Thursday, January 25, 2007

An Appeal for Good Service

I was listening to the morning drive time radio program today. It was pretty much the usual stuff--lots of humor, weird news, interviews with stand-up comedians, and the occasional smattering of rock-n-roll. To me, one of the appealing qualities of these kinds of programs is that the hosts can become very familiar and will be very open about any and all things, even very personal matters. This morning was no different.

But, something interesting occurred. One of the hosts began to complain about not receiving his morning paper, repeatedly. He suggested that the delivery person had forgotten where he lived. As is often the case with radio personalities, he used his forum to rant about his poor experiences. Mind you, he described himself as a newspaper lover and does not like to receive his news in other formats. So, he is the core newspaper audience.

Because this program has a very large audience, it took no time for someone at the Newspaper Company in question to send an e-mail to the program. The hosts read the e-mail on the air. Guess what? No apology for the break in service, no offers to correct the problem in a personal way, only the standard corporate spiel about having over 1M readers, a delivery failure rate of less than 1%, and a better performance rate than the industry standard. Then the e-mail went on to offer the 1-800 number to call when you do not receive your paper.

Can you guess how the radio personality responded to the e-mail?

Is this a missed opportunity for the Newspaper Company in question?

What could have been done differently?

(By the way, someone at the Newspaper Company in question gets it. They e-mailed 15 minutes later to personally apologize, provided their direct number and told the host that they would personally take of the problem and ensure that it does not happen again. Was this too late? Had the opportunity already passed?)


Nathan Tipton said...

It's great that someone at the Company finally woke up and realized that, yes, this customer had been having a continuing negative experience and something needed to be done about it. Was the (albeit belated) apology enough? Maybe, maybe not, but it is a step in the right direction. What I'd be interested in finding out is if the "real, live" person who responded (as opposed to the computer-generated corporate-speak letter) was able to go to "the powers that be" and confront them about their SOP in responding to customer complaints. Since the radio host now has that person's direct number, maybe that's something about which the DJ should inquire. That, I think, is the sticking point -- if he (or anyone else) is to be valued as a customer, then tangible, lasting proof must be offered that changes can be (and are being) made.

Damone Virgilio said...

I couldn't agree more. Good points.