Four years after launching Apps for business, Google has gotten a clue from Zappos and added 24/7 phone support for its millions of Apps customers to "improve the experience" for them, according to a post this morning on the Google Enterprise blog. Previously, phone support was only for "critical issues," and Google handled most service issues through web forms/email.
The post notes that Apps phone support is for core services, meaning Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Groups for business, Google Docs, Google Sites and Google Video for Business. If you've got problems with your Google+ page through your Apps account, it looks like you're stuck with web and email.
Google says in the post, "All support cases are handled directly by trained Google Apps experts," but it's not clear if those experts are Google employees or outsourced.
UPDATED [ 11/14/11 12:32pm ] We asked Google how many customer-service support staff it has added and whether phone support is outsourced -- a spokesperson directed us to the blog post but did not answer our questions.
Also, we noticed that the Enterprise support page lists phone support as the third option [ see above] and that the blog post didn't list the new support phone numbers. That makes us think Google still prefers that you figure out the problem yourself first or email them. Google says customer satisfaction currently stands at 80% overall and 90% for large businesses, with a goal of 95% satisfaction overall.
But to show its tech/startups customers that it's taking customer service more seriously, the post included a quote from Foundry Group Managing Director Brad Feld in which he described his Google Apps problem and how it got resolved. Brad closes with, "Are they perfect? No, but they’re very good, and I certainly got a positive impression when I interacted with the support team. I’m confident that they know what they’re doing and that they’ll keep getting better."
Apps customers could be forgiven for thinking Google hasn't treated them well, having made them wait four months to have a Google+ page tied to their Apps account.
Google's support phone numbers are 1-877-355-5787 (U.S. customers) and 1-404-978-9282 (international customers).
Have you had a good or bad experience with Google Apps phone support? Tell us about it: firstname.lastname@example.org.