I sense Google’s customer satisfaction is going

Google appeared on my irk radar again last week with the new Driving Mode just going away (still gone,) but perhaps it really started with the absurd Google Fiber waste of nine months (I’m told I would be getting a call back several weeks back, nope,) continued with Google Assistant being unusable for several hours, two of three tickets I’ve got open being worked the same – don’t read the ticket, don’t pass information, don’t solve, and of course the ultimate add on insult today is asking my Home devices for white noise triggers playing some random playlist on YouTube Music that includes random attention grabbing plinks. Oh, or perhaps the “tell me the news” function constantly stopping on my morning commute.

TL;DR – getting a bit ticked which is the one time you might actually be able to read this and think “perhaps Paul is expressing emotion” but it’s probably just noticing things.

OK, yeah I’m a bit irked at this point. In short, 2021 has not been a good year for me and Google but it’s gotten so much worse this past month or two. Share my frustration with Google’s support. I still think the products are generally great.

The missing man

I’ve got a Google Nest cam connected to the Nest service. When I’m out it tells me there’s a person in my house. This is kind of alarming. Person. Not movement, not whatever. Person is in my daughter’s room. This is where someone would break in if they didn’t want to try any of my pretty rough security doors.

There’s never a person. I worked with the Twitter support for a couple of weeks on this and narrowed it down to the “person” appears to be in the bottom left. There’s nothing that looks like a person. If I move the camera a bit I can make the person appear in the bottom right. This only alerts when I’m gone as a note, so yeah. Trick of light caused by clouds most likely, but without completely blocking the window there’s not much I can think of at this point.

I can tell it has something to do with the light changing, but this “person” is never identified like in the case of Spooky McTreeface. There’s nothing in the images that vaguely resembles a person.

My contact with the Twitter team went from August 30-Sep 5th when they elevated it to the next level. I got status updates that the team was working on it until September 18th when I got a note they’d emailed me. This was just under 3 weeks from the time I started, and a little over two weeks since escalation.

The email I got wanted to know what the problem was. They had no information. This had not been being worked on in any fashion other than a ticket was being processed. I re-explained that their software was crying foul occasionally. How to reproduce the issue. Yadda yadda yadda. That it was the Nest IQ labeling a person I needed help with. Their solution today was an authorized replacement of the camera.

I’m not sure if I told this particular tier I had swapped the cameras, but I’ve swapped the cameras. It’s the AI, not the camera, guy. All explained previously.

White noise… running through my mind

“Hey Google, play white noise” – this is a phrase oft repeated in my house. When it’s cool enough to not have a fan or window unit running white noise is a next to no power usage routine that …. yeah… it’s like a fan without the bother of a fan.

The Google Home white noise routine is basically a white hiss set on a one hour loop that repeats over and over. It’s long enough that you don’t guess the white noise randomization is repeating, and it’s hissy and solid enough that it drowns out the neighborhood.

Home is now playing playlists named white noise rather than playing that. If you want to hear a Korean music group about 20 in there’s that for you. Main issue is switching between tracks and different styles and loudness of white noise. Like if you want a hiss, you’re getting a hiss and random plinks.

Pretty sure I covered back a while ago how it was impossible to get the Twitter team to understand what was going on.

Feedback, do you speak it?

I’m told to submit feedback in a different case involving the Google Home original. I’d like to mention here my feedback consists of three locations, 3 different same product, 2 ISPs, 2 WiFi brands, two unrelated/unlinked Google accounts, steps to reproduce the problem, and the same issues on all three products. This is a block of text more than “this doesn’t work huh huh” and I’ve asked how to get this nice page long issue report to the people who can do something with it. I even know the solution.

Problem TL;DR – Google Home Classic disconnects from WiFi, stuck in “hang on while we get reconnected” or “I can’t find the WiFi” forever.

Best I’m told is tell Google Home “give feedback” – which we saw how that goes or open the app and attempt to tap out a page long detailed bug report. Voice feedback is universally garbage. I’m going to just record myself on various carriers, ISPs, WiFis trying to give feedback and turn it into a YouTube channel at this point. It does not work well.

So, Twitter team can’t pass feedback on this case, tells me I have to submit it in the home app. There’s no way I’m going to be able to submit this page of how to… so I pop open Your Phone and go to town using a computer and .. yeah cut and paste isn’t working… ugh.

Type up the report, press send, and am told that the app closed. Head meet desk.

Pulling a Bill Clinton

Every case gets a “we understand this can be frustrating…” which is not what I want to hear. See, the frustration is not caused for the most part by the issues I encounter, but by the customer service I encounter. With the Google Home Classic, I’ll unplug and plug it back in again. With the Nest cam I’m currently just ignoring anything spotted in the bottom right. With News I’m just asking it to start again. When Google Assistant went completely out for me and several other people I just ignored it.

What’s annoying is the support team. They’re positioned at the start that the Google Hardware that’s having problem with Google Software running on the Google Operating system that you’re not able to configure is your problem. I got it, they’re playing by the Windows handbook where there are 60 trillion configuration options, but yeah, current OS, your product, it’s not a blame game but let me give you the issue and firmware version and then work that issue.

The Twitter team escalated and said an issue was being worked for two weeks… it wasn’t. I don’t think they’re deliberately lying, I don’t blame them, but your escalation team coming to me with no information whatsoever is abysmal. That needs to be fixed.

Giving the wrong answer

I fully understand what it’s like to work in tech support. I was in a call center for a while over a group of people who were hired to be sales associates and told that those jobs were no longer there and they could do ISP level computer support or find other employment. Yeah, shining moment of my career was attempting to get/keep a customer service tier one tech support going with people with no computer experience.

One of the things I had to enforce was give no wrong answer because it screws everyone up. I mean, this was more in the “don’t tell them it’s X’s fault if you’re not sure” and “make sure you understand what you’re sending to the customer and that it’s what the solution is and won’t screw them over.” Seriously, you make a wrong move and down a business that’s not great. You’re not sure you ask me or one of the two people who might know.

With Google they’re on a time crunch and feel it I’m assuming. Unfortunately every answer I’m getting from the first teams is either information gathering they’ve already processed, or the incorrect information which results in them having to re-research the original answer.

I’ve been pointed to so many articles that are out of date it’s absurd.

Vent much

This is me expressing frustration. You have no idea what Google’s tech support, communication, and lack thereof have wasted (I mean, read the Google Fiber story and you might have a clue it’s probably over $20K just there,) and it keeps going on. Every level of customer service seems sus.

Then again, maybe it’s just me – I deal with them regularly due to 8ish Android devices, an attempt for them to be an ISP at a building, with Google Adsense, a client who uses Adwords, a dizzying array of Nest and Home hardware, Google One, Google for Business at multiple locations, and am basically wading into this every day just wanting someone named Bob or Sally I can reach out to and say “look, here’s the problem, please understand I’ve turned it off and back on again and it’s all your equipment and software.”

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts