Vanishing phone customer support is driving us all insane

The lack of phone customer service is driving us all mad. It seems like it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get help when we need it, as more and more companies are turning away from traditional phone support. This is leaving us feeling frustrated and helpless.

#Vanishing #phone #customer #support #driving #insane

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I keep getting AI chat options that are completely incapable of understanding my questions let alone answer them


It’s progressively getting worse in some areas. The phones are tied up, some throw a “if your call is not urgent then please hang up and try our other options”. But they have no other options! The ‘chat-to-a-human’ option will have mysteriously disappeared from the site, but not updated the pages talking about it. So I keep hunting around for a button that might be blocked. I end up disabling layers of adblockers (ubo/pihole) and digging through source code only to find that there _is_ no chat option.

> Companies say they are reducing options for human contact by popular demand.

The article addresses this well. It’s “by popular demand” from C-suites who want to generate more profit. Some of us do like texting rather than speaking on the phone, but with a human as text is an excellent medium for explaining complicated problems and relaying information. Not an automated bot which the bean-counters that purchased it have never used themselves to solve problems.


Someone is going to come along and RE-introduce live customer support, and people are going to think they are geniuses.

“Honey! There is a LIVE guy on customer support! Honey! Get in here!”


Leadership:… “Self-Serv is the future !, everyone will love it !”….. as Quality & Customer service levels tank.


Before Windows became common, the top word processor was WordPerfect. One of the reasons was that they not only had toll free telephone support, they had multiple numbers to handle different functions of the app. There was one for printing issues, another for columns and other layout issues, another for function key support, etc.


Is it really that cost-effective to have robots ticking customers off instead of support people who just might have a clue?


My bank is awful about this. I was trying to work out something with my parents regarding our accounts and my mom kept saying she couldn’t get anyone on the phone. I was, huh, I used to call them a lot, surely you can? I tried and nope. Basically you get routed through the computer system over and over again then it just hangs up on you.

Then also, my GF was trying to get something done with I think the cable or maybe her phone company. The only option was text chat, and the dude was apparently having chats with 6 other people at the same time – he’d answer once every 15 minutes which was driving her insane.


I tried to call my doctor about a prescription and I got routed to India.


I requisitioned a P.O. for a TV from Best Buy through the Purchasing department where I work. I told my buyer I’d run over and pick it up from the store when it was ready. They let me know I was on the order as authorized to pick it up, but I needed to call Best Buy’s “Help Desk” phone number to find out when it’d be ready.

Every option routes you through an automated set of prompts. None of them would connect me with a real person. So, I try calling the local store. That local number is forwarded to the nationwide call center. After about 20 minutes of prompts and being on hold, I **finally** get a real person…who proceeds to tell me they can’t discuss the order with me because I don’t know the order number and I’m not the person who placed the order.

Finally, I just give up and drive to the store…which is literally six minutes away. It’s the middle of the day on a weekday so the store is empty. I walk straight up to the pickup counter, identify myself and where I’m from. The clerk taps a few times on her keyboard and says, “Yup. It’s ready to go. If you’d like to meet us out front, we’ll load it up for you.”

I legitimately drove to the store, picked it up, and drove back to work with it in less time than I spent on the phone trying to find out if the order was ready.

The concept of no longer being able to simply pick up the phone and call across town to get information is just mind boggling to me.


Ticketmaster has zero phone support. You’d better hope you’re not stuck outside a venue when you can’t access your tickets.


PSA: if a customer service line tries to make like there’s no human, try 0. If that doesn’t work try 9. Many have a way through that may not be on the list.


They’ll just be adding ChatGPT-powered chat bots soon. A step up from the current chatbots, and sometimes more effective than a human, but the option to talk to a person, at some point is still often useful.


sitting though minutes long recordings directing you to use their website or app before presenting you with dial-in options is awful


Enterprise IT Sector: My (now former, thank god) boss required us to utilize our support contracts, basically letting third party support do all the heavy lifting. For years, we were not supposed to “waste time troubleshooting.” [sidebar: he then used that situation to say we couldn’t fix anything]

Currently, support from our top 4 vendors is completely useless. Microsoft support intentionally drags out cases for months. Makes up bullshit. Sends form letters and “HowTos” (yeah, I can google too MS).

Once again the demand is back on us, and they still won’t admit they need us.


*‘Your call is very important to us.’*

But not important enough to hire people to answer the phone.


Schools need to start teaching how to report problems with technology, and how to interact with support people. And maybe some on how to be a support person.

But hardly anyone can report tech problems, most people give no details at all.

And the number of people who answer just one question when you send them 3 or 4 in one email is just ridiculous


I work in rural IT. A wide mix of walk ins, remote, onsite, over the phone… etc. Dealing with service providers and vendors, the automated systems are a pain.

