Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Why Andriod Will Not Be a Long-Term Success

The unending hype from the tech industry about how Android is crushing the iPhone is pretty laughable. Sure the tech industry hates Apple, and Android is the next best thing to iOS, but they are missing the big picture. To win long-term requires good customer service practices, and these simply do not exist at Google. Apple has been around since before the internet, and has never adopted the internets lack of customer service business model. When you are Google or FaceBook, and have millions and millions of customers, and a limited budget for customer services you need to make some choices. For example if you have one customer service agent per 5 million customers, you have issues if you publish a support email address or support phone number. The support load would be overwhelming if you allowed your customers to actually contact you, so they simply avoid this at all costs. They use Forums, and FAQ pages, and their contact pages do not provide actual contact information, just more hoops to jump through and links back to the FAQ pages. I know this from personal experience. Google is probably a top ten worst company in terms of customer service. You simply can’t contact them, even if your problem or issue can’t be solved by a FAQ page. If you are a customer of Google and have an issue you are simply fucked. Fucking your customers over is not a solid long-term strategy for growth.

So how does customer service for the Andriod OS work?

I will tell you right now, that you will not be getting any from Google. Google gave away the OS for free, and as a result does not have to support it. So the device manufacturer will have to support the software that they did not provide. Good luck with that one! So if your android device is having an issue you can go the manufacturer, and they will claim it is an OS issue. You can’t go to Google so you will need to just take their word for it.

How does customer service work for the iPhone work?

Apple not only makes the phone, but they also provide the OS and software. They are completely responsible for the device, and can’t point fingers elsewhere. They also have a brick and mortar retail presence that allows you to speak directly with Apple customer service agents. They also have actual contact info on their website. So at apple they can take ownership and resolve the issue, while with android there is no single owner, and OS support will be non-existent.

Which OS requires more support?

The Andriod OS clearly will require much more support than an iPhone. There are simply more versions of both the OS and hardware out there, and Android phones are much more customizable from their base configuration. The iPhone is also much easier for non-techies to use and understand than an Android phone. So the support levels will need to be higher for Andriod, but the support is crippled by Google’s lack of participation.

Ultimately, consumers are free to choose the Smartphone operating system that they want, and many are currently choosing Android. Consumers are a fickle bunch, and once they catch wind of major customer service issues with Android, they will not be sticking with the OS long-term.

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