I have finally resolved a problem that I was having with Google AdWords on behalf of one of my customers. At first, I had an extremely negative experience with Google's Customer Support/Technical Support, and it was not the first time either. Indeed, every time I have had to contact Google for help with AdWords, I came away from the experience angry and frustrated, and typically ended up resolving the problem on my own.
This time was different!
Initially, everything with the interaction went wrong. I had emailed support, and it said that they would take up to 48 hours to respond, which is unacceptable by any standard. And they did indeed take about 45 hours to get back in touch with me. They sent me an email with completely useless instructions. I did not know the proper username, and they sent password reset instructions which I had specifically stated in my email that I could not perform because I did not know the username. I had responded to that email reiterated the problem, and expressing that I was very displeased that they did not seem to have actually read my initial email. They responded with another email, this time telling me that I had a Google Account with the email address I told them I thought I had used. I had explained in both emails that the email address had a Google Account linked to it, but not an AdWords Account. So to receive this response added fuel to my fire. I responded back desparate and pleading for actual support. They replied with the phone number for support. To make things worse, each sequence of emails took nearly 48 hours, not including weekends!
When I first called AdWords Support, I received a voice mail system saying that they were unavailable... at around noon EST! I tried again later.
At that point, a fantastic support representative named Laura answered the phone, after a zero second wait time. Wow! She made all the difference in the world. I barely had to wait for her to retreive the proper information and walk me through linking the Google Account to the AdWords Account (I had previously tried this, but it said that the email address did not have an AdWords Account tied to it). This time it worked, I beleive she had to work some magic on her end to make it happen correctly.
But it gets even better! During the verification process, I entered the email address to be used incorrectly. A little while after my call with Laura had ended, she actually reviewed the account and saw that it looked like I had made a mistake. She promptly emailed me to let me know. Now that's what I call customer service! How many people have actually had a support person take a look at what happened after that phone was hung up, and then helped you out even more? None, I bet.
I have worked technical support over the phone. It is a miserable, thankless job 99% of the time. You have supervisors screaming about ASA (average speed of answer), hold times, prompt ticket closure, average call length, and all of the other metrics that determine their bonus, meanwhile you are at the bottom of the totem pole in terms of compensation with no bonus to speak of. You have 50 people under one manager, so advancement and promotion are unheard of. The company doesn't put any time or effort into training you or furthering your education, and they treat you like a paper towel. It is hard to keep a good attitude under those circumstances. I can't vouch for Google's team, but that's how it has been for everyone else I've ever met in that line of business.
Laura's attitude and the knowledge that she applied to this issue made all of the difference in the world. A few months ago, I asked (in a ZDNet talkback) "even if you were to outsource your email, why would you outsource it to Google? What do they know about outsourcing?" Part of that reaction stemed from all of the problems I had experience with Google Technical/Customer Support. If the next few interaction I have with Google Support are as good as the one I had with Laura, I will publically state that Google Support has changed its ways, and is now ready for prime time.
If it sounds like I'm gushing, I am. It is rare to have a good experience with any kind of support. When it happens, I want everyone to know about it, and share the good news.
I'd love to hear about your experiences with Google Support.
Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.