Thursday, October 05, 2006
Customer Service Rant
Earlier this week, my husband calls "Customer Service" (quotes intended for ironic effect, picture me holding up my curled index and middle finger up and wiggling them) and after listening to modern muzak for a half hour, reports that we didn't get our paper at all on Monday. "Oh, and by the way," he adds, "For the past few months, the carrier hasn't been putting the paper in the Journal-Sentinel drop box. He's just tossing it on the porch." The "Customer Service" representative said she'd note that in the delivery file, and a paper would be delivered by such and such a time. Eventually we got it.
So this morning, Brian calls me at work to report on something else, but in afterthought, before I went to some typical work meeting, he asks, "By the way, is the paper getting put in the box?" No, its still getting tossed on the porch. (I get up way earlier than him).
He calls "Customer Service" and they pretty much read a script to him: they're not ALLOWED to do anything but toss the paper on the porch. Some board of directors voted recently to stop the practice of actually serving the customer by putting the paper where the customer actually wants it. No between the doors, no inside a patio, not even in a Journal-Sentinel supplied drop box. Something about liability and such. Right. I keep a box, (that BTW, clashes with my color scheme) obviously supplied by the Journal-Sentinel on my porch so I can sue somebody for putting a newspaper in it.
Are we asking for so much here? This isn't difficult. I just proved it tonight by asking our three year old to perform this seemingly difficult task. "Hey buddy, go put this newspaper in that green box." "OK mommy."
As you can see, the above picture proves that a three year old could navigate his way around getting a newspaper into a newspaper box with little to no difficulty. Plus he wasn't loaded with excuses. It was a simple, "OK mommy." (He's consistent with "please" and "thank you," too.)
Look, Journal-Sentinel. You're offering great deals for home delivery. Clearly you need to get those numbers up. It would be just as easy for us to just dash into 7-Eleven on the way to work or (horrors) skip a day or two and maybe only pick up the paper on Sundays while we're at the donut shop. But that way, you don't get to report guaranteed circulation by zip code to your advertisers. You don't get to say "We have x of homeowners in zip code 55555 who read this paper every day." So we know that being subscribers is important to you. Its not like I can't click on line to get the top stories, but then you don't have my demographics, do you? All you're asking from us is that for a small fee, you deliver the paper to our door so that you've got your demographics, and return, we reap the convenience of having a newspaper at our door, not on our porch, not out in the front yard, not on the sidewalk dry, and in an easy to reach place. All we're asking from you is that you put it in the box that you supplied us with. We didn't put this box up on the roof or anything. We put it right under the mailbox. The Mailman isn't having a problem with this location.
We think our carrier is pissed at us ever since that one wintry day when it snowed at 3 in the morning, and I didn't wake up at 4 am to shovel the sidewalk so that he wouln't have to have snow touch his boots in order to get the paper in the green box. He wrote us a rather nasty note about this (about a week before reminding us it was time for his Christmas tip) and now he has his revenge. But when Brian asked "Customer Service" again why we couldn't have this, the "Customer Service" person rattled off some scripted reply about how its no longer policy to respond to customer requests. OK, that's not exactly what she said verbatim, (I wasn't on the call!) but some board voted and they don't want to face the liability for damage to property. So instead, we get to risk our new siding being dented or our windows getting broken by a flying newspaper.
OK, [/rant off].