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Google Wades Further Into Hardware With "Nexus Call Center"

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the jes-a-simple-country-search-engine dept.

Cellphones 58

An anonymous reader writes with this bit from geek.com: "One of the big complaints surrounding the Nexus 7 launch was the lack of customer support when dealing with the device. Google was not initially prepared to handle the volume of users that required support, which led to an increase in wait time for callers who needed solutions. However, we've recently received word from a source that now Google is using a third party company to staff a call center for the release of the next Nexus devices." Maybe Google needs to out itself as a "devices and services company," too.

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Portrait vs Landscape... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618965)

Maybe if Google allowed free rotation between portrait and landscape, most of those calls would be alleviated.

Re:Portrait vs Landscape... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619007)

I believe that was coming in an update.

Re:Portrait vs Landscape... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619145)

That and its easily fixable even without root... of course we are dealing with USERS here.

Re:Portrait vs Landscape... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619153)

Maybe if Google allowed free rotation between portrait and landscape, most of those calls would be alleviated.

If you are talking about the Nexus 7, it does. The device is by default in a locked orientation. Just swipe down from the top and click the lock icon with the two arrows rotating around it.

Re:Portrait vs Landscape... (1)

tooyoung (853621) | about 2 years ago | (#41621031)

Yes, and that is what the call center people can explain to all of the everyday people who can't figure that out.

Re:Portrait vs Landscape... (2)

richy freeway (623503) | about 2 years ago | (#41619177)

Latest update has it. Some places have it OTA, I just grabbed the zip and flashed it from CWM.

Re:Portrait vs Landscape... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619329)

Free rotation of the home screen as well? Crap, I just purchased an app to allow this.

Re:Portrait vs Landscape... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619991)

that automatic rotation control app hurts performance. don't use it!

Quite Clear Strategy (0)

beelsebob (529313) | about 2 years ago | (#41619491)

It's really becoming quite clear what Google's strategy is now... They're trying to establish a monopoly over all communication, so that they have data on every word going in every direction. They've already pretty much got all internet traffic at some point passing through their sites... They're working on getting all communication done on phones through, and at the same time, now trying to work in all communication going through all phone networks.

Pretty scary stuff.

Re:Quite Clear Strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41620333)

yeah a call center to support devices they are selling through their play store. This is clearly an effort to take over the world and turn us into there data slaves, what's worse is there is literally nobody else even trying to complete with them. oh wait....

The only scary stuff is that you might be free to walk around in public.

Re:Quite Clear Strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41620357)

time to put on our tinfoil hats!

Re:Portrait vs Landscape... (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | about 2 years ago | (#41619687)

Ultimate Rotation Control [google.com] is the app I use.

It's highly configurable and just works.

And they keep your money for as long as they want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618973)

And then when you try to cancel they ship you the product anyway, pretend they didn't get it back when the shipment is refused, and lie to you about refunding your money.

Three months ago I tried to cancel a Nexus order. Still don't have my money back.

Re:And they keep your money for as long as they wa (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41619067)

If that is true, issue a chargeback on the credit card.

Re:And they keep your money for as long as they wa (1)

Applekid (993327) | about 2 years ago | (#41620175)

The customer service fiasco that happened to me was very similar. They promised all preorders would be shipped by some date, which came and went without shipping. Emails were ignored, and it took phone calls to get answers. Of course, the answers were all lies. "Oh, it's shipping today." "Your tracking number will be sent overnight." Basically, the old game of say-anything-to-get-them-off-the-phone. When no tracking numbers and no shipping happened, calling back resulted in the same song and dance. This time, when I asked to cancel, they refused because, yep, "it's shipping today."

Fast forward three weeks after when the preorder was promised to ship, they finally did send it. No tracking number, of course, so I couldn't refuse the package in person and the delivery guy just left it on the doorstep. So to refuse delivery I would have to make a trip to the UPS depot.

