We’ve got a good – and pretty simple – idea. Once implemented, customers would be happier, bureaus would save time and money, publishers would increase their renewal rates.

But so far it’s going nowhere. The bureaus blame the publishers; the publishers blame the bureaus.

Each week we send over a file of orders to the major bureaus for them to set up subscriptions for their publisher clients.

Now, because of print lead times, label run schedules and so forth, it might take six weeks before a customer receives the first issue of the subscription that they’ve ordered.

I think this is unacceptable, but at the moment, there’s nothing much I can do to speed things up.

What is possible, though, is to let the customer know when their subscription will start. They may not be delighted that it’s taking six weeks, but at least they are reassured by the fact that they are being kept informed.

Doing this will also save bureaus and publishers money – one of the biggest number of subscription queries is around sub start dates. By telling the customer when they will receive their first issue a whole slew of telephone calls and emails are taken out of the system.

It will also make publishers and bureaus money, as one of the biggest drivers of renewal performance is the efficiency and speed of the initial subscription set up.

Development-wise it’s pretty simple to do, and our IT team are happy to provide any assistance that is needed. The file we send across each week has the relevant data appended to it and comes back to us.

The publishers I’ve spoken to love the idea. The bureaus I’ve spoken to think it will be great for customer service.

But so far, no one has agreed to do it. The bureaus blame the publishers; the publishers blame the bureaus.

Any volunteers to start the ball rolling?


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