Tuesday, May 29, 2012

(empo-utoobd) When social companies become anti-social - who you gonna call at Google?

I've brought this up before, but it's relevant to bring it up again. When Google "permanently disabled" my YouTube account a few years ago, not only was I not informed why this was done, but I was offered no way to contact any real live person by phone, email, or whatever to find out why my account was permanently disabled.

However, in a way I can't be disappointed. As I myself have noted, I am not a Google customer. Google's customers are the advertisers that pay them money to advertise on the service. I don't pay them a dime, so I mean nothing to them.

But what of Google's true, paying customers? Let's take a look at the story of Pat Irwin Design:

While, as "Warren De Zeez" stated, there are Google 'freeloaders' in the world, there are also a very large number of legitimate, paying CUSTOMERS of Google who from time to time, need support which goes beyond a message board of other users looking for answers to the same problem, or an email form which only leads to a pre-formatted response and a link to the same, fruitless message boards.

I am responsible for twenty(+) clients who pay a very large amount of money to Google for Ad Words campaigns, totaling well over 40,000 per month. I personally use Google Checkout to process 15k a month in transactions, with Google taking a 2.9% cut off the top. In either case, I have NEVER been able to reach anyone at Google to resolve either technical or billing problems. It is irresponsible for a company, such as Google, to NOT provide at least a minimum amount of telephone support for customers who are actually making financial transactions with them.

In addition to not providing telephone support, it appears they intentionally make receiving ANY kind of support a laborous, frustrating and time consuming process. Do I really have to fill out three different forms, read eight different FAQ's and scroll through six different message boards to find a departmental email? Only to receive a form letter stating, "We're sorry you're having a problem with...."

Bullocks to Google!

This story was posted as a comment to a Los Angeles Times article that described the inability of others to talk to a real live person at Google. David Lazarus' article spent some time on the story of Steve Gillette, who was getting repeated text messages from Google that appeared to be part of an identity theft scam. Lazarus wanted to talk to someone at Google, but couldn't. In the end, the journalist Lazarus ended up making contact with a real person at Google (Jeff Pulver used similar pull to get his YouTube account restored), and discovered that someone had keyed in Gillette's mobile phone number by mistake. So the fact that Gillette couldn't contact someone about this is a failure, right? Wrong:

Once it became clear to Google's computers that the texts and calls were going unanswered, the company stopped bugging Gillette. In this way, Freund observed, all's well that ends well.

"The situation was self-resolving," she said.

Unfortunately for Google, some of these situations are self-resolving in other ways. Commenter Tony Lush:

Google has lots of employees, but no people, so I advertise with their competitors.

Incidentally, I originally discovered this Los Angeles Times story courtesy of a Lauren Weinstein share. Now Weinstein, who notes that many complaints about Google are actually misunderstandings, also notes that many people have difficult getting any type of answer from Google.

In many cases users claimed they had attempted to obtain clarification of their concerns from Google directly without receiving substantive replies, and/or had attempted to obtain information from Google Help Forums -- but received no answers, inadequate answers, or conflicting answers from Forum participants. Usually no official responses were forthcoming, according to these submissions

The irony of all this? Google, and its competitors such as Facebook (and no, you can't call Facebook either), are often classified as "social media" companies.

Yeah, social. Like people talking to each other.

Just don't have any expectations of being able to talk to the service provider.
blog comments powered by Disqus