Fortune 50 to Consumers: Please Don't Call Us, Thanks

Only 3 of the Fortune 50 Provide a Simple Phone Number: Dell, Home Depot and Lowe's

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I don't know about you, but when I have a question or problem with a company, I look for a phone number on their homepage.

Usually, that requires digging down through several "contact us" links, and then sifting through the frustrating "don't bother us" options on the so-called customer-service number.

Of course I understand that having live customer service is expensive. But given the millions the Fortune 50 spend on advertising and marketing, it seems that America's biggest companies should be able to afford to have human beings answering their phones.

So I took a look at their homepages, and was surprised to see that 47 of the Fortune 50 have no phone number on their homepage. Some don't even have a contact us link!

Even AT&T and Verizon -- which are, ahem, PHONE companies -- have no phone numbers on their homepages.

The only three Fortune 50 companies with phone numbers on their homepage are Dell, Home Depot and Lowe 's.

America's biggest companies don't make it easy for consumers to call them, despite the fact that :

  • 61% of smartphone users call a business, 59% visit a business and 44% actually make a purchase.
  • smartphone users who are seeking local information are quick to take action -- 88% of local information seekers take action within a day
  • 93% of smartphone users use their phones at home, according to Google
  • 82% of Americans report that they've stopped doing business with companies because of poor customer service

No wonder consumers are frustrated!

The Fortune 50 spend millions of dollars trying to raise awareness of their brands: buying ads on TV, online, in newspapers, magazines and out of home. But most ads, and most websites, don't include compelling reasons, or ways, to take action.

As a recent What's Next Blog study proved, 56% of the Fortune 50 do not include social media links on their homepage. And even when they do, those links rarely lead to live human customer service problem solvers.

What's the cost?

Despite the hype and hoopla, we're still in the earliest phases of social-media adoption. While elusive "influencers" are on Twitter, most of the world, and most consumers, still are not.

Making it easy for customers to contact a human -- especially from a mobile phone -- is going the way of the dinosaur, and that 's a huge mistake.

Sure it costs money to have human beings answer a telephone and help customers. And if that sounds expensive, consider what it costs to have customers buy from companies who make it easy to reach a human.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
B.L. Ochman , president of whatsnextonline.com, is an internet marketing strategist and blogger who can be found Twittering, at WhatsNextBlog.com or with her newest venture, Pawfun.com.
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