As companies abandon phones, customers are being mis-connected

Jan 30, 2024, 11:06 PM | Updated: Jan 31, 2024, 8:20 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Michelle Burnett owns Home Clean Heroes of Salt Lake Valley. She prides herself on good customer service, but lately, she’s been getting dozens of calls from angry customers.

The trouble? They aren’t her customers.

From what Burnett has gleaned from the folks who call to yell at her, there are house cleaners that advertise on social media that don’t live up to promises.

“That’s going to ruin our reputation and our name,” Burnett said.

Why are these jilted customers calling her? The Better Business Bureau’s Tim Johnston has a theory.

“If you happen to check out a company’s website and look at how to contact them, you might find something that says we don’t provide support over the phone,” he said.

Johnston said more and more companies are hanging up their phones for good. If you want to talk to them, they expect you to text, email or chat. The trouble happens when people turn to search engines digging for phone numbers, and the search engine guesses wrong.

“It’ll provide something that it believes to be the right response. It’s not going to be 100%,” Johnston said.

It’s creating issues that Get Gephardt has reported on before.

Nick Olsen was trying to reach an airline that doesn’t have a phone number. He ended up being hung up on by whoever he really called, thinking it was the airline.

Canceled flight and missed cruise for Orem man, travel insurance stalls reimbursement

And it can be worse.

After he got packages he wasn’t expecting, Gordon Belnap searched for Amazon’s phone number. He connected with someone who claimed to be Amazon but was really a scammer.

“Scammers post fake customer support numbers online to fool customers,” Johnston said.

He said it’s wise to think about customer service before you do business with a company. If you are someone who likes to be able to get to the bottom of issues with phone calls, then maybe you want to avoid companies that have steered away from phone support.

For business owners like Burnett, his advice is to not ignore negative reviews or other issues, even if they don’t pertain to your company … Especially if they don’t pertain to your company.

“(Consumers) interpret a lack of a response by business to be a lack of interest in that customer’s concern,” Johnston said. “So even though it may not pertain to your business, may be a wrong connection, make sure that you promptly respond.”

That is advice Burnett is already following even though it’s taking away time she could be focusing on her customers.

To get in touch with Get Gephardt, send an email:

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As companies abandon phones, customers are being mis-connected