18
Apr
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Calling a support line sucks. You're already in a bad situation, or why would you be calling in the first place? As Google demonstrated with its support of the Nexus One, though, the only thing worse than calling a support line is not having one at all. Thankfully, Google now has a phone-based support system that lets users talk to a real person 24/7 about problems with the Play Store. Like most things Google, it's actually a pretty interesting take on the old tech.

2012-04-18 14h08_45

Our People Will Call Your People

For starters, using Google's phone system is different in that you don't actually get a number to call. You get a form. Now hang on. Let me finish. In this form, you enter your name, phone number, the product you're calling about and a description of your problem. They say this saves you the trouble of answering a bunch of questions about your identity once you're on the call, but the rep still re-asks these questions. I was told they just do this to confirm they're talking to the right person. Compared to most call services, it's a breeze, but it's still a little jarring that they ask for the same info twice.

Once you've passed your initiation, though, the reps get right down to business. I placed a couple of calls where I pretended to have a problem (sorry for the deception, guys!) and as soon as they confirmed my email address, the reps immediately asked me about the problem I'd described in the form. They already had a heads-up and I didn't need to waste time with a phone stuck to my face. This was a nice change of pace.

This Call May Be Monitored For Quality Assurance Purposes

I placed two different calls with the Play Store, feigning problems in both instances that I have actually had in the past. On the first call, I told the rep that I was unable to install Photoshop Touch on my tablet via the Play Store web interface. The option for my device was greyed out. In reality, this was actually because it was already installed on my device and the story would be that I'm an idiot who can't find his icons. A true story by the way. Wasted half an hour once on this problem.

Unfortunately, we never got so far as to discovering my idiocy. What should have been a simple solution ("The app does say that it is compatible with the Xoom"), became difficult when the rep told me she was unable to find Photoshop Touch in the Play Store at all. This was particularly troubling as I could see Photoshop Touch in the web store and told her as much. She politely said that the app wasn't appearing in her system and offered to send me the contact info for the developer.

The next call I placed was to the Play Movies department. I told the rep that I placed an order for Real Steel, and that the order had gone through, but I never received a confirmation email, nor was my movie available. This, too, was a real problem I had at one time. This rep helpfully checked my purchase history and confirmed that no charges had been made to my account. He also informed me that, in the rare event a double-purchase request gets sent through, the system will automatically detect that I paid again within the same rental window and remove the second charge, so I shouldn't worry about reordering if something goes wrong in the future. Thanks!

Out With The Old, In With The Slightly Less Old

After both of these calls, the reps asked me if I wanted to take part in a short survey. Since I am a lying liar who lies, I figured the least I could do is take part in their survey after I wasted their time on fake support calls. I was surprised to find that the surveys used the old-yet-typical "Press 1 for X" style menu options. Given Google's history with voice-recognition tech, I would have expected at least the option to say "Satisfied" instead of pressing a number like many airline phone support systems use.

Then again, it being Google, I also would've expected that a survey could've been emailed to me instead of performed over the phone. Both calls ended with an email sent to my account with a summary or more info. Maybe a link could've been included here? Then again, Google still seems to be working out this system. The subject line in one of the emails I received after the call was regarding "Your question about movies on Google Paly." Clearly there are some kinks to be worked out.

A Vast Improvement

Overall, though, this is a huge step in the right direction. If nothing else, the form system is great. Calls were connected in a very short period of time and alleviated one of the biggest problems with phone-based support: an extremely long wait between placing the call and talking to a real person. Clearly Google is trying to make phone support better and it's on the right track. Far better than the company has done in the past. It's not there yet, but if the process could be this smooth with other companies, I might have less stress in my life.

Source: Google Play Support

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • ymirushn

    I called them about support for music manager and they were great! the guy was really helpful and tried out of the box fixes for my problem! not once was I asked to reboot my pc :-D

  • http://FB.com/AndroidTaskForce Chris Gustafson

    They have actually had telephone customer support for a while, even before Google Play. 

    Also, when did you guys switch to Disqus? Finally got it working!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      This past Saturday, after over a year of integration :)

    • sssgadget

      I have used phone support twice since November. Pretty good I would say.

  • http://FB.com/AndroidTaskForce Chris Gustafson

    They have actually had telephone customer support for a while, even before Google Play. 

    Also, when did you guys switch to Disqus? Finally got it working!

  • D4niel

    "For starters, using Google's phone system is different in that you don't actually get a number to call. 
    You get a form."

    Amazon's phone support actually works the same way. It's not a bad system.

    • Avrohom Eliezer Friedman

       While you are correct - there is an option (albiet it's not staring at you in the face) to place the call yourself.

    • Horse

      Last time I used Amazon's phone support I think I spent a total of three or four minutes between filling out the form and talking to the rep and I was totally done with my problem resolved. I was impressed as hell. Their online chat support is stellar as well, though not available for all departments.

  • Leif81

    I get just the "email us" form, nothing about phone support. Maybe limited to US?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I think it's limited to certain countries, US being one of them. There should be more though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=712781768 Robert White

    [I was surprised to find that the surveys used the old-yet-typical "Press 1 for X" style menu options.]  Considering that every time that I've tried integrating my sprint number with Google Voice, has resulted in my cancelling the integration because the menus when calling automated systems conflicts with Google Voice, I'm surprised that they're using a touch-tone menu based system for this.

