Google’s general lack of phone support* is about more than just saving money by not having to pay people to take phone calls. It’s about keeping people talking — and writing.
I was thinking about the fact that you can’t call Google to get customer support to get started with AdWords. Obviously, people to man the phones cost money, that’s clear. But also look at the fact that since there’s no phone support, people have to actually read. And talk to each other about setting up AdWords and getting help with it.
This can build word of mouth (literally) and also a larger body of written AdWords documentation (by Google and by users seeking help or seeking to help others). So Google actually has people talking to others about their offering and even documenting AdWords on Google’s behalf.
That’s a virtuous cycle! So it’s not just about saving money by not having people on the phone supporting AdWords. It’s about this virtuous cycle.
I used AdWords in this example, but it applies to more Google services than just AdWords.
* Perhaps some of their offerings have a hotline, but those are certainly the exception.