I don’t understand some companies these days.  They offer a wide range of convenient ways to reach them, only they are unable to help you with the SPECIFIC issue you are contacting them about.

Case in point:  I have been an OnStar customer for quite some time now, and while reviewing my account online I decided to contact customer support to discuss my options for downgrading to a cheaper plan.  I noticed the button on my account that said “Live Chat.”  Since I was in a hurry, I decided chatting online would be easier so I could multi-task.  But when I told the rep that I wanted to discuss cancelling or downgrading my account, they said for security purposes they were unable to handle this via chat, and I needed to call the toll-free number.

This raised two immediate questions:

1)  Why would they not put a note on the “live chat” screen indicating a list of account specific transactions that couldn’t be handled via chat?  This would have redirected me much more efficiently – instead of creating additional time trying to get assistance

2) And finally, why would you offer chat if you can’t even chat with customers about what they need?  I mean, come on, this is Onstar, so generally the only reason you would contact them is if you were locked out of your vehicle or you needed to cancel or change your plan!

If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends. – Jeff Bezos

Many companies DO offer chat for everything you need.  So if you aren’t going to go all the way, then don’t go AT ALL 🙂