  • Mike

    I used them for support via phone once, and it worked great. Got a call right away, and from an actual Google employee (not an offshore call center) who fixed the problems.

  • http://www.statsprofessor.org/ StatsProfessor

    Thanks Google but I'll fix every problem myself faster anyway.

     

  • Totachia Tc

    Hello my name is Torachia.I was hoping that someone can give me a call. About an issue. Please. Call at 985-474-4400.

  • ElisaAM

    They need a live chat. What good does it do if while I'm on the phone I keep having to bring it from my ear and back to search my smartphone so we can fix the problem? They also need a more user friendly webpage. I felt like I was in a time space loop as I clicked contact Help support and was lead right back to where I was before! It's ugly, useless, and sad especially when I had to use BING to get to their website.

  • gypsy

    Google Play Support had me on hold for 30 min waiting to speak to a rep. Got tired of being on hold. I paid for a movie that wont play and i want a refund or credit towards another one. Im very easy to please. Frustrated and getting irritated. What should i do??

    • david

      Could you please give me the number. Please

  • Mohamed M Al Rahman

    On 21st january I tried to buy from play store a print share software through visa card No. 4029783723781027. From kuwait.but to my disappointment again and again ask to reenter .but without anything. Next day I went to my bank and they check and told me it had been charged already.so bsnk ask ne to msil to support group to get tge actusl information.please let me know.Thanking yiy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1068635058 David Hendrickson

    Completely useless bullshit. I did get a callback immediately (I will grant them that), and was asked a number of questions about my problem (which is that I cannot download any app or update for any app with a name that does not start "Google").

    A week later, I received an e-mail asking EXACTLY the same questions I was asked in the phone call -- and from the same technician, no less (unless there are multiple "Brandon"s in that department, which I doubt).

    It is now another week later, and I have received no reply to that e-mail, nor -- obviously -- has the problem been solved.

    This is an HTC EVO 4G LTE with Sprint. I originally tried Sprint for support, and they tried a bunch of stuff, including replacing the device with a brand new one, before they suggested I contact Google since it clearly was not a Sprint issue.

    Google Play Store support sucks, to be polite. So far as I can tell, they have absolutely ZERO intention of solving this problem or even contacting me again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/genesis.gabriel.serag.miralles Gemo Miralles

    How do i call them? I from the Philippines and there is no option there for my country. help please

  • meep

    my game wont work

  • joost mag het weten

    :-) yeah right!

    I filled in the form...like this:
    play store is unreachable for nearly a year now.
    sometimes it bring me only "my own apps" but mostly it stops during startup just saying : "playstore has stopped"
    I only get the webbased store and can only download apps wich I previously downloaded. new app are impossible to download because it says "not available in your country"
    I use several android devices ASUS transforme 101 HTC Legend Alcatel 918D Sony Xperia GO and neither of them go tru to the store normaly

    and it does not redirect because I have to specify more...? but I ran out of letters to use in that box..

    n

  • scooby miogie

    google you fucking suck the worst type of shit ever we cant call you but have to wait for you to call us

  • James franklin

    Hi my name is James. I have a problemat Google play. The content filter security pin is missing and I am locked out of my some of my apps. Can you help my to get the pin number to restore my apps

  • mike black

    Trying to purchase google play through my tmobile but guys can not verify my tmobile account

  • Rao U

    Google Play customer service is not just bad - it is probably the most dishonest organization among all online stores.

    1. I ordered a device.
    2. I found out that the order was unceremoniously cancelled by Google Play. When contacted, they said "the credit card charge was rejected by the bank"
    3. So, I called my credit card company to find out why. They said they had NO record of any charges being rejected.
    4. So I asked Google Play. This time they pulled another blatant lie: "we can't tell you due to security concerns"
    5. So I called them to learn of this mysterious security concern. The supervisor basically said he never heard of such a thing.
    6. So I asked Google Play to explain. A long email thread ensued where they basically piled lies to cover previous lies.

    The interesting thing about google play customer support is - they couldn't really care less about the customer! they should call themselves customer frustration team.

    Google makes great products. Google play customer support basically kills customer interest in their products.

    I wish Google would hand over selling to Amazon.

    I have the entire email thread which reads FAR WORSE than my review here. If you can help it, go somewhere else to buy google products - like Amazon!

    • taniyah

      You kiss my ass

  • david

    Someone give me the number please.

  • Margaret Morrison

    I have purchased one of the $50.00 gift csrds tonight and cand read all the cide to redeem it.

  • Sonicpro

    How do i contact google play??? i cant find a number somewhere, and i bought gems inside a game... but it keeps giving me errors while taking my money im fckin frustrated!

  • Thomas

    I am very disappointed with google. Why is it that the upload of music onot your MyMusic (google) can only be done via a PC and not an andrid. This is kind of appalling considering google is the platform for any android and cloud based services.

  • s3chinta

    But what is that NUM please ??

  • girl geek

    I need help, I cnt access the play store and any app tht is connected to goog cnt access it either.

  • monica

    can someone help.......I bought music using my mobile ........ I am a senior citizen and have never purchased through Playstore before now and thought songs would go to my mobile please help as I don't know where songs purchased are and cannot afford this mistake .

  • monica

    I purchased songs from Playstore using my mobile...... I am a senior citizen and have never used Playstore before.......I have no idea where the songs are as I thought they went to my mobile. Please help as I cannot afford this mistake.