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To play devils advocate: Does this mean that customer care isn't necessary for big success?

It means you can have big success in an industry (search results) that doesn't require customer care.

The problem is Google is trying to approach other industries the same way they have with Search: If it can't be solved by a group of engineers and a rack-full of servers, it shouldn't be solved.

>The problem is Google is trying to approach other industries the same way they have with Search: If it can't be solved by a group of engineers and a rack-full of servers, it shouldn't be solved.

Is that a problem, though? If people in a particular market segment value high quality low cost services over accessible customer support, the strategy succeeds. If customers in that market segment value accessible customer service enough to pay extra for it, it fails when another competitor comes in to provide that and takes all the customers.

But what Google is providing seems to be what most customers want most of the time: People bitch about bad customer service when something goes wrong, but they still choose the free service over the paid one pretty much knowing that that will be the case going in.

The market decided that what Google is doing is what people prefer. The general population could have a change of heart and decide to start patronizing companies with better customer service who charge correspondingly more, but they probably won't.

> Is that a problem, though?

It's a problem to the OP, and it's a problem to a lot of users who suddenly lose access to their GMail accounts and don't have the luxury of getting to the front page of HN. Just because it's not a problem for 95% of people doesn't mean it's not a problem.

I'd also argue that most people aren't aware Google doesn't have customer support going in. Did you explain to every person you recommended GMail to, if you've recommend it to anyone, that there isn't any customer service should they get locked out of the only email account they might be using for the next few years? You might be a smart hacker and know to back up your mail on multiple drives each night, but most folks assume good faith about a company they deal with.

>Just because it's not a problem for 95% of people doesn't mean it's not a problem.

It's not a problem for 99+% of people. That means it's not a problem for 99+% of people. It's like any rare but unfortunate event that people rationally choose not to insure against. And it sucks to be you if you're the statistical outlier, but you already know what to do if you're worried about that: Choose a different service that has a worse overall user experience because they spent their money on giving you someone to talk to on the phone instead of on producing a well-engineered service.

I'd bet that the customer service for google's actual customers is top notch.

Haha, no. Take a look at how the customer service for the Nexus 4 went. You have customer service making shit up to get people off the phone. You have people not having any way to figure out the status of their order (or even if their order actually went through).

Actual large budget customers, maybe

What, I just created an account in Ad-Sense, and got a thread of emails explaining to me how can I use it, with a dicount coupon. After I failed to use it, I got another thread of emails, each time more personal, with hints and phone numbers I could call to get a personalized campaign, and an increase in the coupons discount. Now, about each 6 monts I get physical mail from Google with phones and coupons, each time with a more elaborated impression (they tought about nice paper, credit-like cards, nice envelopes).

All this time I've given Google no money at all.

I think you meant AdWord. Adsense is for publishers. Create an Adsense account and you won't receive a single mail with a phone # listed in them.

It goes somewhat like this:

If you paying money, you might have luck getting a phone support based on your investment. However, if you are on the other end of receiving money, good luck having someone respond to your email or on the forums.

Apple prides itself on good customer care, so I wouldn't say so.

I had a similar issue with my Apple Developer License. My address wash Spanish, my credit card from the UK (as I was working there in that time) and they systems locked me out of everything because it wasn't normal.

I shot a mail address using a contact form and in less than 24 hours I got a phone call which solved all my issues in that same call.

I've been locked out of my AdSense account for breaking the TOS, but they won't tell me which point of the TOS I've broken (which, as far as I can tell, was none) and the only way to get around this was just to create a different AdSense account. Which is against their TOS BTW.

PS. That interaction with Apple was not the first not last, but the only related with an online service. They've fixed hardware, dealt with recalls and even took care of stuff outside warranty.

He said isn't necessary, a counter example does nothing to argue against that statement.

Apple's developer support on the other hand, is atrociously bad. This article is about a developer account.

Unless you are trying to get an app past App Store reviewers.

Well, hey, look at Zynga. They even treated their employees terribly and got their success.

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