If you have a problem with an online service, sometimes filling in a web form and hoping for a response just isn’t enough. Finding a phone number for the company can be next to impossible, and – should you find the elusive number – trying to navigate their phone tree can put you in automated operator nightmare.
Fortunately, telephone numbers for most companies are discoverable via sites that specialize on this information.
Several websites are available to provide you the phone numbers you need – if the company provides a phone support service – or even an online chat feature at all.
However, there is a clear divide between the practices of stalwart companies and the relative newcomers over the need or responsibility to provide consumers with any means of direct contact. This is something to keep in mind as you select the services you use, or you allow your kids to use. While most people most of the time will not need any support, the question to ask is whether in an online incident, dispute, or crisis, do I want immediate help from the company?
Facebook and Google don’t appear to accept consumer calls, nor do they provide an online chat with customer support service.
Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo! take the opposite approach providing both phone numbers and tech chat – though that does not mean everyone loves the responses. (For brevity’s sake, I’ve opted to only show two of these, Yahoo’s is essentially the same).
Only you can decide the level of support you need. However, if you want more than is offered by the companies behind the websites you use, you have the power to drive change by letting them – and your friends, and friends of friends, and the general public – hear your frustration.