We’ve all had those times when we quickly, painfully realize what we thought would be customer service is really customer disservice.  Nowhere is this truer than trying to find a real phone number to talk with a real human being about an issue.  Even a valid, well-attended-to email address would be better than nothing.  Writing in PC World (“Skeptical Shopper:  Get the Help You Need without the Hold Time” February 2013, p. 26), Anne Kandra shares a number of tools for consumers to use to climb over the castle walls so many companies knowingly or unknowingly construct.  One of my favorites is  The Web site locates valid (but usually unpublished or otherwise difficult-to-find) customer-service email addresses and telephone numbers:

“Although GetHuman . . . can connect you to the appropriate customer service department . . . it also lists other methods to contact a company, including phone numbers and email addresses.  Better still, the site ranks each contact method’s effectiveness, based on user data.”

Well, even if you make the phone call, how about those long hold times?  Kandra pinpoints the perfect solution to that issue:

“Find a company in the list of more than 3,000, click ‘Have them call me’, enter your phone number, and go about your business.  A representative will call you back.  The site lists a wait-time estimate.”

These tools are not only tremendous timesavers and convenience enhancers, but they both have Android and iOS apps available.  I love technology.

An important takeaway exists for businesses—consumers are fed up with customer disservice.  If you are not going to make telephone contact with a human more easily available, then you’d better have a pristine, responsive Web site that makes the customer King and efficiently gets the job done.  Failure in these areas will send your customers to your competitors.  Case in point—just last week I permanently dropped a Web service I had been using for years because I got fed up with some developing online roadblocks the company has refused to fix.  Now its competitor gets all my business.  And I knew from checking the various online forums (surprise!), many other folks are doing the same thing I did.

The message to business leaders is loud and clear.  Customers are saying, “Somebody, please help me!”  If you don’t step up to the plate, someone else will.

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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