When it comes to customer support, you’d be surprised at how little consumers actually understand what their product can do and how to use it. To wit, there’s an old and famous story about a woman who once called Apple Support claiming that the cup holder on her new Mac Performa was broken.
Up until recently, Google, as the purveyor of free software, has been able to avoid many of the customer support headaches that inevitably arise from selling hardware. That, however, changed last week when Google officially announced its new Nexus One smartphone. Since then, customer complaints and customer support issues on Google Support forums have been flooding in, and Google has found itself unable, or perhaps unprepared, to handle those complaints effectively.
Part of the problem is that Google is selling the Nexus One directly to end users, which means that when problems arise, Google is the first line of defense even when an issue may be better handled by T-mobile. And when you consider that HTC is the company who manufactures the phone, well, users don’t know who to turn to as the blame is routinely passed along from company to company.
One customer experiencing spotty 3G coverage noted on Google’s support forum:
I called T-mobile to make sure that I didn’t need to activate the phone or something to get 3G service. They said my account looked fine and that they couldn’t give me any more support since I had a Nexus One, that I had to call HTC. So I called HTC and they said that your 3G service is a T-mobile issue and they couldn’t help me. The fact that my G1 works perfectly sitting right next to the Nexus though makes me think it really is a problem with the phone.
Meanwhile, another customer exclaimed that he had been transferred back and forth between HTC and T-Mobile support 4 times in one day.
As you can tell, there’s a lot more to selling a phone than simply processing an order, and often times the support and service provided after a sale is just as important as the quality of the device itself. Google, though, just doesn’t have the experience to deal with irate and frustrated users given that it’s brand new to the hardware side of the tech business.
Say what you will about Apple, but at least when something goes wrong with the iPhone, you know who to blame… AT&T 🙂
via PC World