Ditching Phone Service For Customers — Is This A Bad Business Model?

Written by William Pauwels on July 4, 2017

I wonder how many CEOs, general managers and sales managers recognize the negative affect that their anti-phone orientation has on their customer relationships?

You can hardly phone a business today and get someone. (There are occasional exceptions.) In many cases, there’s a long list of choices followed by a second list. And then you wait.

Clearly, most of today’s phone systems are designed to discourage personal telephone service. They want everyone to go to the Internet – to fill out their forms – and to wait for an email reply. That’s what THEY want – to hell with what the customer wants, i.e., personal service.

Obviously, businesses are designing systems that serve their bottom-line interests, i.e., lower-costs via less employment – get the customer to do the work, rather than satisfying their interests.

Perhaps I’m old-fashioned, but I have always felt successful businesses focus on meeting the needs, wants and expectations of customers. And customers want to talk to a real person, immediately, when they phone. My philosophy is: Take the customer and/or prospect out of the marketplace as quickly as possible – before they can go to a competitor. While, that’s rarely the response one gets today, I wonder what the bottom-line impact is of the anti-phone orientation?

The first rule of good marketing is to intercept 100% of the interest that exists for one’s products and services. The second is to take the customer out of the marketplace before he/she can change his/her mind. The third and most important rule is to provide so much satisfaction that the customer will come back to you the next time. Lastly, one should always make it quick, easy and fun to do business with you and your company.

photo credit: classic_film Patricia Neal, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961) via photopin (license)

Share if you wish customer service by telephone would make a comeback.

William Pauwels
William A. Pauwels, Sr. was born in Jackson Michigan to a Belgian, immigrant, entrepreneurial family. Bill is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and served in executive and/or leadership positions at Thomson Industries, Inc., Dow Corning, Loctite and Sherwin-Williams. He is currently CIO of Pauwels Private Investment Practice. He's been commenting on matters political/economic/philosophical since 1980.