I feel like folks don’t understand why we don’t publish a phone number, so I’ll try to explain:
With email or the forum, we can have ‘canned responses’ that cover 90% of what people ask, and sprinkle those into our replies, while answering the other 10% the old fashioned way.
We encourage people to use the forum for this reason, but here other users can handle the really easy questions, or the ones that we can’t answer because we don’t have that hardware, experience with that kind of job, etc. The forum can be easily searched, both with the built-in search and with Google, and the information is fully public, unlike say Facebook, or a phone call.
When you give someone your phone number, more often than not it’s taken as an invitation to call you when they have any issue at all - it’s their first instinct instead of a last resort for some people. This is great for Comcast or Amazon, who can hire a call center to deal with it. It’s not great for companies that are one or two people supporting thousands of users. We could hire people to manage the phone banks for us, but prices would go through the roof. We keep things priced low so more people can afford the software, and maintaining the level of support we have for a constantly growing user base is a challenge.
If everyone with an issue called and took 10 minutes to get a resolution, we’d simply go out of business because everything else would grind to a halt. With email or the forum, we can copy / paste / embellish / send a response in a minute or two, then go help someone else while waiting for you to reply. With a phone call, it’s one person at a time, and you’re their hostage until they’re ready to let you go. That sounds harsh, and I mean no disrespect to any of our customers in saying that, but human nature is to chat (and I’m as guilty of it as anyone), make small-talk, and the 'oh, while I have you’s can drag things out far beyond the original topic.
All of this ignores that we sell internationally, and have users on the other side of the planet. I get occasional calls from business contacts in China, Europe, and Australia at really weird times, and they’re usually trying to be respectful of the time difference - most customers wouldn’t think to ask.
Being a very small company, and speaking for myself, my time is the most valuable thing I have. Being able to dictate how and where I spend that time is one of the few things that helps keep me sane, assuming I can still make that claim.
It doesn’t mean we’re hiding, or unwilling to help, it just means that we want it on our terms, and in a format that helps us be efficient with our limited time.