Tech Companies Leave Phone Calls Behind
By AMY O'LEARY July 6, 2012
Quora is a Web site that crowdsources answers to just about any question imaginable, including "What is the meaning of life?" and "Is it possible to stick someone to the wall with Velcro?" But anyone searching for a phone number for the company is out of luck. Not only is the number unlisted, but the very question "What is the phone number for Quora?" has gone unanswered for months.
Quora is not the only social technology company that presents an antisocial attitude to callers. Twitter's phone system hangs up after providing Web or e-mail addresses three times. At the end of a long phone tree, Facebook's system explains it is, in fact, "an Internet-based company." Try e-mail, it suggests.
LinkedIn's voice mail lists an alternate customer service number. Dial it, and the caller is trapped in a telephonic version of the movie "Groundhog Day," forced to work through the original phone tree again and again until the lesson is clear: stop calling.
Voice calls have been falling out of fashion with teenagers and people in their 20s for some time (text only, please). But what is a matter of preference for the young is becoming a matter of policy for technology companies; phones cost money, phones do not scale. Besides, why call when you can use Google, or send a Twitter message?
On the other end of the line, however, some people may not know how to Google, or do not want to use Twitter. These users may be older, or less technically adept, and they are finding the method of communication they have relied on for a lifetime shifting under their feet. It does not make sense, they say, that a company with products used by millions every day cannot pick up the phone.
The companies argue that with millions of users every day, they cannot possibly pick up a phone.
...***** Moderator's Note *****
Just think: Touch Tone service used to be a status symbol. Now, technology allows companies to separate the buyers from the spyers in the most elemental way: if you're calling them, they don't want to deal with you.
Bill Horne Moderator