The strange death of the company phone number

As anger rises over clueless customer service, there has never been a better time to offer a human, instead of an online form

New: Gift this subscriber-only story to your friends and family

"We have removed our telephone number," said a note on the website of a photography business I needed to contact in a hurry last week. "It's because we've noticed customers prefer to chat online, via e-mail or by filling in the form below," it added.

Yeah, right, I thought, as I grumpily filled in the online form and hit "submit", sending my query off to some digital netherworld where I doubted it would be seen by anything as costly as a human.

Already a subscriber? 

Read the full story and more at $9.90/month

Get exclusive reports and insights with more than 500 subscriber-only articles every month

Unlock these benefits

  • All subscriber-only content on ST app and straitstimes.com

  • Easy access any time via ST app on 1 mobile device

  • E-paper with 2-week archive so you won't miss out on content that matters to you

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2022, with the headline The strange death of the company phone number. Subscribe