Are We Doomed to Pathetic Customer Service for the Rest of Our Days?

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    These days, general incompetence and ill-implemented customer service runs rampant in my online life. How about you? Here's what it looks like for me. I go to a link provided in a newsletter and end up with a Page Not Found message. I try to fill out a form to gain access to a white paper, webinar or some other service; when I click "submit," an error pops up. An airline, which boasts about its Web-based business model, insists that I mail a check into a PO box in order to extend the expiration of a frequent flyer ticket that is strictly e-based. Mail? You mean, like, with a stamp?

    That's why it shouldn't have surprised me when I tried to buy a subscription to CMP's newsletter, Managing Offshore, and hit a dead end.

    Here's what the email subscription invitation said:

    Executive Charter Subscription
    Dear DIAN SCHAFFHAUSER,

    • Where are the global opportunities for business in 2005 and beyond?
    • What are the risks and rewards of global sourcing?
    • What key metrics will tell you whether your global sourcing strategy is working – or failing?

    Hi, I’m Rusty Weston, Founding Editor of Managing Offshore, the first centralized resource for strategy and tactics for global sourcing. Just as I did as editor at InformationWeek, I’m working with leading-edge executives, service providers and opinion-makers to bring you a monthly newsletter focused exclusively – and extensively – on the issues that you face every day when you consider the global stage for your business.

    There's a lot of information out there about the ideas and issues that Managing Offshore covers. Now you can bring the best and the brightest thinking on global sourcing issues as they relate to your business right to your desktop with a subscription to Managing Offshore. Please click on the link to download a free copy of the January 2005 issue. I’m sure that what you’ll read will impact your business.

    As a professional courtesy, we are offering a special introductory rate of $49 if you subscribe by March 4th, 2005. That’s a full year (12 issues) of timely, insightful and focused articles and commentary designed to help you to improve your global sourcing strategy for only $49.

    I look forward to your decision!

    Rusty Weston
    Founding Editor
    Managing Offshore

    Wow! $49 for a newsletter that normally sells for 10 times that?! OK, sign me up! But when I went to the link provided in the newsletter:

    https://as400.halldata.com/cgi-bin/webform?N=mopaidq&p49=mo&pp=1&p1=Z00902203&p88=MBP049

    The rate was $99. I sent off email to the customer service listed on the form:

    [email protected]

    Heard nothing. Sent a follow-up email. Heard nothing. Finally gave up.

    Now, as I'm writing this, I see that the form has been repaired and the newsletter is listed as $49.

    Perhaps I wasn't the only one to complain. But if I were the client who had outsourced this transaction to Hall Data, the service provider, I wouldn't be pleased. How many other potential subscribers, when presented with a switch-and-bait price on the order form, just said, "Thanks, but no thanks" and never went back? I almost didn't.

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