Most recent… Calling Verizon for a client, as they were moving off of ATT. There’s a lot of little details of interest, but I’ll keep it simple. Automated system wouldn’t say why the ATT number couldn’t be ported, but immediately transferred us to a rep. The number called was for the Porting Dept, but the rep, after back and forth talking, informed us I wasn’t talking to the porting dept.

This is far from the first time I choose a dept, or call the direct line number, and find out I don’t have the dept I expected I called.

The issue we had, after talking to three(?) reps, the last one found specifically why the number couldn’t be ported. Why we had to jump through hoops to find out why, is stupid. I understand depts are compartmentalized, but there’s a limit before you reduce quality over simplicity, if you want to call it that.

Though not so much related to the article topic, the reason was our area of Oklahoma, ATT numbers can’t port into Verizion. Yet Verizon is covered in our area, and the nearest stores, not AR, are a good hour or so drive away, yet some people persist to go or stay with Verizon in the area.


> A survey by OnePoll in 2021 found that more than two-thirds of respondents ranked speaking to a human representative as one of their preferred methods of interacting with a company

Really? Imagine that, two-thirds of people put the phone as one of their top three methods of contacting a company.

My question is, what are the answers other than in person, on the phone, or electronically? How do like 85% of people not have those three? What are all these other options pushing phone and email out of the top?


I was talking to my wife about this the other day while on hold for an insane amount of time. The automated system kept telling me I could find the answers online. I was like no shit, do you think my first instinct is to call somebody? If I could find the answers online, I would’ve done that, I’m calling you because I need additional help for something specific


“We are currently experiencing longer wait times.” Is the new way of saying “we are increasing your inconvenience in order to augment our bottom line”


Got a bill after closing my account so when it asks me for a phone number I don’t have it anymore… literally impossible to get anything done through that automated system.


If you have solid email (or web portal) support that can actually be a better customer experience. But don’t force the same low-value scripted replies for everything, step up your tier 1 game so that initial contact is a positive one.


Can you blame them, call center work sucks and they get treated like shit


A fucking Men


Got an alert call from my bank about potential fraud. Usually, it’s just them being suspicious about something I bought, no biggie. Except this time, there sounded like at least 1 purchase that I actually didn’t make. The phone robot transfers me to a human. The first voice is a message that says everyone is busy. The next voice tells me that some systems is down and I cannot be helped at this time. I swear I thought it was another machine when they spoke. So, the machine that alerted the fraud was ultimately more helped than the real human. (Obviously not their fault some systems is down & don’t know when it will be back up.) So now I’m stuck wondering if my information & money has been stolen. I have to find a time within working hours when I’m not also working.

All this just to say even if there IS phone support that doesn’t mean it’s gonna be helpful or available when you need it.


ai chat? gotta be more intelligent than that outsourced offshored wackos that only hit function keys


And god help you if you get somebody with a thick Indian accent that you can barely understand.


Hoping more service workers chime in here. Can confirm that not only does it cut cost but it ensures that adequate time is actually spent with each customer. Don’t believe me?

I’ve been working in tech for five years but spent most of my career in food service, so I was used to being shit on for little pay.

Okay, with that out of the way.

Imagine, you’re having an issue with a subscription service you use like Netflix. Now imagine the user base for Netflix.

That’s a lot of fucking people, right? Now imagine some of those people also experiencing similar issues to you. Now, think about how many stupid people you have met and wondered how they exist in this world. They also have access and need / want the same services as you. If these companies had phone support they would be tied up all mother fucking day troubleshooting, talking about life, etc with all the rest of the people that want / need help with the same service as you have.

Before you judge, just think about the situation at hand. One bad apple spoiled the bunch, this is why you can’t have phone support. It is far too cumbersome. Email and chat support is already a hellscape, you cannot imagine the things that the general population say or how little they are able to comprehend about the world. I’m being mean but it’s the truth.

Not to mention elderly that have no idea or refuse to learn certain things regarding technology.

It is what it is because we made it that way.


This is all to isolate the customer from the business. How does the company “know” what the problems are if they customer isn’t giving feedback. Management gets to keep their head in the sand and getting a bonus.


I prefer chat to talking on the phone.


Million dollar idea – start an in-person customer care center that can focus on more than one business. Contract to companies and train your staff to be able to answer questions for multiple companies.


I have worked there for 8 months and I am happy human customer support is disappearing.




I prefer email support vs phone support


Oh no, people are going to have to *gasp* RTFM themselves instead of having someone read it to them over the phone! The horror!


The only way you have a voice is to speak with your pocketbook. I cancel service if I don’t get proper customer service. If I’m paying for your product, you owe me customer service as part of that price. I don’t buy Ford anymore, I canceled Vivant security system, I canceled Apria Medical, and I’ll never use them again. There’s other options for just about everything unless there’s a monopoly. Cox Cable has me in a bit of a monopoly, so for now they get my money, but they also get my horrible reviews, and the second I can tell them to shove it I will. Cox Cable is the worst.

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