• Ian Leong

    Not too surprising, but disappointing nonetheless. On a somewhat related note – IIRC roughly a third of Google’s workforce was comprised of contractors several years ago.

  • http://www.summitweb.net/seo-inverness-scotland.html Martin Oxby

    Time to start vetting contractors and making sure they actually know Google’s own policies before selling Google’s services. Basic principle, no?

  • Toni Voutilainen

    Sadly they’re more and more sales people first and foremost. Some of them seem to have very challenging sales quotas — couple of times had a G rep asking if a client’s ad spend could be boosted before a quarter comes to a close.

    Guess there’s a correlation between advertisers getting smarter and hence overspending less and account reps forced to focus more on being sales reps…

  • Aussiewebmaster

    so I guess its not just Groupon that is having problems with their sales reps

  • Dr. Pete

    The contractor excuse is pretty flimsy when your entire sales organization is pushing people to act a certain way. Every call I had with an Adwords rep over 2-3 years was 70%+ upsell, and the only in-person meeting I ever had was just as bad. I’m not saying the reps were bad people or bad at their jobs, and no one was swearing at me, but it’s crystal clear that they are instructed to aggressively upsell and exactly how to get clients to increase spend.

  • zombieblaster

    I’ve never really been impressed with the depth of Adwords reps. I went to the mothership at Mountain View when they had a big Display Network event and had a few interactions that led me to believe the people behind the scenes were MORE than capable, but the pretty faces I talked to on my weekly call lacked even a basic understanding of what was going on.

    This was highlighted by a lunchtime conversation which revealed the Account Rep I was sitting across from didn’t even know what MSN Adcenter was!

    Oh! and their favorite optimization suggestion? “Have you tried spending more?”

  • Jeff Loquist

    If your Google rep has not tried to upsell products to you, you are probably not speaking to a Google rep. Get off the phone immediately. They are probably a huckster!

  • Wreckshop Rob

    From my experience working at call centers in my youth, 3rd party support is usually very under-trained. I worked for both Dell and Microsoft Software and the two companies that had contracts with them were equally terrible. All they cared about was how much you sold or if providing support, how long your average phone time was. Ridiculous metrics to measure customer service by.

  • Ronnie’s Mustache

    Ha- Was it an actual Google rep, or be of the shady people/companies they pay to get accounts to adopt new programs?

    Google treats Advertisers like absolute GARBAGE!!

  • Sukh Singh

    I’ve experienced “salesy” talk too, I thought nothing of it at the time as I thought even if they do get incentives, they are probably helping us optimise our accounts legitimately so that the more performance we see, the more we’ll spend with them expanding the campaign. prob naive of me as it seems its always they way, big business = inevitable lapse of morals to get even more business – “don’t be evil” my arse!

  • Melissa Mackey

    Good post Ginny. I blogged about a similar, although much less egregious, experience I had months ago. The rep’s sole job was to upsell us, either convincing us to add new clients or getting existing clients to increase spend. He offered no help whatsoever with outstanding issues or questions on current clients – he was just a salesperson, not a rep. I miss the days when we had true Google reps who were invested in our clients’ success. The sad thing is, we’d spend more money if we had help from Google. As it is, we’re stuck with general support when something goes wrong – and we often end up just pausing campaigns rather than waste time and energy trying futilely to fix an issue. IMHO this hurts Google in the end.
    BTW, Bing has actual reps who help existing advertisers and don’t harass them to spend more. :)

  • PaulDillinger

    I’ve had refunds of over $19,000 in a month, and I regularly trim a few thousand here or there. My reps are excellent at getting a refund if I find the bad players. They don’t want them either.

  • PaulDillinger

    Google does have different levels of reps. When contacted by the low end reps I tend to cringe. My guess is that those guys are all outsourced. Their calls tend to be focused on how you can spend more money. Not at all useful. Once you get over the the hump (somewhere above a million dollars a year) the reps become teams of real Google employees with excellent resources. I wish everyone had access to the top tier reps, but I don’t think that would ever happen.

