Shockingly, Customers Who Buy Google Products Expect Some Customer Service

We’ve posted before about how Google’s idea of offering product support is to maintain some customer forums and peek in every once in a while. That’s understandable for free tools like Gmail and standard Google Voice, but customers who have paid Google for services expect more. For example, many of the customers who have paid to port their phone numbers to Google Voice so far this month have received an e-mail confirming that their port went through…then discover that people who call them are getting a message that the number has been disconnected.

Update: Greg reports that Google has closed the support thread and solved the customers’ problems. “I’m guessing the public shaming from your article hastened the resolution,” he wrote. Gosh, I hope not. Let’s hope that it was the start of the work week that got Google to act, and not our post.

Reader Greg is one of the customers with this problem. Last night, he wrote:

You get a text message from Google Voice notifying you your number port is complete, but it turns out it doesn’t work… This might not be so bad, if the number still worked on your prior service. Instead, incoming callers all get a variation on “The number you have called has been disconnected”.

As if that’s not bad enough, Google is completely stonewalling people on the problem. Not only do they famously make it impossible to reach them, which The Consumerist has noted frequently, they haven’t even replied in an official capacity to the thread above, despite a pretty sizable number of people posting about an identical problem. Do you know how long it took me to find out about the existence of the Google Voice Support Forums? I wasn’t timing myself, but it was on the order of an hour, and I have a degree in Computer Science. I can’t imagine how many people are out there, helpless to resolve this problem. How many people are missing calls without even knowing it, because nobody can call them to tell them what is happening?

I mean, for a company that sells consumer products and offers consumer services, would it kill them to offer something as basic as “Click to report a problem” in the same fashion they had “Click here to get status on your number port” during the process.

As another customer complained on the forum:

If this truly IS the case, then it certainly would have been helpful if somewhere in the Google Voice FAQs, or Process documents the GV team would have documented the process in detail. You are right and they said it could take up to five days and perhaps I should be satisfied that they did document the fact. Having said that the existing documentation doesn’t read as if GV expects this delay to be a universal outcome for a ported number.

If this 5 day delay is more universal than the existing documentation suggests, then I have a proposal to any Google Voice team member monitoring this forum. It would be helpful if, as part of your existing step-by-step porting procedure document, you were to insert wording to the effect that “after GV sends the email saying that the port is complete, expect a 5 day (or whatever number it is) delay until all inbound and outbound calling functionality is available”.