Is there any greater optimism than a “help” section on the website for a large company?

I had to phone British Gas today – and like everyone on earth, if I have a query such that intuitively I’m pretty sure I need to commit to the pain of actually making a phone call that will involve half an hour on hold – my first move was go to the website, find the “contact us” link.

Immediately, I’m funnelled down into a “help” section where I have to input my query. And – no surprise – none of the links help. How are they ever going to? My intent of being here was to talk to someone, and I’m unlikely to have that intent diverted. To be honest the only way I found the phone number was by Googling, “what’s the actual phone number for British Gas” and the number was on a Reddit post or something.

We all know the only reason why this step exists is because there is a really high abandon rate for doing this – i.e. handling your calls costs money, and putting you off the idea of making the calls translates to less money spent..

As a startup founder, you never start at this point. You’re not going to design your business starting at “antagnostically awful”, yet so many businesses end up there.

Maybe then this is a good culture question. I certainly have dealt with businesses that have gone from startup where they were cool to being scaleups where they are now a bit rubbish because the senior teams takes their eye of the culture.

When your startup is worth £100m – what sort of organisation do you want to run?