If I knew Google was capable of such a Kafkaesque performance I would never have bothered.

Iutsourced call centres are worse. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619021)

No exceptions.

If you want to provide good support, you train well paid, dedicated staff with a high retention rate.

Otherwise claiming that you support your products is just a very expensive PR stunt.

Re:Iutsourced call centres are worse. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41619095)

Nearly no one uses internal call centers. The costs are just to high for a resource that sees high seasonal need changes and lots of idle resources since it can be very bursty.

Re:Iutsourced call centres are worse. (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#41619173)

Really... so what. That's part of doing business.

The OP is right... the way outsourcing works it's virtually a P.R. stunt. You might as well hire McDonald's employees away (and give them no training) and keep the jobs in the country. The quality will be the same.

Re:Iutsourced call centres are worse. (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41619211)

The reality is a third party call center with multiple clients can do a better and cheaper job. Their agents are talking more calls per hour and doing a better job than some fresh hire at a company that looks at call centers as just another cost.

I am not talking about foreign call centers. I mean outsourcing inside the USA.

Re:outsourced call centres are worse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619427)

The reality is a third party call center with multiple clients can do a better and cheaper job

A third-party call center that knows nothing of the product other than what they saw in a three-hour onboarding session?

As opposed to our in-house call center reps who can call over to the technicians who actually designed the product?

I suppose if you consider minimizing call times as a success criterion...

Re:outsourced call centres are worse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41620683)

If 90% of the calls are simple queries, then outsourcing at time of high demand is the best option. There is no technical reasons why the outsourced call-centre can't forward the calls which required detailed knowledge to Google.

Re:Iutsourced call centres are worse. (1)

Abreu (173023) | about 2 years ago | (#41619431)

Whatever man, lots of those "american" call centers have main offices in the USA, with maybe 100 agents and 200 managers. The other 1500 phone agents and 100 managers are split into branch offices in India, Mexico and possibly Ireland. Since call-center jobs are highly seasonal, agents are trained to handle different products and switched from one line to the other constantly.

A lot of times you don't notice, because contrary to popular opinion, a well trained call center agent can fake an american accent pretty well. Of course, most call centers don't train their agents very well.

Re:Iutsourced call centres are worse. (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 2 years ago | (#41621429)

The reality is a third party call center with multiple clients can do a better and cheaper job.

That's not inherently true at all. "multiple clients" is just one method to get economies of scale and try to keep your employees sufficiently busy.

I know from experience an on-site call center can in-fact be CHEAPER than any of the call center outsourcing providers, (with perhaps the exception of meeting peak demand, if applicable) while also being more effective.

Their agents are talking more calls per hour and doing a better job than some fresh hire at a company that looks at call centers as just another cost.

It's true you can't expect entry-level call-center reps to be as efficient as lifers, but you also can't expect call centers to ensure their employees are all as technically proficient with your product as you want them to be. I'm sure we've all gone through situations where the tech support zombie can't even *comprehend* the issue you're reporting, and doesn't know they should escalate, rather than take you through one of the standard scripts. After all, being graded on simple metrics like call time and number of issues resolved makes them very efficient at making sure their metrics look good, no matter what their job actually demands they do.

And besides that... some of those McDonald's employees will turn out to be very good phone support reps. You just need enough time to churn through the lousy ones, while keeping on the payroll enough of the good one.

Re:Iutsourced call centres are worse. (4, Interesting)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#41619515)

No exceptions.

If you want to provide good support, you train well paid, dedicated staff with a high retention rate.

Otherwise claiming that you support your products is just a very expensive PR stunt.

