Friday, August 11, 2006

Whatever Happened to Customer Service?

...or Customer Retention, or whatever.

I generally try to follow the maxim: The Client Is Usually Wrong.

That is not to be confused with the customer of the client, who is unfortunately always right, no matter how wrong they are, since they pay the bills ultimately.

Rolling Stone has much to learn about customer service.I am a customer of Rolling Stone magazine. I was waiting for the new issue in the mail, looking forward to the cover story on Zeppelin, among other things. When it didn't show, I fired off an email to their subscription department that read simply:

I have not received the Zep issue. It's on newsstands already and yet I have not received it by mail.

After a couple of days, they responded with:

Thank you for contacting Rolling Stone Magazine.

Our records show an expiration date of July 13, 2006.

Thank you
Rolling Stone Magazine

That's it? OK, so I let my subscription lapse, but that's it?

Man, if I were a Brit, I'd be using words like "wanker" and "tosser" right now, but I'm just an American reader of Rolling Stone. But I'm also a marketer - and Rolling Stone blew it. So they got this back:

Well then, you did a crappy job of offering me an opportunity to renew my subscription before it expired - and an equally crappy job of offering a renewal opportunity when I contacted you about what I thought was a missed issue. Guess I'll go pick it up on the newsstand. Or maybe not. Maybe I'll just stop reading it. Thanks for your surly, unprofessional response - and may your department's quotas not be met this month.

Wankers. Tossers.

And as I'm posting this, they just got in the last word:

We have received your correspondence and it is being sent to a customer service representative for proper handling. If additional information is required regarding your inquiry, the representative will contact you directly. Please do not respond to this e-mail. Thank you.

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