Feb 082013

Google Maps Moderators Phone Number
Joel Headley of Google shared the following:

“… NAP consistency is important not just online, but real world. Not just signage, but in phone conversations. I expect, and so does our quality team, to hear the full and complete name of the business over the phone. When it is answered or when specifically asked.”

He also said that if the calling data quality moderator hears the business presenting themselves in even slightly different way from what is listed on their Google+ page, this might result in the moderator taking the decision to change the business name.

While I generally do agree that consistency should be observed both online and in the real world – for branding purposes to say the least, I see a major problems with such an approach: too much power is given to a single person to decide how to modify something of such importance for any business. I would be fine with that if I was convinced that the quality data moderator is as well-trained as possible. Unfortunately, I am not. On the contrary, there are hundreds of reports (here, here, here, and many others) of bad quality service by the quality moderators. The main issues reported are:

– Bad to incomprehensible English

– Generally rude behavior

– Lack of explanation of the reason for the calling

– And above all – mistakenly being recognized as telemarketers, mostly as a consequence of the above three problems

My advice: make sure that you, your customer service representatives, your secretary, and anyone who might be picking up your business phone, actually do pick up the phone call from 650-253-2000, because this IS Google Maps. And when you pick up make sure that you (or whoever picks) state the information as it should appear on Google Maps. If you are “Plumbing and Heating Dallas” on Google Places, then present yourself this way on the phone. If you haven’t hidden your address on Google Places, make sure you state that you DO serve clients at your business location. Otherwise there might be no salvation for you even if you are Andrew Shotland.

*Image courtesy of Andrew Shotland

  18 Responses to “Google: Your NAP Should Be Consistent Both Online and in the Real World”

Comments (18)
  1. Nothing but great stuff here again Nyagoslav! Is the number the same across the board? I would assume so but I have used Google Voice for a number of things and it seems like when my calls are routed that way it changes.

  2. I have never spoken to a Google Maps rep, so I can’t comment on how competent they are or are not. But it is kinda scary that one person has so much control over a business’ listing in Google Maps and can alter it as they deem fit. But again, it emphasizes the point that a NAP should be consistent everywhere, which includes what you say when you answer the phone, because you never know who might be calling.

  3. Thanks, Nyagoslav. I can see where Google is coming from (not that it would matter a whole lot if I didn’t!), but there are too many gray areas here that could hurt a business owner who’s just trying to follow the rules.

    For instance, what if the person at Google misunderstands and then misspells your business name (or, if you’re a doctor or lawyer, your name? Or what if you pause for whatever reason or say “Umm”?

    I know nobody knows at this stage, but I share your concerns. These phone calls could soeasily become a Spanish Inquisition or a painful brush with idiocy or very poor training – at the expense of honest business owners.

  4. As Buddha says – Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.

  5. This is great information to relay to our customers. Thanks, Nyagoslav!

  6. @Andrew

    Yes, but it’s kind of hard to finish chanting your 40,000 Namu Amida Butsu when someone keeps tickling your nose with a feather.

  7. In the Nordics the call comes from the Ireland office. They do use people with local knowledge, but you probably want to make sure you name your business right if you suddently get a call from Ireland. The lack of explanation of the reason to call is still there though.

    • Thanks for the comment, Rasmus! Actually I think in big parts of Europe the calls are coming from Google’s Ireland office. It is sad to know that the customer service is at the same level, though.

  8. These callers from Google seem to hold a certain amount of power that can override anything a business owner uses in the Places dashboard. I almost wish there was an option to request one of these calls from Google when you are having data issues with a business name in order to get it corrected.

  9. Great work, not much I like better than a NAP article.

  10. Great post and I’d agree – Google are only going to keep trying to integrate offline data quality signals into their processes. Is anybody aware of Google running such checks with Australian businesses? I have seen plenty of local businesses using fake business locations & keyword-altered business names on Google+ Local. They’re getting away with it so far, so it’ll be interesting to see if Google Australia are making moves to eradicate this kind of spam.

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