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Customer Service Is Dead – Alternatives?

  • 7 min read

Customer Service Is Dead – Alternatives?

If you’re a consumer, as most people are, you have seen the results of the new business model that all companies have. Even government agencies have less customer service. How hard is it to get somebody on the phone anymore? How hard is it to get somebody to call you back?  Even for sales.. even when you’re trying to buy something, it’s hard to get somebody on the phone. Customer service is dead – alternatives?

Here’s a perfect example of the extreme nature of that, and what you can do about this. What can you do about getting customer service? We’ll talk about that but here’s the article: CNBC “Frontier Airlines” is canceling telephone customer service. Effectively they already did this and  most of the airlines now are doing the same.  Even if they have customer service or a phone number, you can call and nobody answers the phone directly.  I’m sure you’ve seen that whether you’ve called an airline or a government agency. Companies like Amazon, that you want to do business with and nobody has a person waiting around answering your phone call. Companies don’t have people just sitting there wanting to talk to you on the phone. They make you go through some other channel. Whether it’s email, text message, live chat, but they always had a phone number. It’s just nobody ever answered, just went to voicemail.

 Here is one example where the company’s saying directly “we’re getting rid of customer service by phone and they can reach out by tech ,social media, and WhatsApp”. What does that mean for you and how can you still get customer service? Well first let’s take a look at the reason why they’re doing this: The one important thing about phone calls is it’s one-to-one interaction. If you’re on the phone with somebody, that person can only help you. They can’t help by talking to somebody else right? You have their undivided attention. 

What they’re doing on chat or email is handling multiple conversations at once. If you’re emailing the company, that email provider can talk to at least 10 people on live chat.  If you have an obscure question that the customer might ask; according to the article “a call center agent may take several minutes to research and find the answer”.  A chat bot can answer that very quickly. That’s the reason why they’re switching over. 

So how does that affect you and how can you still get the answer? 

Well you have two choices: one is you can use their chat bot, website, their YouTube channel, or even look at YouTube videos for the answer to your question. If you do want one-on-one conversation with a person, just recognize that in this day and age, that’s going to be a higher business model. In the case of Frontier, they don’t have that one-on-one conversation because they are a low budget airline. Some of the other higher airlines, Delta or American.



 If you fly first class you can contact an agent, put in your ticket number and you can still contact an agent. There’s the money aspect. You could throw money at this problem and still talk to an agent. You might not think it’s fair that you have to throw money to talk to somebody. The way that labor rates are right now, companies just can’t afford to have people sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting for you to call them. It just costs too much money. They would have to jack up their prices so much that it wouldn’t be worth it. 


There are options that you can take advantage: pay to talk to somebody one-on-one. You shouldn’t and you may feel like you don’t have to pay to talk to somebody for customer service. You’re right, but the other advantage of paying for one-on-one conversation is you have their undivided attention, you can ask them questions. Meaning that if you watch a YouTube video, you can’t ask YouTube a question. You can put a comment but you may not get an answer. You’re also getting an unbiased third-party answer. If you have a legal question, you hire a lawyer or you want to hire a lawyer. Before you hire them they’re going to maybe steer it towards hiring them. If you are interested in getting insurance, have an insurance question; you just call and speak to a salesperson. They’re going to try to sell you something or have their answers lead more towards a sale. If you’re paying for that interaction, you’re paying for that consultation. 


Now you don’t have that pressure for that person to sell you, in fact think about the financial services industry. There is a model for financial advisors that commissions have a flat fee. The commission model is for you to get free financial advice from this financial advisor. They get a percentage of your investments of whatever fund they put you into right? So if you have a 401K and you have an advisor that gives you free financial advice but they have two funds they could put you in. One is a fund that pays them a one percent commission. The other is a fund that pays them a two percent commission. Which one are they going to put you in? The one percent commission might be better for you but you know that they make more money with other options. The advisor won’t  just pick the best one for you will they?  You can also pay them a fee, three or four hundred dollars a month but now you’re paying for their expertise. 


There are fee-based options for you in other areas too. You can pay for a consultation with an attorney. You can pay for consultations in many industries,  you can even pay to have somebody give you their undivided attention, answer any questions. Fixing your car, doing work on your house, computer repairs. There are options for paying a fee. Now whether or not you agree with that or not doesn’t matter at this point. The labor pool is such that in order to have very dedicated, unbiased third-party; quality response companies have to charge for it. If they don’t you’re gonna deal with one of two other kinds of people: you’re either going to talk to a salesperson, that may not give you factual information because they’re trying to sell you something. Or you may talk to a low level phone receptionist that has no clue on the answers to your question and that’s easy to provide for free because they’re already answering the phone. They’re not going to be answering your question, they’re just going to say yeah I’ll pass it along and Joe will call you back. Joe’s never going to call you back because they have a job to do. 


You’ll see more and more examples of reduced customer service. You probably have seen it already. How long do you wait on hold now? Sometimes you don’t even wait on hold, they tell you “we don’t answer the phone, send us an email!”. Try calling the DMV, one of the largest retailers in the country. Amazon looks at their website. There’s no phone number, you can’t call Amazon to buy something. So that’s an example of where customer service is going and how you can deal with it.

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Here is another video on the subject..

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