  • Pat Grady

    Our G reps have been great, and yes, they also push upsells, new products, spend, along with creative ideas. I see them as aligned with G’s goals, move the ball forward. If you’re the type who can’t say no, you don’t belong in management or leadership anyhow. Compared to other engines, and other tech support orgs of any kind, I’d rank G among the very best. We’ve had a few bumps, but we’ve traveled so many miles, I don’t think it’s possible to have avoided any friction.

    The assertion that “The account rep is willingly ignoring Google’s advertising policies” – I’ve never seen that before. I assume it’d be grounds for immediate termination. Smells like they happened to catch a rogue rep. I know, what are the chances of that, but think about it… cursing? I’ve never heard any G rep swear or even get cross (even when I’ve yelled at them first!). I think this is an outlier.

  • christian

    As an agency SEM guy, Google continues to frustrate me by calling my clients directly, usually trying to sell the garbage that is “express”. They are usually outside contractors, but represent themselves as Google and the client gets the perception that they don’t need us if they can work with Google, on Express, and Google will optimize for them for free.

    Then we have “Engage”, which is apparently changing to “Partners”, but is disorganized mess. We won a Chromebook during an Engage AdWords new business contest, but the laptop never came when promised, and if it wasn’t for our constant badgering, we never would have gotten the laptop.

    The 800 number is a total waste of time for me. I have found Google reps most useful as simply go-fers, to get a real answer to my question from real engineers. I’ve never had a person on the other ever be knowledgeable without needing to “look into that for me” except once (Thanks Charlie M. for your vast knowledge of remarketing in the Google implementation).

    Years ago, when we had local reps that actually visited our business from time to time, it was the same story – young college grads who really didn’t know anything, and eventually dragging along the 30-something “drank the Kool-aid” Google manager who was equally lacking in technical knowledge, but had the ready-made “script answers” a’plenty.

    I could go on and on, and this post hit a nerve with me (as it did others) We spend hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars with Google, and the customer service is HORRIBLE.

    I get better customer service from my tire guys, and they only see once every three years, for about 1000 bucks.

  • christian

    Lucky you have that kind of time :)

  • Lloyd Cohagen

    Finally Proof!! I have been saying this for years that Google is a For-Profit business and these are sales people trying to get more money. They don’t have the experience to talk about optimizing the campaigns only how to upsell. I will show this to all my clients now so they know when they get that email from Google wanting to have an “analysis” of their account it is a sales call like I have always said.
    Disappointed in Google but they are a business.

  • Melissa Mackey

    I’m sure they wouldn’t swear when they knew you were on the phone. :) We don’t know what they say when they hang up – well, now we do, I guess! Let’s hope most of them are more professional even when they’re not talking to advertisers.

  • CaptainKevin

    Google has a long history, in my opinion, of steering people to what is most profitable for Google and not their clients/users. This is proof that Google’s pay structure for outsourced workers is designed to perpetuate the greed that is powering Google these days.

  • http://www.seoimr.com/ Steve Sharp

    Well hopefully they wake up to the fact that it’s in their best interest to provide the best service possible for the client. I’ve been through multiple google adwords reps and always surprised at the inconsistency. Now and then you might land on one that is really helpful and they disappear. Not being notified when a rep is no longer my adwords rep is also a problem. I’ve booked the calendar, sent emails to find out later that the person is no longer my rep and a new one will be appointed.

  • Kim Clinkunbroomer

    The reps are trained to sell. I don’t mind it too much because I get to make the final decisions. However, I do get irritated when that is all my rep wants to do, is sell, instead of helping with a beta or something that I really need.

    My favorite was an Engage rep who referred to himself as being with a company that was contracted by Google (they were HQ’ed in AZ). He was pitching the coupons for new advertisers (which have NEVER interested me). When I explained that I rarely run into “new” advertisers, he recommended that I cancel some of my existing client accounts and restart them to take advantage of a $100.00 coupon. We were talking about accounts that have been running for years. I chewed him out for even proposing the idea. I would have thought it was an isolated incident except I have experienced the same thing two more times with two other Engage reps and took the time to explain why they should not propose that agencies take on the practice of dumping an account and all the history associated with it to take advantage of a stupid $100 coupon.

