Aug 202012

Google’s algorithms often have weird sense of humor. One of these is the algorithm responsible for choosing what type of verification options would be available for your Plus Local (Places) listing. In the majority of the cases, there would be just the postcard option given, especially if your company doesn’t have an already existing listing. Once in a blue moon you might get to use phone verification (and that is why so many are interested in workarounds to make this happen more often). But what if you have some kind of automated phone system and the big G decides to strike? Google’s verification bot is not smart, so if it is requested to “click 1 for customer service”, it won’t. It will just hang up. Here are three of the most sound suggestions:

1) Use the troubleshooter:

In October 2011, a troubleshooter for problems related to Google Places was launched. You can use it for this sort of verification issues, too:

– Go to “I’m having a problem verifiying my listing(s).

– Choose “I tried PIN verification for a single listing.”

– Choose “The status is not Needs Action.”

– Choose “Phone”

– Choose “My phone number was for a business line.”

– Choose “Yes”

– Fill in the requested information and hit “Submit”.

The downside of this option is that you would have to rely too much on the mercy of Google’s customer service reps, and sometimes they are not offering the best service in the market. However, this is the recommended method (by Google, not necessarily by me).

2) Use a workaround:

The system allows only up to 3 verifications per phone number. This means that if you fail 3 times, your only option left would be the postcard one. Do this if you feel postcard verification is the most suitable for your business.

3) Pause your automated system:

This one is obvious. It might have the positive side that you will get verified almost instantly (the whole process takes about 5 minutes overall), but at the same time if you are a business that gets at least a few calls every hour, it might mean a missed/unhappy client or two. Use it at your own risk.

Have you/your clients faced such problems? What “tactic” did you use?

  4 Responses to “Google+ Local Phone Verification for Businesses with Automated Phone System”

Comments (4)
  1. Nyagoslav:

    I have to be honest, I’ve never understoond all the fuss about phone verification vs. postcard verification. My clients have been getting their postcards within a week. I guess for me, waiting a week isn’t such a big deal. As someone that is creating and managing Google+ pages for clients, phone verification would rarely work for me anyway as the clients would need to be near their phones to verify. I actually find postcard verification to be very convenient. I don’t have to bother the client to make sure they are near their phone and they can simply email me the PIN when they get a chance.

    I understand business owners that are managing their own pages might want phone verification but again, what’s the big deal to have to wait a week for a postcard?

    Travis Van Slooten

    • Travis, the main problem is that there are many instances in which:
      1) Mail is not delivered to the physical address and PO box is normally used (something that Google now disallows).
      2) Mail is irregularly and/or insecurely delivered.
      3) The business is located in a building where their address is not perfectly specified – a very fresh example would be a computer repair store located at the basement floor of a building, where they didn’t have suite number or anything specific.
      4) Large-scale companies in which it is not precisely clear who is the person in charge of Google+ Local’s verification.
      In all these cases postcard verification might be truly troublesome. But you are completely right – it really varies case-by-case.

  2. The additional problem is that in some countries ONLY phone verification is allowed as the verification method. This means that we have no choice but to use the phone verification method and believe me, we have had instances where we just could not get the client to understand that they need to stop their automated phone system for that period. This is particularly tricky since the phone verification need to be timed – they will ONLY phone at that particular time so if the technical people in charge of the phone system, and the operator that will be manning the phone are not all geared and ready at that particular moment, it causes a problem. I would love to know about workarounds APART from saying that the phone system should be paused…

    • Christine, your case is very interesting and rather unique. South Africa has been having problems with Google Places for more than a year now, and I do not think it is in Google’s priority list to resolve these, unfortunately. In cases like yours, what Google recommends is using the verification troubleshooter in the way I describe in the post. It is possible that the response might come slower, though.

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