Tag Archives: CEX

Claim for the Award for the Most Eager To-Be Subscriber of The Economist


There’s social media, omni-channel and customer experience. Three buzzwords of the last decades, together with a portion of stubbornness that make me claim the ‘Award for the Most Eager To-Be Subscriber of The Economist’. Read further to understand my claim.

Last week, while I was scrolling my Facebook feed, I came across of an interesting offer of The Economist: “Get 12 weeks of subscription for only € 20”. For a weekly magazine, that’s quite a good deal to find out if the content is good for you.

I checked out the offer and was looking for the fine print. The catch behind the deal. Would it be an automatic renewal which I couldn’t disable for a year? Or would it be possible to just cancel the subscription after the 12 week try-out period? In Belgium, this is a very common formula, certainly now in the age of declining print media. You get a try-out for a month or longer, and after this period you cancel and try another paper/magazine.

Because I couldn’t find an answer to my question in the fine print, I added my question in the comment section. After a day without a reply, I decided to contact The Economist via Facebook. The Facebook page told that The Economist “responds typically very fast” to messages. That’s perfect, I thought, so I launched my question via Facebook chat. Indeed I got a message immediately, but it was clear I was talking with to an automated reply, maybe already a chat bot? There was nobody on the other side of the line to answer my message. I tried a few times (maybe there’s a time zone difference?), but still no answer, except for the default reply.

No problem, let’s try a more traditional channel: e-mail. I mailed the support desk and received almost immediate a reply. A reply which told me that they couldn’t help me because I had no 8-digit Customer Reference Number (CRN). The received e-mails without a CRN, login email and news email in the contents “would not reach us”. Sounds like a catch-22, doesn’t it?

I couldn’t believe this, so I retried with a message via their Facebook page. Still no human on the other end of the line though.

Next time I saw the 12-week offer, I added a response in the comments + used tagging to make sure they got a notification:

"@[The Economist] Hello, I would like to try out your 12week offer but only for the 12 weeks. Is it possible to cancel after this 12 weeks? This is the third channel I use to get an answer to my question. Hopefully with success. Many thanks, Karel"

Because nobody is responding to my message, I decided to use a third channel and send out my first tweet to The Economist. No success.

After a few days, I started with responding to each message that The Economist page published. Each time I added the same reply:

"@[The Economist] Hello, I would like to try out your 12week offer but only for the 12 weeks. Is it possible to cancel after this 12 weeks? This is the third channel I use to get an answer to my question. Hopefully with success. Many thanks, Karel"

No response from Facebook. I tried again with a second, less polite, tweet and a second email.

tweet

And you might have guessed it … no answer. After a while I got a bit annoyed and used Facebook to express it…

By now I have send 2 e-mails, 2 tweets, 7 Facebook chat messages and commented on 4 posts of The Economist. Without receiving an answer from any of these 4 channels. And I’m still not taking benefit of the 12 week try-out offer of The Economist.

That’s why I dedicate this last blog and tweet to claim the ‘Award for Most Eager To-Be Subscriber of The Economist’. Chriss Stibbs or Zanny Minton Beddoes may invite me to London for the hand-out. I would be happy to share my customer experience in their omni-channel offer and (lack of) social media support.

Many thanks!

PS: also thanks to Arne for helping me see the humor in this situation 🙂

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