Friday, January 15, 2010

Google Nexus - the need for a contact centre

Google is generally seen as a very slick operation, which is why this blog is more than a bit surprised to see them miss-step so badly on customer service for the new Google Nexus smartphone.

I understand fully that Google believes it can change the world, and (generally speaking) Google has been right so far that it's technology has changed things. On customer service, though, there is more than a hint of arrogance in Google's idea that customer service should be done the way Google does things, not the way customers want to do them.

Most consumers want to know that their problem is being fixed and that the company takes it seriously. Offering customer service by e-mail and forum doesn't give that experience to customers. For a more technical user group running websites and so on, e-mail and forums can be more than adequate and very cost effective for Google. For a mass market product (even one target at early adopters) it seems to be a unique approach to support. I have no view on the volume of complaints, but headlines such as "Google Faces Deluge of Nexus One Complaints" in PC World hardly do Google any favours or suggest they understand the market they've just entered. Blogs have been even more direct, for example Gizmodo talks of "Nexus One's Lousy Customer Support Shows Google's Weakness".

It's been interesting to see that even web retailers like Amazon, who traditionally have driven as much support to the web or e-mail channels as possible, still see a significant role for the contact centre. It may not be the first level of customer service they offer, but once the first line has failed to resolve the question Amazon do see the need to provide real time, interactive service to customers. Voice is the ideal channel for this, with web chat a distant second and for both a contact centre is ideal.

What makes this particularly interesting as Google struggle with customer service, is the hint that Amazon might be moving into providing contact centre infrastructure for third parties. The story comes from Tech Flash " to sell call center service to other companies? " and wonders if Amazon is looking at customer service as a logical extension to the Amazon cloud services. Given Amazon is one of the leader is web services and these already include storage, relational databases and payment services, customer service would be a logical and very interesting addition.

It would be ironic if while all the attention was focused on Google's customer service failings, the real customer service cloud revolution was quietly taking place at Amazon....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great blog as for me. It would be great to read a bit more concerning that matter. The only thing that blog needs is a few pictures of some gizmos.
John Kripke
Phone Blocker