Except for a brief period from 2013 to 2015, Google GBP support has been either non-existent or inadequate*. The process makes it very difficult to actually get to a human contact; and when you do, the lowest levels of support are frequently unhelpful. Could hiring "passionate brand ambassadors" (gig workers) for customer support solve the problem? Google appears to be trying just that.
Google has relied on knowledgeable "brand ambassador" volunteers to staff local forums** for the past 17 years. The company is now apparently outsourcing at least some of the first level direct support to a Google Ambassador program run by Limitless GigCX. (Limitless recruits CX experts [ambassadors] from a brand's customer base – in this case GBP users.)
Previously, to initiate a support request, a GBP owner entered the Google Business profile support flow and submitted a problem statement. Depending on the problem, a user could be asked to gather more background and, from there, either enter more information in a detailed form or possibly to initiate an email contact with support***. Now there's a new support path for certain issues.
Will Ambassadors Improve Support?
That all depends on whether you are Google or the consumer. From Google's point of view, the Ambassador program creates the impression of near instantaneous support from a warm body. And like all gig activities it probably delivers at a lower cost than hiring full time contract workers in India.
From the consumer point of view it also creates the perception of near instantaneous support from a warm body. But that's largely an illusion because most GBP problems cannot be solved unless the support person is directly given access to the business record and its history. As with the Product Expert program, Google Ambassadors can only resolve the most superficial issues; everything else needs to be escalated through channels for a real solution. This first level of support is mostly performative.
To test the system, I ran a real problem from the forum through the process. After one hour of back and forth, I was finally asked if I would like my issue to be transferred to a Google Expert to which I said "yes," only to get the following message:
In the GBP forum, it took about a day to get a response from a Product Expert but the answer took 30 seconds and wasted no one's time.
Bottom Line: Unhelpful Layer
Google seems to have limited interest in genuinely solving GBP customer support issues. The company will likely continue to explore ever cheaper ways of tapping human labor. Their focus is on cost; they ignore the needs of the business asking the question and the livelihood of the person answering.
You might conclude that support quality will degrade because of this change. I think it will add another layer to the process, which you should be prepared for. And it may make an already painful support journey that much more painful.
* In roughly 2009, Google flew me to Mountain View so that their support staff could interact with a real Google "Places" user. In the support team group meeting a Google exec. stood up and spoke proudly of the fact that not only had they successfully answered 60% of the incoming support queries (not necessarily correctly) but that they had done so at a significantly reduced cost over the previous year's already low cost. Their goal was to further reduce per query costs. The crowd cheered. Where I come from, 60% is a failing grade but they were obviously grading a curve.
** This group of "Google Product Experts" encompasses some of the world's most knowledgeable GBP folks who truly are empathetic and already work for free.
*** Pre-pandemic there was a live chat option as well and it might still exist someplace in the world but I haven't seen it lately. Now we know why.
**** If you're a real glutton and have gotten this far and would like to read the whole conversation that I had with the Google Ambassador, I have saved it here.