I spent almost 45 minutes on the phone with my bank today because of an error with their online banking. I didn’t want to, I had to, after their email support told me my issue couldn’t be handled online. It was such a mind-numbing, protracted, time wasting experience that it made me ask myself, “How can anyone ever ask us why we don’t offer phone support?”
In a perfect world, calling a business for help would be quick, painless, productive, and human. But it’s not and it’s not going to be. That old time ideal of calling the local retailer or company and talking with someone after two rings was demolished by the call centers and overseas help desks that sprung up in the information age. It’s time to stop thinking that phone support is so essential. We’re lucky that we have an email support system that works and is incredibly efficient considering the volume of customers we interact with daily. It works because we’re committed to making it work, and if we can do it every company with a mailserver can do it too.
Now, I know people want to pick up a phone and talk to a live human being. We all want assurance that our money is being spent on something maintained by human beings who speak our language and hopefully live in our same country. I get that instinct, because I share it at times. I also totally and completely understand some people’s experience with email tech support is way too techy, unreliable or frustrating and dialing an 800 number is an escape from that. What I don’t get it is why a person would rather sit on the phone for however long it takes – maybe 45 minutes!!! – rather than send an email and go about their life while it’s read and replied to.
Phone calls require you to stop what you’re doing, go to a quiet place, and concentrate. It requires waiting on the line, listening to hold music, being transferred and possibly having the call lost, all so you have to start over again. You can’t share a phone call with your colleagues, you can’t get someone else’s input or feedback.
Emails can be printed out and saved. They can be sent to someone else who can chime in on the thread. They’re a historical document you don’t have to copy down hurriedly while information is spewed out to you. They can be sent quickly, tagged, labeled, archived. You can send an email whenever you want, there’s no business hours to abide by or schedule to confer with.
We get requests every day from people who don’t think email support will cut it and demand a phone number to call us. Their worries are assuaged when they get a reply from me in less than 15 minutes that is informative, helpful and obviously written by a human being. It’s absolutely 100% possible to provide excellent customer care without a phone or phone number, and our company proves that daily.