A Valuable Lesson from a Dying Media

Sam Rainer

May 14, 2010

The monthly emails from the Courier-Journal (the Louisville newspaper) finally got to me.

Dear Sam Raimer,

This is a courtesy reminder that your delivery service is scheduled to stop within the next 14 days.

To prevent an interruption in your service, please utilize our quick online payment method by clicking on the link below.

I was already on their payment system—they were charging my credit card monthly. And I was calling every month to prevent them from stopping my subscription. Twilight Zone weird. I thought the print newspaper business was doing everything they could to keep subscribers.

I called today. For the last time. Customer service had no idea what was wrong. I told them to find someone who could help me keep my subscription. They could not help. So I sent out a frustrated tweet while I was on hold with customer service. Below is the play-by-play that ensued in the twitterverse.

Sam: I keep getting emails from @courierjournal saying my print sub. is stopping. I keep calling them to keep it. 4th try. #printisdead

Official CJ Twitterer: I can get you a person to speak to directly about this.

Sam: on hold right now with the auto trons

Sam: not going anywhere

Sam: any help would be appreciated. no one at customer service seems to know what to do. Would love to keep CJ sub.

CJ: I have forwarded your concern to several individuals here.

Sam: about to cancel. customer service says they don’t know

Sam: customer service just hung up on me when I told them to cancel. REALLY unacceptable and unprofessional.

Sam: Please help. I keep getting dead ends. Customer service keeps hanging up on me.

CJ: Contact Jessica ________ at xxx4182

Sam: no answer.

Kudos to the person behind the CJ Twitter account who tried, but there’s all sorts of irony in this exchange. Even Twitter couldn’t save the aged print dinosaur. Sadly, I actually enjoyed reading the CJ print edition. But, alas, no more. I just called to confirm my cancellation. They didn’t have a problem processing it. How ironic.

What’s the lesson for the church? Sure, the church should capture the benefits of social media (see the below video). But more importantly, I wonder how many people are out there with a desire to get plugged into the church, but it all seems too unfamiliar, too impersonal, too much of a hassle, or too much of a chore. Like with my CJ subscription, I think sometimes church may be too complex to keep and too easy to leave.

2 comments on “A Valuable Lesson from a Dying Media”

  1. Franklin Montgomery says:

    Wow! What a tough experience. I appreciate your application of the matter to the local church. Sounds like the Courier-Journal has reduced personnel so much that they can’t offer real help anymore.

  2. A. A. Morella says:

    Hey Sam. I am in Louisville speaking at a missions conference. I will bring you today’s paper . . . if the paper rack works,

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