As readers of this site, you know I am a big fan of Project Fi. The mobile service Google rolled out a year-and-a-half ago has provided me a great experience and I’m at the point now where I don’t know if I could return to one of the big carriers here in the United States. I posted a ton of things about Project Fi over the past six months but one thing I have not covered is not necessarily the service itself on my Nexus device. Rather, it is the customer service that the Fi team has provided me in times of need. Admittedly, those times have been rare but each time I have contacted them, the attention to detail and the earnest effort to sort out my issue has been nothing short of exceptional. This is in stark contrast to what many of us experience with other providers.
My latest encounter with the Fi support team was today. I had an issue where I was receiving duplicate text messages. I’ve had it happen before on Project Fi and I went through the normal routine of clearing the app’s cache (didn’t work), the app’s data (didn’t work), clearing these two for Hangouts (didn’t work) and when I was still getting duplicates, I was a bit lost. So I went to the Fi site and chatted with support to see if there was a known issue or if there was something else I could try.
Within a minute or two I was connected with Jason and after explaining the situation and what troubleshooting steps I had gone through, he did a bit of a head scratch and wasn’t sure what the issue could be on my messages. He asked more questions about my phone and the app versions I was using and when I pointed out the version of my Fi app, he noted that this build was the version that was released earlier in the day. He then asked if I had the app running while it upgraded and to be honest, I couldn’t remember. I generally keep my phone running pretty lean meaning that I
don’t have a lot running in the background. I use the Recent button on my Nexus 6 to swipe away the apps that I am not using so they aren’t eating up memory. But in this case, because I had been in the Fi app checking my data usage and then went to the Play Store to check for update – of which Fi was one of them – I couldn’t remember if I had closed the app entirely before updating.
As I couldn’t remember, Jason recommend that I uninstall the app then reinstall it to see if that sorted out the issue. He patiently held the chat line while I did that and then did some SMS tests to see if I was still getting duplicates. The answer was no. The duplicates had stopped.
Now I know at some point in my life I have updated the Fi app and Hangouts for that matter while they were running in the background. Android is pretty good about shutting down apps, updating them, then restarting them behind the scenes so I have a pretty seamless user experience. For whatever reason, in this case, it made Hangouts, in particular SMS, a bit wonky. What was interesting too is that Jason started with his app, not Hangouts. I suspect that would have been step 2 but we never had to go that far.
Throughout the conversation with Jason, he apologized repeatedly for the issue even though it was clearly not his fault. Maybe there is something going on with the app being updated and Jason assured me he would escalate this up to his technical team, but he owned my issue like it was the only one he was working on at the time. Highly likely that was not the case but I felt like he was only talking to me. That, even on a minor issue like duplicate SMS messages, is quite comforting.
Project Fi is a small player in a very big, very deep pond. It is only available on a select number of devices and they have a small install base compared to the big carriers here in the US. They have differentiated themselves already with their pricing model and the outstand level of customer support only adds to that differentiation. While I am sure others mileage will vary and no company is perfect at support, my encounters with the support team at Fi have been nothing short of exceptional.
Are you a Project Fi users? Have you called or chatted with support? Leave a comment and let me know if the support team has been helpful – or not so helpful.