The Industry Needs to do One Thing to Avoid Regulation: Provide Better Phone Support
Why Tech Companies Avoid Customer Service and the Opportunity That Comes With Actually Engaging Your Users
Thirty years from now when you’re reading my memoir pay attention to Chapter 8 because that’s when I became President of the United States. The populist momentum that resulted in an unprecedented third-party ascension was all based on a single premise: the large tech companies should staff competent, responsive and empathetic customer service departments.
My YouTube video went viral. Where I picked up a Yellow Pages, looked straight into the camera, and ranted about how we can get a locksmith on the phone, the local supermarket will pick up when it rings, even (with a little bit of effort) my doctor. But try to call Google. Try to call Facebook. Try to call most of the tech companies no one is there to pick up. Send them an email or file a ticket? Good luck. We are dependent on them for our lives and our businesses, and we make them billions of dollars, and their employees wealthy. But they won’t help us navigate through this new world they’re creating. And that’s why I’m challenging our government to regulate them. Not about monopolies or privacy or copyright, but customer service. They want DMCA safe harbor? They want Section 230? Well I want someone to answer the GD phone!!!!
Snapping out of my daydream where our fractured country is united behind the idea of 1–800–4GOOGLE (by the way, in the Presidential fantasy my VP led a grassroots uprising for standardized charging plugs — their logo was a Guy Fawkes and USB-C plug), I do want to seriously suggest that one way for our industry to improve its standing with average consumers and small business owners is to be more user friendly when those folks have questions. Through my years at Google and YouTube I heard from lots of people about how much they loved our software but when something went wrong (locked out of an account, wrong information on their business listing, confusion around advertising) they went down a rabbit hole trying to get an answer from our company. And didn’t understand why these powerful corporations couldn’t afford to try and help their customers/users figure out this new world…