Google Maps is supposed to be a DIY app to be used by business owners in conjunction with Google My Business. Workflow of marking a business on Google Maps is a complex process. In a large country like India it is impossible to track small business. So Google has a verification system in place. Unfortunately the complexities involves, it no longer becomes a DIY process. Here is an interesting case study of Mool Cycle Works
About Mool Cycle Works
Mool Cycles Works is a bicycle sales and service shop in Sadar Bazar, Delhi Cantt. It is run by two brothers Sonu and Jatin. Bicycles or cycles as they are popularly known are a hit among children in India and are a prized possession. Once a few Google Maps representatives approached them and got their shop location listed on Google Maps. They got the location registered through Google My Business. The owners had no clue what was being done on their smartphone by the reps. Obviously the app and process is not so DIY. Anyways, the entry was wrong and they had no idea how to move ahead after that. To aggravate the problem another team came and created another entry with a slightly different name. Here is a screenshot of both business names.
Steps to resolve the issue
Till Sep 2021, the owners did not have any idea how to resolve the problem. They were stuck with wrong address marked on Google Maps and just two reviews which averaged to 3.0 in reviews.
Re-install Google My Business App
Every shop owner must install this app and claim ownership. Quite a few business model do not need anything to do with Google Maps. Like a grocery shop in India, the owner will just not be bothered if anyone gets directions on Google Maps. This is because customers are already crowding in the store. But for the rest of small business owner a correct Google Maps listing is paramount.
Same was the case with this bicycle shop because there was a bigger competitor right next door.
Main owner had the mobile number listed so the Google My Business App was reinstalled on his smart phone. Apparently he had an old handset which had the app installed but after he changed the handset, the app was never installed again. This was because, the owner was not aware about this app and its necessity.
Here is the link for the app in Play Store.
Once the app was installed, the business listing was visible in the app as owner. There were pending edits and few other issues listed below.
Phone number under review
Despite being a verified profile there are numerous cases where the phone number of a business establishment remains under review for more than a year. There are shops and restaurants whose phone numbers have not been verified by Google and they are losing business.
This is a very popular restaurant in Tezpur but the phone number is still under review for more than a year. The restaurant manager keeps requesting customers to suggest the phone number.
Same issue was faced by Mool Cycle Works. We have mailed Google My Business support team and this was their response.
The problem is that if they are short on staff, they can hire more people. But working with a skeleton staff and using COVID as an excuse is a far fetched idea.
This picture is as clear as it gets as far as presence of establishment is concerned. No idea what more Google is checking.
Address and Location under review
Wrongly marked address was corrected and edited. Thankfully that process went smooth and was reviewed almost immediately. Many times when the owner inputs the address in Google My Business they forget the location of the map marker. If placed incorrectly, it remains at the wrong place.
Pro Tip – For all field showing under review, contact Google Support
Use this link to contact support and amplify the issue. Google might ask you for additional details like registration or photographs.
The only way to contact Google My Business support team is by Email. There is no phone number or any way to talk to them.
Solution for duplicate entry
Step One – Claim ownership. If there is any other entry by same or similar sounding name check if the ownership can be claimed. But be careful since verified profiles also show the option of Claiming business.
There are various ways that Google uses to verify. In case of Mool Cycle Work, which was a duplicate entry, it was OTP based on the mobile number shown on the profile. Luckily it was the same mobile number as the owner and could be verified for ownership.
Step Two – Mark as permanently closed. This is the next best option. A duplicate map entry will almost surely be inactive. So if anyone marks it as permanently closed, Google accepts the suggestion.
Step Three – Mark as duplicate of another place. Google provides a wonderful interface to provide edits where users can mark a business as duplicate.
Finally if all the above is not working then the only option left is ask customers and friends to report the entry on map.
Reviews and Testimonials for Mool Cycle Works
Once the entry is ready, the first thing the brand or business owner has to do is ask customers for review. Owners keep phone numbers of clients saved. Owner of Mool Cycle Works shared the review link with his customers. Within two weeks the review count has gone up to 13 and all are five star reviews. That goes to show the popularity of this shop and sales and service quality.
A word of caution to all owners – The definition of a five star review system is not clear to most Indians. We tend to equate a five star rating to a five star hotel or resort. So anything which has opulence, glitz and glamour becomes five stars.
But the five star rating systems works differently. If everything is ok with the business and service or product, then it should be rated five star. One star less means that there is something lacking in either the product or the service promised but not provided. But in India we give a four star rating and still write in the review that everything was good and perfect.
Pictures speak a thousand words
Ask your customers to upload pictures of the product. Also as an owner try to push maximum pictures and videos to Google Maps. Using the Google My Business app is easy and intuitive. It helps upload pictures easily to your business.
Take pictures of shop front, products, customers buying, your team, logo, posters and anything relevant to business. In case of Mool Cycle Works, it has to be sale and service of bicycles.
More than a picture, post an update
After the limited success of Orkut and Google Plus, the next attempt is Google Maps. It is now completely user input driven.
For business owners a post is in the form of an offer, update, event or product. Each category permits pictures, text and a link. That is a lot of flexibility and information support. As of for now, the owners of Mool Cycle Works are shy to put their various models along with the pricing. But subsequently they might agree to post offers there.