Why We No Longer Have a Phone Number for Customer Calls (and You Shouldn't Either!)

Why We No Longer Have a Phone Number for Customer Calls (and You Shouldn't Either!)

Posted by Big Brand on 27th Oct 2021

If you are debating if you should get a business phone number so your customers can call to ask questions, I encourage you to read this first. Of course it’s just my personal opinion, after 10 years of accepting calls, so make of it what you will.

First let me start off by saying that on rare occasion we hear things like, "You don't have a number I can call?  This must be a scam!" - FACT: Having a phone number does NOT mean a company is legit!!!!  In fact, scammers primarily use the phone to target victims.  The scammer pretends to be your bank, Microsoft, the IRS, you name it.  Additionally scam companies love the phone because there is NO EVIDENCE.  They can "spoof" their phone number (learn more about Spoofed Calls on the Federal Trade website).  On top of that, there's TONS of companies that have phone numbers but are flat out terrible businesses.  A few examples of these horrible businesses that have phone numbers can be found on our blog and include BrandLabsGlobalLimosMassGenieTanga and more. (If you have some free time, read the Tanga review because it's crazy!)  So, having a number to receive calls on has absolutely nothing to do with being a good business, a real business or an honest company.  

Now onto our story:

By 2014 I had completely reached my breaking point with phone calls because, over time, calls had went from a couple a day to being all-day-every-day, even on Christmas Day and 11pm on New Years Eve. It got to the point where I would wake up at 6am and there would be 30 voicemails left by customers and potential customers who all wanted a return call for some random reason ranging from “Do you sell wholesale?” to “Do you have Ralph Lauren size Extra Small Sweaters in blue with gemstones?” to “What’s my tracking number?”.

The problem wasn’t with the questions, the problem was with the amount of time each conversation took and 99.99999% of calls ending with us having to send them an email or text message with a link to a listing, a link to a tracking number, etc. So essentially, we were doing twice the amount of work to perform 1 task. Also, the #1 problem with calls is that when you are on the phone you can help 1 customer at a time. If that customer has a lot to say, a single call can easily be 45 minutes, or more!

Additionally, one of the biggest frustrations became the amount of time each call took. You can’t fault people for wanting to be chatty, or for wanting to ask for advice or even for wanting to tell us about their lives, struggles, businesses, family, weather… you name it. BUT, being a small business it began to feel like nothing was getting accomplished because 8am - 9pm, 7 days a week was spent on the phone… and almost every single one of those calls resulted in sending 1 or mail emails.

In 2015 I came to the realization that what we were doing wasn’t making financial sense because we began getting so many calls that people became livid that when they would call the phone line was always busy. We would then receive emails from absolutely pissed off people who called us a dozen times and could never get through to speak to anyone to get assistance. By this point we were LOSING potential buyers due to excessive calls.

So, the decision had to be made:

1. Do we rent space to hire employees to work a call center? This would drive up costs and the added cost would have to be passed on to our customers. Plus, people get seriously livid when they have to sit on the phone, listening to horrid “please hold” music for 45 minutes or more (I’m looking at you, Home Depot!). To avoid lengthy holds we would need at least 5 employees, working full time. Even if they are paid only $10 an hour, thats $21,000 a year x 5 people = $100,000 added cost, a million dollars over 10 years time… just to answer calls.

2. The second option would be to “outsource” the call center. This would be a cheaper option however, from my personal experience, outsourced call centers are terrible for the consumer and lead to customers hating the business. For example, Chase Bank outsources customer service, so when you have a problem you are stuck speaking with a Chase employee who you genuinely can’t understand no matter how hard you try. From personal experience, I can say that it makes the consumer utterly furious when they need help, especially with something as important as their bank account, and they have to keep asking the outsourced customer service rep to “please repeat that.” With that being said, I’m NOT knocking anyone who is able to speak English when it’s not their first language. In fact, I commend anyone who is bilingual because I have been trying to learn Spanish for the past 8 years and I’m nowhere near fluent enough to have a conversation, so I do admire anyone who can not only speak the 2nd language but can get a job performing customer service using the 2nd language. BUT the customer service reps accomplishments doesn’t help the consumer and, in fact, it makes them completely pissed off. In fact, I was so aggrivated with Chases customer service that I created a bank account through a competitor that doesn’t outsource their service (shout out to Ally Bank!). So, clearly, outsourcing is bad for business, therefore we could not consider this option.

3. The last option was to eliminate customer calls as a whole and instead focus on super fast written responses. I put a lot of thought into this option because I have noticed that many of the biggest companies in the world are shying away from call centers and focusing on Live Chat, email “Support Tickets”, forums and other forms of written service. Why? Because it saves time, less employees are needed, it is much for efficient as a whole and written communication can be fully monitored so the owner of the business can see exactly how their customers are being treated.

The downside of written customer service is when companies like Google, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook only offer this form of assistance yet do not reply for weeks… or, often you never get a reply at all. Additionally, those times you do receive a reply it’s often a copy-and-paste form letter that has nothing to do with the issue you need assistance with. It’s like the employee never even reads the email you were forced to type. This infurioriates EVERYONE who needs help.

So I began thinking, “how can I offer perfect customer service without phone calls?” and I determined the ultimate solution is to offer TONS of contact methods and set a goal of responding to every single inquiry within 10 minutes from 7am - 10pm (or so) during the week and a little extra time for us to sleep in on weekends.

I then came across a super cool app called Pinger Text Free (it’s now owned by Google, I believe). The thing I really like about TextFree was the ability to access the messages on a cell phone, a computer, a tablet or multiple devices at once. This means anyone in our company can help a customer based on their needs without confusion; if the customer wants to know if we carry DKNY brand, Leah can use her desktop computer to send them a direct link to our DKNY category. If someone in Japan wants a shipping quote on a 50-piece sweater Lot, our warehouse staff can see the question, get the quote and reply directly back to the customer. And if a customer wants to praise our company, ask for a donation for their charity event or work with us in some way, their inquiry can be directly accessed by the company owner or managers. Basically, IT JUST MAKES SENSE! It’s so fast, so efficient, so user-friendly… we are able to get our customer exactly what they need in seconds. Also, I personally find customer service to be better for the customer and the business when the communication is in writing because both parties can refer back to what was said, because it’s in writing. I don’t know about you, but I like stuff in writing for my records.

We then expanded the methods to contact us to include:

Live Chat on our site

  • Facebook Messenger
  • Instagram Messenger
  • Email
  • SnapChat Direct Messages
  • Twitter DMs
  • Telegram
  • Google Business
  • And more.

Fast forward to the end of 2021 and we have increased our sales substantially by not wasting time and energy. Adding time back to our schedule allowed us to offer FREE SHIPPING, followed by SAME DAY shipping. This extra time lets us list more and we were able to increase the amount of days per week we list new stock (we now list new wholesale Lots 7 days per week, but we do take an average of 2 days off per month from listing.)

We also get endless praise regarding how fast we reply to communications. Most people are completely shocked when they send a company an email at 7pm on a Sunday and get a thorough response before 7:30pm.


If you are considering offering calls, I would encourage you to consider that it is only a matter of time before you also end up with the “growing pains” we experienced. Looking back, my only regret is not ending calls sooner. I firmly believe phone service is becoming outdated, but again, this is all just my opinion.    

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