There are differing qualities of outsourced call centers. My company needed a build a 10 seat call center staffed 6am-midnight localtime to handle reservations and questions, we had several known peaks throughout the year where we'd have to double the staff to handle special events. We ended up outsourcing the whole thing to an airline call center that also does outsourcing (our product was a travel product so it was a natural fit). They dedicated 6 lead agents to us, we flew them to our location so they could learn about our product, then we did on site training at the call center for an additional 20 agents that would be floaters that were assigned to us as-needed. One of our staff members went-onsite during the first 2 weeks to help them take calls. answer questions, and build out their knowledge base of frequently asked questions, then we always had local staff on-call so the contact center lead could call with questions.

Worked well, few callers knew that our call center was not "local". And while their service was not "cheap" when you compare their per-hour rate to what we'd pay a local agent, overall, we paid about half what we would have to run our own call center (and had nearly unlimited capacity to handle calls). Since they had the ability to dynamically size the pool of agents that took calls for our product, we only had 6 dedicated agents, where if we had a local call center we would have had to have 15 or more dedicated agents to handle normal call volume (we'd at least 2 shifts to handle the 18 hour day), with more during peak periods.

We got consistently positive feedback on our call center, and I really think that outsourcing let us provide a better experience than if we tried to build it in house.

Re:Iutsourced call centres are worse. (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 2 years ago | (#41621471)

We got consistently positive feedback on our call center, and I really think that outsourcing let us provide a better experience than if we tried to build it in house.

I just can't help but wonder, what if the company (airline) who put together the call-center you're outsourcing to, had thought the same thing as you... In some ways "it's turtles all the way down!"

Re:Iutsourced call centres are worse. (1)

swillden (191260) | about 2 years ago | (#41630475)

We got consistently positive feedback on our call center, and I really think that outsourcing let us provide a better experience than if we tried to build it in house.

I just can't help but wonder, what if the company (airline) who put together the call-center you're outsourcing to, had thought the same thing as you... In some ways "it's turtles all the way down!"

They did think the same thing, which is why they started selling their services to other companies. It's just a different angle on exactly the same recognition: It's very costly to build a call center capable of handling the peaks of a single organization's support traffic, because it means you're hugely overstaffed a lot of the time. The solution is to have the call center support more organizations, with different call volume patterns. Ideally, to take on the support load of organizations with complementary volume patterns, but if you scale far enough and take on enough clients, probability will smooth it out pretty effectively.

The airline realized this and chose to smooth their call volumes and offset their costs (or even turn it into a profit center) by selling to others. The GP's company realized it, too, and chose to outsource to the airline. Same reality, same understanding, same solution -- just a different angle. One chose to build a new line of business.

Re:Iutsourced call centres are worse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41674455)

The different choices mostly come down to scale I think. A smaller company like the GGP can't build a call center big enough to run as a separate line of business without making it the core of their operation.

How is this... (1)

InfiniteBlaze (2564509) | about 2 years ago | (#41619029)

wading further into hardware? You mean by planning and preparing for the release by ensuring there is adequate support for the anticipated customers? The title gives the impression that we should expect a piece of equipment that allows us to establish a centralized call center for our own businesses...not that Google has outsourced their phone support. -1 for Misleading

Re:How is this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619229)

Agree fwiw.

IMO, the eyeball-grabbing 'headline' was written to, well, grab eyeballs and push up page views.

Is this what we can expect from the latest incarnation of slashdot?

Re:How is this... (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about 2 years ago | (#41621367)

Is this what we can expect from the latest incarnation of slashdot?
Well, given that that is what we saw out of every recent incarnation of slashdot, I don't really expect to see anything different.

Re:How is this... (1)

sunking2 (521698) | about 2 years ago | (#41619641)

No kidding. The whole article talks about Android, not a lick about "Hardware". This really should highlighting about how Google may actually be taking it's software seriously and offering some sort of support for it. They've really allowed for quite a support mess and user confusion thanks to the many versions of Android out there among the various vendors.

Google Wades Further Into Hardware? (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 2 years ago | (#41619037)

>> Google Wades Further Into Hardware

This headline only makes sense if you're talking about a company that's not already neck-deep in cell phones.

