This brief article is inspired by the Why I sued Google AdWords and won" article seeded by krich. I was going to post to the seed, but found that my answer grew too long! Here goes...
As a micro-business owner, I use Google AdWords, but have had a dickens setting up AdSense, mostly through borderline (read: overwhelmed with other responsibilities) incompetence on my part.
From Google's description: Google AdSense is a fast and easy way for website publishers of all sizes to display relevant Google ads on their website's content pages and earn money.
However, I can relate to Google, even if my company is, well, merely a googleth the size of that iconic company, regarding the inaccessibility of reaching "someone to talk to" in regards to a problem;
to be efficient and competitive with our tiny crew, we must take a report or request in writing in the following way:
My company is ultra-micro small tiny by most standards; it's me and 2.5 employees (for now);
The Small Business Administration itself refers to a Small Business as one of up to 99 employees.
In order to get business from huge companies, we posture ourselves to "appear" bigger. You don't want to have a Fortune 500 company call for "Ed and Mabel's Dee-luxe Interweb Security and More"
So in our case, our person answering the phone is in customer service (its own "department") and would have to transfer a call to the order processing "department" or for a billing questions, to the "accounting department" (my bookkeeper) or to my own art or project quotations department.
Whoever picks up the line tries their best to answer questions without transferring, to provide a certain amount of cheerful helpfulness, decorum and so that we do not tie up the others, already focused on their own deadlines and project demands.
Why play games?
We don't "play big business" to impede commerce or take people's money unlawfully, far from it! We do this to provide the best possible service we can in the method in which we can most efficiently provide it; that happens to be in writing by email or fax.
When we have to look up a project, if someone who may have handled the project is on one of the phone lines, on 'livehelp', inaccessible or out sick, we can access the project details, notes and any updates without too much trouble.
Historically, the biggest problems arise when a customer doesn't want to play fair. They do not want to abide by our simple, painfully-clear terms of sale (agreed to when placing an order electronically; we sell online only now), or to follow the policy for returns or claims of damaged goods, or to report a misprint, as example.
In my almost 20 years doing this business, it is the person trying to weasel out of a contract, the person trying to use my company unlawfully as a source for a convenient "rental", or the out-and-out thief, who wants to "talk with someone directly", with rare exception; There is plenty of recourse and avenues of written communication available through our ecommerce site.
Could I make it easier for people to talk to me? Oh my, yes.
However, I am admittedly easy to rattle when an angry or emotional person calls. I feel strong reactions, and cannot sometimes state a case coherently. I don't think to turn on the phone recorder, as example, so a call can deteriorate to "he said, she said". That is part of the reason why our legal policies are in place; not to stonewall someone, but to allow for proper procedural, written exchanges, which we keep as legal records for the life of the business.
Why do large businesses play games?
I'm sure many of the readers are more qualified than I, to report on why exactly a larger company would want to put so many barriers between themselves and their customers.
In my case, we simply do not have the resources to dedicate to our customers, any more than we already do on a shoestring.
Larger companies? Speak up. Let me hear your story, and tell me why it has to be such a test of perseverance to get through when there is an issue.