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.