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Google, Nexus One and the customer service risk

Google made its splash with the Nexus One, but the entire effort could flop if the search giant doesn't nail the customer service. After all, an alleged superphone deserves super service.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

Google made its splash with the Nexus One, but the entire effort could flop if the search giant doesn't nail the customer service. After all, an alleged superphone deserves super service.

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In fact, customer service may be the biggest risk with the Nexus One launch. Now it may be liberating to buy an unlocked phone from Google---or a subsidized one from T-Mobile---but customer dissatisfaction can leave quite a scar on a product launch.

Since last week's launch, Nexus One users have been hit with a few issues. Let's take a peek:

3G access issues at T-Mobile. T-Mobile says in its forums that:

Google and T-Mobile are investigating this issue and hope to have more information for you soon. We understand your concern and appreciate your patience.

The complaints generally go like this:

Albuquerque, NM 87120 3-4 bars of 3G goes back and forth between 3-4 bars of Edge and sometimes to no bars WITHOUT moving Nexus. Compared friend's MyTouch 3g at same location and gets 3-4 bars of 3G all the time. I need solid info about cause of problem and status of potential fix so as to be able to make a judgment about return within 14 day period. If there is a doubt I will return it and expect a full refund.

The who ya gonna call problem? PC World noted last week that customers are confused about who to call with Nexus One problems. Do you call Google, HTC or T-Mobile? Well, that answer depends on the issue.

Then there are service eligibility issues. This forum has a bunch of items on that wonderful topic. And oh yeah, there are a bevy of questions about order tracking on the Google store.

Now maybe these customer service issues are to be expected. However, customer service is easier than it looks---just ask any retailer. Google could get a crash course with the Nexus One launch. Irate consumers want one-throat to choke and the customer service choreography has to be tight if Google wants U.S. consumers to consider an unlocked phone. At least with subsidies and two-year contracts there's one throat to choke.

Related: Google's Nexus One: Is it super? And is there a market for a superphone?

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