Customer Service in Online Reverse Marketing

In regards to reverse marketing, I had an interesting conversation with some colleagues about cutting costs in a business that runs mostly online. One individual argued that an online company can effectively reduce many costs by eliminating the option for customers to order over the phone.
What do you think?

Let's play out the scenario: You have an online business that bring in millions a year in revenue. The company is growing, and therefore call center agent are growing as well. About 25% of your business is done over the phone, and the rest online. But to keep up with growth, you will have to train and continue to bring on new phone agents to take orders and answer questions. So do you resort to not taking orders on the phone anymore?

To me, it drives an interesting concept. From my reverse marketing side of the brain (which is quite large) I would say for sure no- if a customer feels better placing an order over the phone as opposed to online, then by all means, let them do so. Make every interaction with your company as pleasing as possible for them.

However, if you restrict customers to only being able to place orders online, you can reduce dramatically the number of agents needed. Still have a call center, but only to answer questions and provide the support. Therefore, they do not spend the extra time entering in orders for people and you can save thousands of dollars a month.

So which is best? I still don't know, but it is an interesting business model. I know of a few companies that follow this model (, and others) and it seems to work, kind of. The business makes quite a bit of money, but the customer service is horrible.

Maybe a nice hybrid between the two?