So my primary go-to tool every day for ministry is Google services: especially what we now call Google Drive (formerly Google Docs), which includes Docs, Sheets, Presentations, Forms, Drawings, and an “upload anything” storage feature which will take everything from photos to PDFs.
But while Google tools are cloud-based and killer at collaboration, there’s one thing that Google doesn’t do so well: HELP.
Support for a lot of Google services often seems limited. Having trouble figuring out that spreadsheet formula? Unsure what’s going on with your e-mail settings? Usually the choices are to browse a set of overly brief help pages, or head into the wild west of the Google product user forums, which are hit and miss (at best) and are punctuated by posts of people crying out for any official Google rep to stop by and even acknowledge the question. You’re not going to find a easy access “Contact Us” or support ticket submitter or phone number.
Yet we don’t complain because the product is so good, works well, and let’s be honest, it’s usually free.
Live Chat Support for Google Drive
That is until I discovered today that Google Drive offers free live chat support. In two clicks I was live chatting with a Google support rep who was fast and knowledgeable. Wait time? About 10 seconds.
Here’s what I found out:
Any Google Drive user can access live chat support. Though this article talks about phone support as only available for paid storage accounts, the chat support feature is for anyone who’s signed up for the free 15GB. I confirmed this with a rep—on chat (too bad the phone help page doesn’t even mention it).
You’re speaking to the Google Drive team. Which means they can’t help with Search or Gmail, but Drive includes a lot they can help with!
It’s easy to overlook. At least I sure did for a time! The Contact Us link is really just in the upper right-hand corner of the main Google Drive help screen, but you’ll notice the main help section more prominently features standard help pages (recently nicely re-designed) and the community forums. Screenshots and details below.
If you are using Google Apps for Non-Profits, they can’t help you (well, sorta). If your church uses a custom domain for their Google services, than this team isn’t for you: even though the end products are the same or similar, Google Apps has it’s own support team, and choosing Chat (as detailed below) will give you a message to contact your workplace.
But: if you have a generic gmail account (of course you do), I think this may be a faster way to get answers on how to use a product. The Google Apps service team provides e-mail and phone support for registered customers (even free non-profit customers), but last time I checked, no chat! Since I prefer chat, and the services are so similar, I just logged into gmail and got my answer that way. Note: there may be some differences between your church’s private Google Apps and publicly available versions of Google Docs or Sheets: this is due to your user features release cycle: ask your Google Apps administrator if you’re not seeing features you want in your private Google Apps and tell them you want “Rapid Release.”
Step-by-Step to Live Chat Help
- Head to your Google Drive if you aren’t already: drive.google.com.
- Choose Help under the Settings Gear
- At the Google Drive Help pages, choose Contact Us in the upper right
- Choose one of the two middle Google Drive options
- Choose Chat and have fun talking with real Google people.