    Having vented that, I have to play the devil’s advocate (no, Google not calling you the devil :) and say that there are plenty of great Googlers around the world, I have had the pleasure of meeting some of them. I think Google just needs to find a balance of serving us and themselves when it comes to the way the reps interact.

  • http://jeffmcneill.com/blog/ Jeff McNeill

    Google has the worst customer service and account management. Slime.

  • Mary Bowling

    I, too have had poor experiences with calling AdWords support for help with Express. Google likes to think that AdWords Express is easy for the end user, when in fact it’s riddled with inconsistencies that only serve to confuse and frustrate them. Heck, I’m confused when I try to help people out with it and I’ve been setting up and managing AdWords for 10 years. All of the support folks I’ve talked to have been very nice and tried to be helpful, but unfortunately, it’s clear to me they don’t really know the product well.

  • http://www.LeadDiscovery.com/ Jerry Nordstrom

    I have experienced many of the same issues others are describing in regards to lack of experience with Adwords reps. However, if I honestly look at the situation I can at least understand what is going on here. Would any of us worth our salt in PPC work in customer service at Adwords or Adcenter? I’ll assume a resounding no. So naturally Google can only attract inexperienced reps, sales focused reps or eager new grads with book smarts and little street smarts. Sure, Google trains them all to tow the corporate line… Mobile is good for everyone, Desktops and Tablets are the same, did you optimiize your titles (uhg) etc… At the end of the day, Google reps are there to help with throughput, not strategy, or technical advice.

  • http://www.pogostick.co.nz Jas

    Like was mentioned several times on Martins original post, “account managers” upselling isnt news to most of us. The pathetic level of service and support provided to advertisers is also a consistent experience for many – it wouldnt be so bad if there some half decent technical support.

    The problem is Google are determined to protect their ‘secret sauce’ because it represents power over the advertiser – because the exact workings of things like QS and ad position are not fully disclosed then we rely on Google to navigate us through the minefield … which brings us back to the original problem of not being able to trust Google account managers

  • Chell

    OCTOBER 4, 2013

    I CALLED GOOGLE AD WORD TODAY REGARDING A CHARGE FOR $4.21 I WAS TRANSFERRED TO ANOTHER DEPARTMENT BECAUSE THE LINE I CALLED WAS FOR NEW BUSINESS.

    WHEN I GOT THE REP I EXPLAINED THAT I CLOSED MY ACCOUNT WELL OVER A MONTH AGO AND THIS REP AT THE

    1 888 941 2959 # WANTED ME TO BE ASSURED THAT EVEN THOUGH HE COULD NOT SEE THE CHARGE, HAD NO IDEA WHEN I CLOSED THE ACCOUNT THAT THAT I WOULD NOT BE BILLED AGAIN. I ASKED TO SPEAK TO SOMEONE ABOVE HIM AND I WAS TOLD THAT THERE WAS NOT ANOTHER PERSON HIGHER THAN HIMSELF. SO I INQUIRED THAT EVEN THOUGH THE CALL IS RECORDED GOOGLE JUST ALLOWS CUSTOMER SERVICE REPS TO SO AS THEY WANT. HE FINALLY “GAVE IN” AND STATED THAT HE WILL EMAIL ME INSTRUCTIONS SO THAT I CAN SEND IN INFO. AT THIS POINT MY EMAIL ADDRESS WAS CONFIRMED.

    TO THIS POINT NO EMAIL HAS BEEN RECEIVED.

    JUST LIKE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WORLDWIDE MY FIRST CHOICE FOR SEARCHING OR BUSINESS NEEDS IS TO TURN TO GOOGLE. THAT NOW SEEMS TO AN ERROR. GOOGLE DOES NOT CARE NOR DO THE PEOPLE THEY EMPLOY, IF YOU ARE PROVIDING NEW BUSINESS THEN EVERYTHING IS GREAT. IF YOU ARE PROBLEM SOLVING OR HAVE ENDED SERVICE THEN YOU ARE NOT WORTH THE TIME OF DAY.

    IN THE END THAT IS HOW I FEEL AS A LOYAL GOOGLE CUSTOMER.