Google is one of the world's largest advertising companies as measured by revenue, but it's also one of the world's largest as measured by number of customers.

The fact that Google serves millions of advertisers annually is both a blessing and a curse. While having a huge customer base helps minimize the risk that the company's cash cow will suddenly die, it also makes providing quality customer support a very challenging task.

After all, Google's customer base is as diverse as it is big, and its advertiser tools can be as confusing to newbies as they are powerful to AdWords veterans.

Given the fact that it's hard to keep millions of customers happy in any industry, it's not surprising that Google's customer support reputation hasn't always been the best. But it is attempting to change that.

Yesterday, Greg Sterling of Search Engine Land detailed the efforts Google's Francoise Brougher has led to bolster the company's phone support.

Brougher is Google's VP of Global Advertising and Product Operations, and while you may not have heard her name before, if you've received phone support for AdWords since its launch in April of this year, you have her to thank.

Sterling writes:

Google has invested heavily in building an organization that can address calls from 60 countries around the world. The company has more than 1,000 Google-employed customer service people divided between email and phone support. The phone reps are now handling “more than 10,000 calls a week,” according to Brougher. The reps are located in several regional call centers around the world.

According to Sterling, Brougher "lobbied" Google's top management for "significant investments" in phone-based support, and believes that it will eventually produce the type of insights that can significantly improve AdWords as a product.

All of Google's phone support is in-house, and already Google is learning a lot. Two of Google's earliest findings:

  • Approximately a fifth of the calls Google receives are from new customers "who want education and help".  
  • Different geographic regions often produce significantly different customer service inquiries.

So will the company that had a reputation for being unreachable prove that it's never too late to become a customer service star?

That remains to be seen, but certainly, it's nice to see that Google's efforts to keep its customers happy aren't exclusive to the customers residing on Madison Avenue.

Patricio Robles

Published 6 September, 2011 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (4)

Rob McCreedie

Rob McCreedie, Assistant Marketing Manager at Nu-Heat

Managing our Adwords account in house you always wonder how it's doing and if it's working effectively.

In the past 6 months we have had two calls from Google employess to review our Adwords account. the first call I was massively unsure as I thought it was a scam, but after getting an email from them and then calling back they already had access to the account and were on hand to offer advice.

Generally everything was fine but they simply offered simple little hints and tips that were much appreciated.

I was really impressed with both their knowledge and manner. A big thumbs up from me.

almost 7 years ago



Phoning and getting direct contact with google has always been the struggle I have found. It has been a nightmare on ocassions when I have been doing SEO work related to google maps and needed some assistance or been in need of getting something changed.

almost 7 years ago

Christopher Rose

Christopher Rose, PPC Marketing Director at Rose Digital Marketing

That Google is finally providing limited support to one of its products is obviously a good thing but let's not get carried away.

Google provides zero support for all its other products and this latest initiative seems more cover your ass than a genuine commitment to engaging with the people that use it.

This is a company that really must try harder!

almost 7 years ago

Rob McCreedie

Rob McCreedie, Assistant Marketing Manager at Nu-Heat

If these steps are them trying harder then surely it can only be a good thing?

As you pointed out though provide zero support for all its other products.....that are mainly free to use.

almost 7 years ago

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