Google Launches 24×7 Phone Support To ‘Apps For Business’ Customers (Hooray For Humans!)

Google has long been known as a company that favors algorithms and automation — which scale nicely to millions of people — over human-powered services, which don’t.

That works well enough for them most of the time, but it’s led to one key issue: if something goes wrong with a Google product, it’s remarkably hard to get an actual human on the phone. It’s hard to get too upset over this when you’re using Google’s free products, but it can be immensely frustrating when you’re forking over money every month to use Google’s Apps for Business suite, which allow business to take advantage of features like custom domains and admin tools.

These premium Apps users have historically had some options when things went wrong — Google’s support site includes various automated troubleshooters, and email support. But phone support was limited, so if the issue wasn’t critical, you probably weren’t going to have much luck talking to anyone. Which is a problem when your business is relying heavily on Google Apps.

Now that’s changing: during the keynote at its Enterprise-focused Atmosphere event, Google has announced that it’s launching 24×7 phone support to business customers for all issues affecting its core services, which include things like Gmail, Docs, Calendar, and the other key apps. That’s a big deal — plenty of businesses want the peace of mind of being able to talk to someone, and this will doubtless help convince some companies that were on the fence to ‘Go Google’.

Google has posted about the news on its Enterprise Blog, which briefly discusses Google’s support satisfaction (80% of small businesses are satisfied, as are 90% of large businesses — Google is shooting for 95%).

Since we launched Google Apps for Business in 2007, we’ve been working hard to build a global support offering that’s responsive to the needs of our business customers. In the early days, our customers reached us mainly through email, and our 24 x 7 phone support was limited to critical issues.

To improve the experience of our customers, we now provide 24 x 7 phone support to small, medium, and large Google Apps for Business customers for all issues affecting the core services. Our customers may also receive support through our web-based support portal, online help forms, and online help center. All support cases are handled directly by trained Google Apps experts.

A support metric that we’re especially passionate about is customer satisfaction. We measure customer satisfaction by asking for feedback on a seven point scale at the time we close a support case. As measured on this scale, 80% of our business customers and 90% of our large business customers indicate that they’re more than satisfied with their support experience. While we’re proud of these ratings, we want to do even better. Our goal is to achieve an overall satisfaction rating of 95%.

Image via Epiclectic on Flickr