Yes Dorothy, there are real people at Google Places that answer the phone and can help!

I got a call on Thursday from my “NEW” Google Places rep. You may recall my post in April about my 1st Google Places rep who I called “Agent A“. In that post I shared some things he told me about what sounded like an effort to offer more live support.

My new rep who I’ll refer to as Agent B called to 1) Try to sell me Boost. 2) See if I needed help with anything. B told me A had ‘moved on’. I was sad because he was SO helpful but now after my talk with B I think I may possibly be in even better hands. I also not have even more hope that Google is rolling out support for all. I didn’t ask for permission to quote any of this, so am keeping B anonymous and will just share the gist of the conversation.

When I told B about the type of support A offered me and asked if B was also available to help me with tech support problems that did not involve a Boost client or sale, B said yes that he/she was my rep for ANYTHING I needed for ANY Google product, even all the free ones and that if he/she could not help B would refer me to someone that could. B said there was now phone support available and it was their job to help with problems and not just to sell Boost or other paid services.

So I put B to the test and asked for help with a long standing dupe problem I’ve been dealing with. I asked if I should email the details because A had told me for tech support I needed to email the store ID and other pertinent data so he could escalate the issue. B said NO. Google would rather have B get the info by phone so there was personal connection instead of just having the reps impersonally doing emails back and forth with people all day. INTERESTING!

So I just gave B the phone # for the Places listings and we looked at the problem listings together in maps and I explained the situation. I FULLY expected B to say I’ll TRY to escalate this to the tech team. NO! B said DUPES ARE EASY! I’ll just give this to my boss and he can delete all the extra dupes. WHAT??? Then B said if by chance B’s boss did not have time to do it this week then they’d take care of it in their ’roundtable’ session. (If I remember right, it was roundtable.) B went on to explain that once a week some of the tech team come to their office and they all sit down and work together to clean up any tech problems that are outstanding. Wow – OUTSTANDING!!!

DUPES ARE EASY? Anyone that knows me, knows that dupes are the bane of my existence and every single client I have has numerous issues with dupes. It eats my time and frustrates me to no end. So I’m anxious to see if it’s really this easy. Someone will just delete problem dupes for me??? Will keep you posted and add an update if/when the dupe gets taken care of!

Now even though B made it sound like it’s new company policy for Google Places to offer phone support, that was not an official Google statement. I have not seen it announced and people in the GP forum continue to struggle. There is no big red announcement at the top of the forum saying Call 800-For-Help and Google reps are not replying to problems saying, just call us and we’ll help you fix the problem.

So I’m not going to publicly announce here how to get phone support, as I don’t know if Google is just slowly ramping it up or what. And I don’t want to spread the word to every Tom, Dick, Spammer, Scammer and Time Waster that could be reading this blog.

However, if you are a fellow contributor to the Mihm Local Ranking Factors, a regular commenter on my blog, part of my local insiders circle – I’ll share. Use my contact form with a REAL EMAIL address from your domain, so I can confirm who you are. (I’m not giving this info out to any Yahoo with a Yahoo email address.) Put in the subject: Google Phone Support.

I won’t give out the direct phone, extension and name of my rep and I won’t give you a generic 800# to call, but will tell you the best way to get the name, phone number and extension for your own Google Place rep. It’s easy!

I will also ask that you promise with a virtual handshake to only use the info to help your own clients and will not publicly publish the info I give you. If Google is not ready to publicly announce phone support yet, then I don’t want the info leaked to the general public which includes spammers and scammers. If it does and Google gets bombarded with time wasting calls, then none of us will be able to get through for help with legitimate problems AND they could shut down support before it even officially launches. So if you contact me asking for this info you need to be prepared to treat it as the precious resource that it is.

Side note: I have an important GP survey coming out plus MAJOR info about how the new merged (blended) algo REALLY works and some related tools and tips you can’t afford to miss. So subscribe and stay tuned into the Catalyst channel.