We had a huge number of visits to our ‘Google Nexus One Phone only available to Google Apps users?‘ post last week, confirming the massive worldwide interest in the new Nexus One phone from Google.
It was, as expected, officially launched at a press event on the 5th January and made available online from www.google.com/phone during the event.
Surprisingly, Google didn’t follow our wisdom and offer it to Google Apps users first (although there are reports that some of the larger Youtube partners have been sent free handsets) but made the phone available to anyone in the US, the UK , Hong Kong and Singapore.
We have to admit that our resolve didn’t last long and pressed the green button and are now awaiting a handset to test out (possible review to follow).
To be brutally honest, the online purchasing experience has been fairly disastrous and the general venting of steam that can be found across the web (notably at their own forum here) suggests that Google has perhaps entered a world in which they are not especially well prepared – a world in which people’s patience is very short and where users expect / demand support and communication from the merchant.
Google offers some mind-blowingly good products but isn’t famed for its level of customer support and there have always been criticisms of the way that it treats its loyal customers (‘Even Google employs idiots‘ being a fairly recent example that shows some very suspect levels of ‘support’). The real failing in this case is the lack of communication and automated / useless responses that still take 2 to 3 days to be issued.
The actual ordering process is extremely easy if you have a Google Checkout account already set up – in fact, it would be fair to say that it is ridiculously easy. The problems surface from then on as the online tracking leaves a lot to be desired and it is taking up to 3 days for anything to really happen at Google’s end.
There are a lot of justifiable reasons that could explain the delays and, to be honest, most people would accept the delays if they were being kept informed of progress. Google needs to recognise that they are charging real people real money for a real product and these customers expect a level of service that they have become accustomed to when buying online. It would appear that such expectations are not being met.
We suspect that this is unlikely to have any long term effect on sales of the phone and it should be noted that support forums are typically populated by people moaning rather than the large number of people who have a very good experience, but Google should learn from the feedback and improve its communication if it is to avoid losing some fans.
We are in no rush and are looking forward to receiving the phone – android is superb if you are using Google’s products and the Nexus One is the most potent offering to date. We just hope that the Nexus Two, Nexus Three and whatever else may come out of Google’s empire is not affected by poor logistical experiences.