Re:Google Wades Further Into Hardware? (1)

Fwipp (1473271) | about 2 years ago | (#41619143)

But they provide support for very few of those cell phones - only the ones they sell directly, correct? There's a large difference between working with a manufacturer to provide software and supporting customer service for hardware units.

Re:Google Wades Further Into Hardware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619183)

Yes and no. Let's not forget that Google has owned Motorola for a while.

Re:Google Wades Further Into Hardware? (1)

Fwipp (1473271) | about 2 years ago | (#41620119)

Good point, I did forget that. I wonder if they're leaning on Motorola's previous experience for this.

Re:Google Wades Further Into Hardware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619147)

This headline only makes sense if you're talking about a company that's not already neck-deep in cell phones.

Are the nexus phones selling so badly that they're neck-deep in them?

Re:Google Wades Further Into Hardware? (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#41619163)

Google has a history of making stuff and then totally ignoring the support costs for it. I thought they learned this lesson with the Nexus 1

Not uncommon to outsource call centers (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | about 2 years ago | (#41619063)

It's my understanding that many large companies don't host their own call centers. There's one in my building that has some quite large clients who could easily host their own if they wanted, but they still outsource it.

Re:Not uncommon to outsource call centers (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#41619111)

It's a great idea, because then you have all the cost and expense of maintaining a call center, but you still manage to alienate your customers who cotton-on pretty quickly that the "call center" they're calling doesn't really give a f--- about whatever it is you need and is unable to help you except for a subset of common problems some engineer had an opportunity to create scripts for.

Wait.

Did I say it was a great idea? Sorry, I meant stupid idea. I _always_ get those two words mixed up.

Re:Not uncommon to outsource call centers (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#41619193)

It is an instant alienation for a certain percentage of people.

You should of heard this redneck wail in Lowes the other day when the customer service desk said he needed to call Lowes customer support about a refund problem. He didn't want to call no a-rabs.

Re:Not uncommon to outsource call centers (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619519)

You should of heard this redneck

That's "should have heard", you redneck.

Re:Not uncommon to outsource call centers (2)

Abreu (173023) | about 2 years ago | (#41619525)

Actually, a lot of call center services compete on quality of service.

A client will drop you like a hot potato and switch to another call center if your quality of service is not good enough, and nowadays most good call center contractors have penalization clauses that fine them for every BBB complaint or even for every lost customer.

Sure, some clients will want to pay as little as possible, and they end up with the more seedy suppliers who, in turn, pay peanuts to their agents, resulting in high rotation and bored, mean or just plain stupid agents answering your calls. But by no means is every call center this kind of operation.

Re:Not uncommon to outsource call centers (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#41622577)

A client will drop you like a hot potato and switch to another call center if your quality of service is not good enough, and nowadays most good call center contractors have penalization clauses that fine them for every BBB complaint or even for every lost customer.

So why do they continue to suck then?

Re:Not uncommon to outsource call centers (1)

Abreu (173023) | about 2 years ago | (#41633057)

You are quoting the first part of my comment, but seemed to missed the second part, which answers your question.

Re:Not uncommon to outsource call centers (1)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#41620025)

It depends on the value and the worth to the company. The problem google had was not that it could not handle the volume of calls, but that it has little to no end use support experience so there resources were not apparently in place at all. As a corporation it needs to gain direct experience supporting end users which is not going to happen if it outsources to Islamabad.

In a not outsourced call center, there is at least the possibility of some being able to talk to a principle face to face for clarification. There is at least the possibility of directly observing the process and adjust the rules and scripts. After five years when the equipment is depreciated or the lease is up, and experience is gained, then the process can be outsourced. There is experience to know if the vendor is scamming you or if there a legitimate reason why 30% of the customers are complaining.

Not all companies can afford a local call center. Google can. End user service si not critical to all companies. It seems to be to Google. Or at least they say it is. By outsourcing what they are really indicating is that they need to have a customer service number so that competitors can't use that as a selling point.

