Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The day when Google slipped


Yes, I agree; it is a misleading title.

It should have actually been "The day when Google slipped from its towering pedestal in our minds".

Most of us have high regards for Google, as a company, for its high standards and its blazing growth over the past decades; no doubt.

This piece is not about that. It is about the one area of customer service, which is taken for granted by all or most Indian companies; and Google seems to me as no exception, as the story narrated below will convey.

I signed up for the Google Cloud trial for 60 days. Activated the account, added a card for payment, create an instance and migrated all my domains into the new instance.

All well for 60 days. A few days before expiry, Google started sending me reminders about the expiry, which unfortunately did not come to my notice, since I had used a rarely used account for the subscription.

On the day of expiry, it was around 1030 am, when accessing my domain returned an error. That was because Google automatically stopped the instance, when the trial period was over.

But, that is not the problem. Perfectly right on Google to shut the server down. What happened next was unbelievable!

I got wind of it and immediately, we got to revive the account. Within the next few minutes, we made the payment and upgraded the service, only to be greeted by a blank dashboard. All the instances that I created during the trial period were GONE!!!

I also remember seeing a message which communicated something like "you canceled your subscription" or something to that extent.

I do not remember having cancelled the subscription.

But,should not there be a double check, when a user wants to cancel a subscription? Would Google not look at the traffic and activity on that instance over the past 60 days and find that there have been activity in that instance and warn the user against cancelling the subscription?

To get a clarification, we decided to call Google.

If you had encountered the call centre of any service provider in India, which are mostly useless and not at all worth calling in an emergency, you would know what a pain in the neck they are.

Funnily, we could not find a number where I could call and get a clarification. There is no number you can call for any doubts that you may have during the trial period. If there is one, it is not publicised prominently.

So, I tried calling the generic Google number once, but the executive just transferred the call to an extension, without bothering to find out if the extension is being attended to. Guess they had left for the day. So, after a full ring, the call got disconnected. The weekend was a goner, with the next few days being Diwali holidays.

We did not bother to call the Google call center again; not interested in listening to parrots on the other side.

Tolerant as we Indians are, we created another account in Google Cloud and recreated the instances again. Lost a few days' data and a lot of credibility in my organisation.

Didn't expect this googly from Google, though.

Update:
Google has since revived the account. But, I still stand by my words. Customer support is pathetic in India.

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