Tuesday, November 27, 2007

don't contact us

we are working on a proposal to develop an application that would require a paging service component. you remember pagers from the early 90s right? anyhow, i'm trying to contact what i believe to be the top 3 companies (usa mobility, american messaging, & skytel) in this industry & it's becoming almost impossible to get someone on the phone; not even a sales person will pick up. this is a common problem that i run into & i'm using today's scenario to describe what normally goes down.

these companies begin by hiding their "contact us" link on their website. usually this link brings you to a form that simply submits an e-mail to the "ghosts" that these companies call employees. if you are lucky, you find a phone number behind one of these links. normally this number leads you to customer service or even worse an IVR computer system that never drops you to a real person. for almost 3 hours today i've been clicking on website links, making phone calls, talking to droids for the most part, & sending e-mails that seem to never land anywhere.

the industry leader, usa mobility, has by far been the easiest of the three to get a hold of yet still very inefficient for me. after finally breaking past customer service, which required making two separate phone calls & talking to two different reps that lead me now where, i pulled a name from the company directory that i found online. the directory actually listed the cell phone number of a women, julie. i skipped the office numbers & called julie's cell number immediately & she actually picked up the first time! she was out getting coffee, but was still able to chat with me for a bit & get me the name & number of the person in the business development group, nancy, that i needed to talk to. i then called nancy & left her a vmail. after not hearing back for some hours i called her again & she picked up. after talking for a bit she, just like nancy, realized i needed to talk with someone else. she pointed me to bill in the reseller of services group. nancy then provided me with bill's direct phone number & then transferred me. unfortunately bill did not answer after i was transferred so i then left bill a vmail. it's been 2+ hours & i have yet to hear back from him. so while usa mobility has been the easiest of the three to get a hold of, i still am no where close to getting the answers to what i'm looking for.

why in the world do companies make it so hard? i'm not trying to complain about services, report a problem, etc. i'm actually looking to partner with a company & bring them business that would result in additional revenue for them.

is this just the result of the corporate bureaucracy that eventually leaks it's way into a large business? has the digital age we are living in resulted in no human contact? or are these companies just that ineffective in opening their doors to new customers?

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