Customer service, WSJ style

I’ve been a regular reader of, and subscriber to, the Wall Street Journal since about 1974, as my dad was before me. I’ve learned a lot from the paper over the years, especially from the editorial pages under the great Robert Bartley.

I’m sorry to say that I’ve had recurring delivery issues this year. I haven’t received the paper on schedule since April 29. I add the qualifier “on schedule” because someone in the chain here seems to have a sense of humor. Today I received Monday’s paper outside my door where today’s paper should have been. Now they’re toying with me.

The Journal’s customer service is also something of a joke. I have called just about every day over the past three weeks to report the issue. For the past 10 days or so I get routed beyond the automated credit for missed delivery to a customer service rep in the Philippines or, on a good day, in Alabama. The Alabama reps are capable of going off script and expressing interest in doing right by me.

Reps in both centers have extended my subscription by weeks at a time to make me happy. At this rate they can give me a free lifetime subscription to the Journal and it won’t cost Dow Jones a penny.

I have only one request that I have expressed many times to the customer service reps. Have someone in delivery management call me, tell me what the problem is, and advise when I can expect regular delivery to be resumed. Shauna in Alabama promised me she would make it happen, but it appears to lie outside the scope of the possible in the Dow Jones universe. It would be better if someone in customer service told me so. The script should probably read: I’m sorry, sir, we’re just too big to communicate with subscribers about local problems one subscriber at a time.

Every time I reach a customer service rep I am asked to verify my phone number and email address, which I have now done in excess of 10 times. I’m pretty sure that whoever wrote the book on customer service would not advise that this is how it’s done. Would he?