Google has long been known for its poor customer service. For years, customers have complained about slow response times and ineffective solutions. In May of 2014, however, the company announced a sea change in the Google customer service landscape. With new tools and a more customer-centric focus, the Internet giant hopes to improve the experience for business customers around the world.
Google's new customer service initiative currently targets businesses that advertise using the AdWords advertising system. According to Google, in the past, the customer satisfaction rating for AdWords was dismal, with a rating as low as 44 percent. Since the new service initiative launched, the satisfaction rating has jumped to an impressive 90 percent.
According to Forbes magazine, the new Google customer service program focuses heavily on real-time support. At one point, support staff handled just 10 percent of requests immediately. Now, the number is closer to 80 percent. The changes started with new Google customer service tools that include a live chat and live phone support line. These tools enable customers to get in touch with service representatives immediately after they experience a problem. With shorter wait times and real-time feedback, customers report seeing the support staff as a valuable resource.
A percentage of the improvements to the Google customer service rating is due to a new live video chat function, which allows customers to share their screen with a customer service representative for immediate help. Currently, these services are being rolled out in the United States and in some areas of Europe. The company plans to offer global video chat coverage during local business hours by the end of the second quarter.
The Google customer service improvements started when the company hired Deepak Khandelwal to revamp the company's reputation for poor service. In 2011, Information Week reported that Khandelwal was focused strongly on small businesses as a future source of revenue. To keep business customers coming in, he proposed free phone support, and months later, the company started offering support in the local language in 42 countries. Khandelwal's efforts have continued since 2011, culminating in the most recent initiative.
The new Google customer service tools are not open to all users; currently, they are available only to paying AdWords customers. For now, regular users of Google's free apps are still faced with the old email system, which is infamous for long wait times and unhelpful answers. For businesses that rely heavily on tools like Gmail and Google Drive, adequate support is not available. In the current free and low-cost pricing scheme for storage and services, widespread real-time support is unlikely to happen.
For AdWords users, Google customer service has improved by leaps and bounds. Though the future of service for other Google users is unclear, small businesses can view AdWords as a viable, well-supported advertising tool.
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