them in.

from aish1108 3869 Days ago #
Votes: 0

My website earns >$10K a month in revenue from Google AdSense. My website is squeaky clean. No gimmicks, no copyright infringement just plain clean fun.

A few days ago I received an email notifying me that I have 3 days to correct the way AdSense units are displayed on my website because the current display is a problem.

That's it! That's all the information I was given. What unbelievable Chutzpa! I am their business partner and that is how they treat me? Unbelievable!

from LindaBuquet 3869 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I've been one of the most vocal on Google Places recently in that 9/23 buggy update thread and here's a MAJOR problem I have. And it makes my heart literally hurt sometimes for these poor small business people that can't get any help!

Yes Google Places is a free service...

AND if Places was a mature, bug-free, easy to understand, self service platform - they would not need that much support...

HOWEVER 90% of the problems on the forum are from bugs and/OR a totally broken scraping mechanism that continuously creates bogus duplicates and overwrites VERIFIED merchant data with sloppy erroneous data it pulls from who knows where.

If you stripped away specific buggy problems like rashes of missing reviews or lines through images or broken QR codes.

If you stripped away complaints about being rejected, suspended or pending review. Which are sometimes deserved end-user caused problems. (But are also often times innocent mistakes like a Plumber in Dallas making the horrible mistake of putting in his description that he's - of all terrible things - A what?  A plumber in Dallas!)

If you stripped away what some would consider dumb questions - however they are from small business people who maybe aren't that technical, so you can't blame them for being confused.

THEN WHAT YOU ARE LEFT WITH, when you really think about it  - are the MYRIAD of problems that Google itself causes.

A businesses phone number or website being changed to the wrong number or worse yet, a competitor's info (due to scraped data). Who can blame these poor business people who are loosing customers, for wanting support! Duplicate problems (due to scraped data) Who can blame them when their ranking tanks due to a dupe stealing 90 reviews, like just happened to one of my clients. Split, rogue, ghost or mirror dupes. (Due to bugs and/or scraping). Missing tags, double ghost tags, can't cancel tags or when they added tags then other problems cropped up (due to bugs). Broken QR codes (bugs). I could go on & on & on!

Anyone who lives Google Places like I do and spends lots of time on the forum I think would agree  - that a great majority of the problems are caused by Google and not operator error.

So when Google's own system is what causes so many problems for these poor small business people, I think GOOGLE should be held accountable, fix the problems and offer support  - EVEN IF PLACES is a free service!

I am so busy with dupes, bugs, troubleshooting and a myriad of problems - I've had to stop accepting clients because I am so buried in problems with existing clients I can't take on any new ones.

Can you tell I'm a little frustrated?/endrant


(Copying this over at Mike's too.)

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