Google Apps Gets Phone Support, Mobile Device Management
Google Apps for Business’s lack of phone support has offered Microsoft a potential edge over the Google suite, but that’s set to change: At the Google Atmosphere enterprise event Nov. 14, 2011, it was announced that all customers of the Google Apps for Business cloud productivity suite will now have access to 24/7 phone support, no matter the size of their deployment. It’s about time — literally.
Obviously, Google isn’t discontinuing its online service options, including the message boards and support portal. But from now on, paid Google Apps customers will have access to experts 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Intriguingly (and slightly unbelievably), Google is indicating in its blog entry that even before rolling out phone support, “80 (percent) of our business customers and 90 (percent) of our large business customers indicate that they’re more than satisfied with their support experience.” But with the new addition, Google is shooting for 95 percent.
There’s not much else to tell: Google said its support team gives feedback to the product and engineering teams, with past results including a better SLA and new feature additions. The phone support team will continue this trend, and Google expects this new communications channel will only boost those efforts.
Customer service has always been Google’s Achilles heel. But it seems like the search giant is getting its act together and trying to match Google Apps customer needs. My concern: Does Google’s enhancement to the core Google Apps support experience undercut partner offerings of the same?
Oh, and while I was writing this, another announcement came out of Google Atmosphere: Google announced that administrators now can manage groups of Google Android, Apple iOS and Windows Phone 7 devices right from within Google Apps.
As part of the new feature, users can set password requirements and roaming sync rules for mobile devices that sync with Google Apps right from the browser with no additional hardware or software needed, according to Google’s blog entry. And it comes with analytics, so administrators and Google Apps resellers can see how exactly users are taking advantage of the SaaS suite on the go.