Like tears in the rain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619121)

Were Nexus 6 and older models 'retired'?

Re:Like tears in the rain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619161)

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.

Re:Like tears in the rain (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#41619205)

I want more life, father.

Nexus 7 (2)

chinton (151403) | about 2 years ago | (#41619209)

Do Androids Compute on Electric Tablets?

Improvement over the Nexus 6 (2)

chinton (151403) | about 2 years ago | (#41619263)

Its got more memory than the Nexus 6... But whose memory does it have?

Re:Improvement over the Nexus 6 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619409)

Tyrells neice

Re:Improvement over the Nexus 6 (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 2 years ago | (#41626897)

Its got more memory than the Nexus 6... But whose memory does it have?

Aside from the planned obsolescence, the Nexus 6 was a killer.

Loved My Nexus - Shame The Screen Breaks So Easily (1)

szyzyg (7313) | about 2 years ago | (#41620019)

It's a great tablet, but, the screen cracked when I pushed the power button and rendered the touchscreen inoperative, currently ASUS is telling me that any screen damage resulting from use is not covered under warranty.

Here's a video of the damage:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3-nbnPyZYM [youtube.com]

Re:Loved My Nexus - Shame The Screen Breaks So Eas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41620955)

At least one member of the Android Central forums has had his Nexus 7's cracked screen fixed free of charge by Asus, he claims he didn't drop it or anything, I guess Asus looked at it and could tell it the damage was caused by a defect rather than an accident, though Asus were uncommunicative during this process and he didn't know they had fixed it until it turned up on his doorstep.

If you live in the UK, then under the Sales of Goods Act, the seller is responsible for fixing any defects, and in the first 6 months it is up to the seller to prove the problem isn't a result of a defect. If you bought it from Google you shouldn't let them palm you off with sending it to Asus, that's their job.

Re:Loved My Nexus - Shame The Screen Breaks So Eas (1)

szyzyg (7313) | about 2 years ago | (#41622427)

I bought it from Staples, but really it's not Google's responsibility to deal with the shortcomings in Asus hardware, I'm in the US so generally after 30 days the stores won't take back a broken device. Still hoping Asus stands by their product

Personal Experience (0)

slackerfilm (520597) | about 2 years ago | (#41620387)

This is actually welcome news. I had a problem with actually ordering. I accidentally put my billing address in as the shipping address. I realized my mistake the moment I clicked confirm. Not a big deal but a real fricken hassle as I live in an apartment. As I preordered the first day available, I thought this wouldn't be an issue. I could contact customer service and fix the shipping address and all would be fine. I sent several messages through their customer service page and tried calling for 3 weeks to make this change happen but it shipped to my apartment anyway. I still had not heard from Google and was using the tracking information as my guide. I paid one of my neighbors to work from home that day to receive the tablet only to find that it got yanked while on delivery. Apparently, Google contacted the shipping company without telling me and forced a change of address while it was out on delivery. This meant it had to go back to the hub and get re-routed, forcing a delay of another 48 hours.

I had something similar happen to me with Amazon (these autofill boxes are not my friend) but the results were drastically different. I sent a message to customer service and had a response within a couple hours. They verified the address I wanted it shipped to and did not delay the package at all. Then, they called me (yes, I was asked if this was ok) the day it was supposed to be delivered to make sure it was delivered and in the condition it was intended to be.

I love google and their products, software and hardware. I really wish they had customer service to back up their products though. Because of my experience, I won't try their hardware again until I see proof of a change in the way they deal with customers. This article is a sign of them moving in the right direction. As long as they have solid SLAs with this call center, I have no problem with google farming out customer service to the people that do it right every day.

I dunno about that (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#41621533)

I dunno...devices and services look awfully bulky compared to HP's tablet strategy of devices and fuck it. That worked out a lot cheaper, lol.
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