As a Google specialist, I pride myself on my ability to help my clients with all of their online issues, including Google Local, Maps and Google+. As our offices recently moved, I would like to share my personal experience with Google Business Listings.
First, I would like to say that I like Google; a lot. I have had great success with them with getting my websites to the top pages organically, on Adwords and on the Maps. But my tale of woe starts 2 weeks ago when we moved into our new offices in Manchester, NH. Let me break it down for y'all...
Before we moved, we registered our corporation in New Hampshire and did all we could to make our move as seamless as possible. We took the time to update our business listings online with Yext, Bing and hundreds of Directories online, all without incident. Then we turned our attention to Google Business Listings. When we did a search, we found to our surprise that Google had added a duplicate listing for our company in North Carolina, as well as our normal listing we've had for years. No worries, we'll just claim this listing and delete it, according to the Google guidelines.
So, after claiming the listing, we went through the process of deleting it. All seemed to go well, but an hour later, we could no longer log into the email account used for Google, and we lost access to all of our Google tools, including our Adwords, email, business listings and so on. The message we received was that the email had been deleted. So we contacted Google through normal email channels, only to be told that the account never existed, and was impossible to delete the way we described. Ok, I can deal with that, we had another email account attached to the original (a practice I highly recommend by the way) and regained access to our pages. Then we noticed our original listing was suspended, due to the address change; which is weird, they usually just ask for a verification post card. But ok, I clicked on "get help" and filled out the form to get the listing reinstated. That's where the fun began.
The next day, I received an email saying that the Google+ page reference could not be found. So, I verified I was sending them the right link and sent it again. No reply for another 24 hours, then I received an email saying they needed more information, specifically a copy of my business license. No problem, I scanned it and emailed it to them. Two days later, my listing was still suspended, and I received another 'canned' email that my Google+ page reference could not be found. OK, I sent them the link again. Nothing for another two days, then the same canned email came in again. I decided to find a phone number and call them directly.
When I called, I got through to an Indian-based phone room that was very loud and spoke to a gentleman who was not easily understood, as Google seems to have outsourced everything to slave-waged jobs overseas. I guess they don't make enough money to hire American, but OK, I figured he must be trained, so what's the difference, right? Well, the gentleman told me that the original deletion of my email account was impossible, so couldn't have happened. They had no record of that email ever being in their systems, even though I used it for 3 years with them. Then he told me that he needed to escalate the issue, because he could not help me. OK, whatever you need to do, let's just get this done already! Every day for the next 3 days, I received calls from Google India from different people telling me they needed more information, then had to escalate my case. Finally, I received an email 15 days after this all started that the listing was now approved, and all is well with the universe. Not an hour later, I received another call from India saying they needed my business license again. So, I sent them another email with it while on the phone, and was told that this looked like a photocopy, could I scan the original and send that to them? Oh yeah, and they wanted a copy of my Federal Employee Number as well, all to prove that I was who I claimed to be.
By this point, I was understandably agitated. I had jumped through all the fire-lit hoops Google had placed in front of me, and even after I was told all was well, they were still harassing me like a common criminal! When I explained this to the Indian fellow, he told me that many people lie and cheat to get their erroneous listing into Google Maps, and they needed to be careful to deliver legitimate business in their map listings. I explained to him that here in America, forging a State document is a felony, and if I had the gall to do such a thing, the Feds would be knocking at my door with some nice new wrist jewelry to try on.
Overall, I would say that Google has a right and reason to be careful, but really guys? Two weeks of going back-and-forth with India, no one speaks English well and they make you feel like a criminal trying to get one over on them. My message to Google is this - you have more money than God, why can't you support the American economy and hire American workers who understand American businesses? Do you really have to outsource all your jobs overseas to save a buck when you make billions in profits per month? For a company whose slogan is "don't be evil", they are doing a great job of taking away American jobs to save money, while they are providing terrible customer service. Food for thought, Larry Page.
Addendum - The night after I wrote this, our offices got a phone call at 8:30pm from our Indian friend with good news - our listing has been approved, un-suspended, and will appear in the maps shortly. Today, our Google+ page is active, but the Maps listing still comes up with our old address. Stay tuned...
UPDATE August 14, 2015 - Today my Maps location marker is still on my previous address in the state of NC (we are now in NH) and 'moving the marker' once again does nothing. I emailed Alok, the Indian support guy and he called us back to tell us to 'Report a Problem' (which I told him we already did) and proceeded to read to me the procedure I told him we already did - twice. He insisted I do it again, this time with a NOTE telling the Maps Team what the issue is. I told him we had done this twice, and he stuttered because I broke his regurgitation of Google policies. Google, are you listening? Your customer service rating online has dropped to less than 2%, with over 98% of people complaining about India Support incompetence. Take heed! See http://www.customerservicescoreboard.com/Google
UPDATE August 17th, 2015 - Our listing is finally published in the Maps, and displays the correct address and Map Location. Yesterday I had another yellow message on my listing that the location had been updated, but it still displayed the old Map marker; so I moved it again for the third time, and it finally took! I would like to thank the support team for helping me with this, it only took India 21 days to change an address in Google Maps, while Bing and Yahoo took about 5 minutes. Maybe outsourcing to India wasn't such a hot idea after all, and Google should seriously consider hiring American.