Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Getting Help with Google Apps

So, as an extra duty, not assigned, I've been trying out Google Apps for a work site and have become frustrated working through the on line help for user management.

(The backstory is that we started with Google Team. Some users were invited, but not registered. We converted to Google Apps Standard Edition. The users who were invited, but didn't register don't show up on the user accounts management page and can't be deleted. There's some reason to believe that the stale invitations with the associated accounts will be deleted, perhaps in 5 days. Maybe not, though.)

Anyway, here's a posting in the Google Apps Admin help group that's seems helpful.

So if you are like me, you needed help and couldn't find out how to
reach the Google Apps Support Team. Sure, you signed into Google Apps
with an Administrator account, and you clicked Help. Then you found a
tantalizing little link labeled "How do I contact the support team?"
which takes you to:
https://www.google.com/support/a/bin/static.py?page=contacting_suppor...
Then you hit brick wall number 1. No email address anywhere on that
page. In fact, here's the text so you can read it yourself:
********************
Need to contact our support team directly? We provide limited email
support for a small set of critical issues, where a service that was
setup correctly has stopped working (not including POP or IMAP). While
we read every email that we receive, you'll only hear from us
(generally in two business days) if we need to collect more
information. Please search the Help Center for instructions on domain
verification and activating email. If you need to report a service
that stopped working, we suggest visiting the Frequently Reported
Issues page.
********************
Then you started digging through the Help Center and the Discussion
Groups, and they said either... 1) log in as an administrator, go to
domain settings, go to account information, then find the section with
your Customer PIN: and the contact information on how to reach them.
Bang! Brick wall number 2. Sure you found your Customer PIN, but
there is mysteriously no link / email or anything else to use it with.
or 2) you find some random post in the Discussion Groups which says
you just need to email them at 'apps-supp...@google.com' with your
Customer PIN and screenshots right? Did that, I got a nice rejection
message stating:
*********************
Hello,
Thanks for your interest in Google Apps. This is an automated
response.
The message that you submitted won't reach our support team.
If you need assistance, please visit the Help Center at
http://www.google.com/support/a, or by clicking 'Help' in your control
panel. You can find answers to many frequently asked questions, and
get in touch with our support team by clicking 'Contact us.'
**********************
Feel like you are running in circles? Or did you get sneaky like me?
I followed the link above, and I was back where I started. I found
the link that "How do I contact the support team?" is supposed to take
you to, copied it and googled it looking for a cached version. Bingo!
The original support section read:
***********************
Need to email our support team? Classify your issue. Based on the type
of issue you're experiencing, you'll have the option to email us your
question or ask the admin community in the Discussion Group. We
generally respond within two business days via email.
************************
The phrase "Classify your issue" was a hyperlink to
http://google.com/support/a/bin/request.py
Finally, oh wait! Another brick wall! There is no "Other" section
under "Administration" / "Get help with a technical issue" which is
where my issue would fall. NOTE: My problem is the bad user count
issue many others had. So then you methodically search through each
of the technical support issues searching for the correct email
address or link to finally reach support and....
http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/request.py?contact_type=technical
You found a webform.. hooray, and it has a field for your Customer PIN
which up until now was completely useless. You fill out the webform,
and you get an actual confirmation email later, they got the
submission. And you attach screenshots to you reply... yeah! I hope
I get some support now.
This post is for the rest of you hunting for help from the Google Apps
Team. Kudos to those of you that skipped to the bottom.
Now to find the customer PIN...

Update: Customer PIN is only needed for Premier and Education accounts
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