It’s the time of the year when the guys at Lenz Heating and Cooling get after it. Crews in the field work around the clock, and the women back in the office don’t have time for lunch.
“You would just answer the phone and before you could even hang up another person was calling,” said Jamie Myers, an office assistant at Lenz.
In a typical year they’ll book 45 jobs a day and techs will hit ten houses each. But this year ain’t typical.
“We’re getting about a third the calls that we normally get,” said owner, Al Lenz.
They could feel it here, early in the year — something weird.
“Every once in a while it was like ‘why is nobody calling?’” Myers remembered. “But it was fixed in a couple days or a couple hours.”
And then this week hit. The hottest of the year.
Al Lenz loaded up his trucks, readied his troops for the rush, but it never came. The problem got worse. The phones barely rang at all.
Lenz checked his lines, checked his website and then — he Googled himself.
“Several of our numbers in Google don’t exist — they just go nowhere.”
He’s not embellishing.
Look up “Heating and Cooling Repair Des Moines,” find Lenz Heating and Cooling, see the number, hit the call button, and it calls … a phantom number.
So the problem’s with Google! Just call them up and tell them to fix it, right? Not so fast.
“You can’t call Google!” Lenz laughed. “Look it up! There’s no number! You’re not calling Google.”
He had to email Google.
They finally got back to him, but had no answer.
“They looked through everything and said they can’t see anything that’s wrong they need to escalate to a supervisor and that’s supposed to happen on or before August 8.”
Google is now the business lifeline. Without it, Lenz is only doing about ten jobs a day, and that’s only because this business, one that usually takes calls, is now making them.
“The gals in the office are calling out, reaching out to friends, using Facebook,” he said.
Lenz said he’s losing $30,000 to $40,000 a day. But what’s worse are his fears that he’s losing his customers’ trust.
He knows they’re moving on.
“Well why would they? We weren’t there for them when they needed us.”
The crew here won’t sulk. They’ll keep pushing, and keep hoping that things speed up at Google. But they won’t hold their breath.
“I doubt Google cares about a family-owned business in Iowa.”