Customer service“Dear Valued Subscriber,” the note began. Ah, my newspaper really appreciates my business. As well it should; isn’t the industry in distress? Millennials don’t read newspapers, do they? It’s time to renew my subscription and I’ll bet the paper really wants to keep me as a customer.

Well, maybe it does want to keep me, although that isn’t clear.

I went to the website to check options because I had been thinking of getting a competitor’s paper on just one day. Did it make sense to stop the other paper for that day or just leave the suscription as it was? While checking prices, I discovered that new subscribers — not yet VALUED subscribers — could get the paper for half price for six months.

I called to ask politely why VALUED subscribers weren’t offered a similar deal. Eventually I was able to get  half price for four months if I paid with automatic monthly billing. But why did I have to ask?

Meanwhile, I’ve let a magazine subscription lapse, although I’m wavering. To encourage me to renew, the magazine just sent me a promise to send me a free cookbook as part of the Special Renewal Savings Rate.

If we as subscribers and customers are so valued and appreciated, why aren’t companies stepping up to SHOW us that appreciation with the goodies they dangle in front of people who aren’t yet customers? Why do they wait until we hear that someone else got a cheaper rate, a bonus something, a sweeter deal? Why do they make us call and demand better treatment, the same treatment a prospective customer would get?

I know, it’s a sign of the times. A sad sign, to be sure.

Image credit: Salvatore Vuono and