It seems there was one aspect of selling its own cell phone that Google did not take into account: Dealing with customers after you sell them a product.

Complaints are popping up all over various blogs of how the customer support for people who have purchased Google’s Nexus One phone is totally non-existent.  Apparently no phone number is provided and buyers are directed to a forum where they can try to get assistance.  Even once they do go to the forum, they are finding that replies from official Google employees are few and far between.

Now customers are threatening to send back what they consider to be defective phones and finding out that they will be charged a $45 restocking fee for sending the phone back.

And it isn’t just the users who have things to complain about.  Application developers are apparently unhappy with the fact that no SDK (Software Development Kit) has yet shipped for the new phone, meaning that while some apps may work with the new phone, that can’t be guaranteed as the nexus One is running a new version of the Android operating system.

In short, as the first venture into hardware sales, Google is not doing well.

Up until now the company hasn’t had to do much in the way of customer service as most people found it silly to complain about products they get to use for free.  However, this is a different ball game once money begins changing hands.

Even though the Nexus One is being handled though T-Mobile, and the handset is being built by HTC, this is Google’s phone all the way and all customer service is supposed to be done through them, including returns.

With Google planning at least one more hardware release of a netbook by the end of this year supposedly, it may be time for the company to get some lessons in how to deal with customer service issues.  Step one?  Open up a phone center, and do it immediately.  The rest will come to you naturally over time.

Categories: Cell Phones, Google   
 

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