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Google and Ice: A Good Old-Fashioned Tale

May 18th, 2007

What do the people who run Google look like?

Seem like a trick question? It’s not. In an interactive universe that has been largely created by Google itself, the world’s most popular search engine is often perceived as a faceless behemoth.

So you may be surprised to hear the recent tale of Google and Ice. When Ice.com, a relatively small online jewelry retailer had issues with the search giant because their Google AdWords campaign wasn’t as profitable as it once was, Google dispatched five of its heavy hitters to work with Ice.com and address the problem face-to-face.

Now, Google made $3.1 billion in profits last year, so they clearly wouldn’t suffer much from the loss of Ice.com’s business. But when Ice.com CEO Shmuel Gniwisch vocally expressed to Google that he was dissatisfied and felt his $1 million advertising budget would be spent better elsewhere, Google wisely sent a five-person team down to Ice.com’s headquarters in Montreal to personally address any concerns.

In fact, according to Gniwisch, “We were also on the phone with them two to three times a week for the first three weeks,” he said. “These folks put a lot of time into fully rebuilding our philosophy about AdWords from the ground up.”

And this good old-fashion, face-to-face interaction worked. Ice.com changed their tune and kept their advertising budget with Google. What’s more, Google was able to successfully convert Ice.com from a vocal critic back into a satisfied customer.

So what can we as marketers learn from this? For starters, even the most profitable companies know its just plain bad business to ever get too big for your britches. But if you equate this to the world of crisis communication, Google did follow to golden rule – “show them that you care.” In many cases, “them” is the public that is reading or hearing about some misstep an organization made. In Google’s case “them” was one of their clients. And they showed Ice.com they valued their business and would work with them to help them get the outcome they wanted and felt they deserved.

So good job Google. It’s still cool to care and still prudent to practice personal communication. It’s refreshing to see that even an interactive giant knows when e-mails just won’t cut it, and when in-person dialogue is not only warranted, but absolutely essential.

Without giving away my age, I’ll tell you that I remember a time when press kits were sent in the mail and media alerts were written on type writers. But take heed of Google’s actions. In an era of YouTube, Search Engine Marketing, and E-Tailers, that old phrase “the more things change, the more they stay the same” still rings loud and clear. No matter how deeply entrenched we get in this technological age, personalized one-on-one customer service and thoughtful client interaction will never be a thing of the past.

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One Response to “Google and Ice: A Good Old-Fashioned Tale”

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