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“We Value Your Business”: Reaching a person at a company that doesn’t want to be reached

As we saw in yesterday’s encounter with Qwest, many companies—often those with a vested interest in customer service—do not want to deal with the unwashed masses with whom they are forced to do business. They make it as difficult as possible to reach a human being, because they don’t care about their customers and do not wish to waste time speaking with them.

There are several avenues to get their attention.

You can often get through to a live human by calling a phone number listed at Get Human. This useful site lists telephone numbers and strategies for getting past the punch-a-button maze.

Failing this, try googling the company’s name + “corporate headquarters.” This often will bring up a snail-mail address and a viable telephone number; sometimes a working e-mail also will appear. Invest in a stamp to send your comments or complaint by snail-mail. This was how I got an address for Steve Jobs, during the late, great MobileMe fiasco. I printed out my post, “An Open Letter to Steve Jobs,” and mailed it to Cupertino. Interestingly, an underling in Apple’s corporate offices telephoned me –several times! –to discuss the matter. Didn’t succeed in fixing things, but at least he pretended he cared, which was comforting.

Apple Computer
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA

A search for Qwest’s corporate headquarters gives us this intelligence:

1801 California St.
Denver, CO 80202
For general inquiries: (303) 992-1400
or (800) 899-7780
Fax: (303) 896-8515
Customer Service

Investor Relations
(800) 567-7296

Qworst’s customer disservice link takes you to another infinite loop, wherein you have to register and reveal private information before you can wander through an off-putting maze in your attempt to get some help. However, in a past experience I learned you can reach a high-ranking P.R. officer by contacting investor relations. So, that’s where I sent a link to yesterday’s rant about the company’s execrable DSL customer service.

When you believe you’ve been treated unethically or actually cheated, think about what regulatory agencies and trade groups govern the offending corporation. For example, banks and credit unions are regulated by a national banking commission. Insurance companies are to some degree regulated by state agencies. The U.S. Attorney General is interested in frauds and scams that cross state lines. The state attorneys general in your own state and the state where the company is based also may be helpful. Even if they can do nothing, management in general does not enjoy receiving a telephoned or written inquiry from an attorney general’s office; often a simple notice from a regulatory or law enforcement agency will spur a response to your issue.

Also consider contacting companies whose employees have to do business with a wide variety of vendors. Your complaint probably isn’t the first; if you get in touch with agencies or companies serve as intermediaries, you may find a way through the maze.Your credit-card issuer, for example, may have a telephone number that will reach a person at the problem company.

It takes ingenuity and persistence to get past the ramparts erected by megacorporations, which are specifically designed to repel all comers. But keep at it: if you can’t get through, try to enlist the aid of an agency that can.

5 thoughts on ““We Value Your Business”: Reaching a person at a company that doesn’t want to be reached”

  1. I have also found that it is sometimes good to try different extensions of a person’s name when emailing. For instance if you were trying to get a hold of Steve Jobs and you knew the extension address (for this scenario lets assume you should try,,,, etc. Usually sending all of these addresses at once will connect you with the right guy. If it doesn’t there is not harm done! simple.

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