Residents of Saratoga Springs, NY have been noticeably more clueless over the last two months because of delivery problems with the Wall Street Journal. Apparently there is some kind of turf war among carriers. So every morning I go online to https://services.wsj.com, sign in with my account number and login, and report the missed delivery.
A few minutes later I get an email that confirms my delivery problem and tells me I will be credited for the missed issue and the local office is working on the problem. It then goes on to advise me: “In the future, please go to services.wsj.com to report any problems with your delivery. It’s easy and quick to use, and our delivery staff is notified directly from the site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
See the problem? Since that’s exactly what I did, WSJ assuming I did not do it puts into question the rest of the message. And the takeaway is that I assume they are in fact doing nothing about my delivery problem, which in fact they are not.
Then, every few days they vary the mix and send an email that says “To make sure we provide the field office with everything they need to resolve this issue, please answer any of the questions below that apply to your situation.
– When did the problem begin?
– Where is the paper usually delivered?” Etc.
Once I rose to the bait and responded that nothing had changed about my delivery situation (the house has been here for 130 years) but it didn’t actually make any difference. Nor should it, since this is boilerplate that some helpful scribe inserted in the rotation (“if missed deliver complaints = >5, then print ‘n’ ”) so I wouldn’t see the same thing constantly. Instead of fixing the problem, they’ve focused on creating an extended library of customer service correspondence for people who get the same message over and over again.
The lesson here: If you have a contact strategy as elaborate as this one, then there’s something wrong at the core that needs to be addressed. Handle it, instead of asking some copywriter to paper over it. Oh, and don’t insert a marketing message when a customer is already pissed off, such as “Here’s an opportunity to give a great gift at a great price: The Wall Street Journal Print and Online for just $119!” Hey, I could give it to my dad… then he and I could both not receive the paper.