A year ago Google Places only had customer support by email. Today, things have changed as Google has now added phone based customer service reps. It certainly appears that Google intends serious business, with Google+ Local and Places.
Businesses rely on somewhat predictable trends. Not often will a company provide a “free” service with paid support personnel if they have no expectations of generating revenue by doing so, somewhere along the line. In business, “free” typically only happens when the company can foresee the “free” paying off down the road.Recently we reported on how “things have really picked up for Google+” and how “this time last year, Google+ had a bit more than 65 million unique visitors per month, but Google+ now has more than 105 million unique users visitors month” (see Google+ Now Brings In 105 Million Unique Visitors Per Month, But Is The Significant Growth By User Choice? http://www.dailyflux.com/google-brings-105-million-unique-visitors-month-significant-growth-user-choice/ ). In the article we concluded that Google was essentially “driving users to Google+”. The latest move by Google goes to support our theory as Google is adding live people to support a Google+ feature.
According to Google, business owners can use Google Places for Business to manage their business information. Whereas customers can rate, review and upload photos through Google+ Local. Google has never said it, but to anyone keeping an eye on them and their Google+ Local service, it’s fairly evident that Google is trying to find a viable way to monetize Google+ Local. In the past they tried: Tags (no longer in existence), Google Offers, and AdWords Express. Nothing really panned out for them, yet. You can be sure though when Google adds a customer service phone number to a “free” service that even offers them to call you back, that means Google is still looking to cash in on their investment.
Google is now offering phone support for their Google+ Local Pages, which includes Google Places. While at the moment it’s currently only for troubleshooting Google Places problems, the fact remains that Google is now providing support for a service that currently generates practically no revenue for the company – at the moment.
At the moment, the phone based customer service support is currently to be used for businesses that have tried to register their businesses electronically but have run into issues that have prohibited them from entering the correct data for their listing. Obviously the database is extremely important to Google, as each correct business listing adds value to the Google+ Local database in which businesses can enter numerous bits of information about their business, thus making Google+ Local all that much more valuable to Google.
The phone support is currently only being made available in the US only. To use it Google first wants the business to wait 15 days after their initial attempt. After that simply:
1. Go to the Google Places for Business – “I’m having a problem verifiying my listing(s)” http://support.google.com/places/bin/static.py?hl=en&ts=1399021&page=ts.cs
2. Select “I tried PIN verification for a single listing”
3. Select “Postcard” for “Which verification option did you most recently use?”
4. Select “Yes” for “Have you waited 15 days?”
Then either call them with the number provided or have them give you a call-back.