MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIFORNIA — Nine months ago, Google gave itself a “B” on the technical support it provided to the millions of businesses paying for Google Apps, its online suite of office applications. This off-the-cuff letter grade actually exceeded the general perception of the company’s tech support talents, but David Girouard — the man who built Google’s Enterprise business — strove for something more.
“We want to continue to do better,” he said. “There’s an impression that we’re awful at [technical support], but I think a lot of what we do with our free products is intermingled with what we do with our enterprise customers.”
Girouard said that the company would soon offer 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week phone support for all technical issues — not just “P0? snafus, where Google Apps can’t be accessed at all — and on Monday, during a mini-conference at Google headquarters in Mountain View, the company made good on his promise. This round-the-clock phone support, the company said, applies to Google Apps’ “core services,” including Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Sites.
Google Apps for Business is available for a subscription fee of $50 per user per year. This includes not only technical support, but a service level agreement (SLA) that promises applications will be available 99.9 percent of the time.
Drawing on surveys it offers to customers when support cases close, Google said that 80 percent of business customers are “satisfied” with the support they get and that this figure jumps to 90 percent if you drill down to just large businesses. The goal, the company said, is 95 percent for all businesses.