Leave Us Alone

Have you noticed that more and more companies are making it nearly impossible for you to contact them through their websites? Some are particularly diabolical in their plots to tell us all to get stuffed. They provide a contact button, and when you click it, you have two options. Their mailing address (as if any of us write letters anymore) or their help center, in which you can speak to an automated phone system that sends you from one menu to the next, but ultimately does not help you at all, or you can post a message in a community forum where you get to commiserate with all the other frustrated customers out there who also have no idea what to do about their situations.

Am I alone in thinking this is a piss poor business model? I get it. The incessant ringing of the telephone means you actually have to do your job, and that gets expensive. But telling your customers that you can’t be bothered, that you’re happy to take their money but will do little or nothing to serve them, seems like the best way on earth to lose their loyalty. It might even get you the occasional disgruntled, mentally ill consumer visiting corporate headquarters with the ubiquitous AK47.

Ah but in this present atmosphere of monopolies, we, the customers, have fewer and fewer options when we’re dissatisfied. Many cities give you two possibilities for wifi at the very most, for example. So there’s not much we can do other than shout into the phone, “I need to talk to a HUMAN!!!!” and hope the robot will finally see reason.

I long for the day when the pendulum swings back the other way, when companies aren’t allowed to get too big to fail, and, due to the increase in competition, customer service becomes a priority once again. But I’m not going to hold my breath while listening to the Muzak that seems to be the soundtrack of my life these days.

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