Generally I have little patience for pay walls. In the case of the Wall Street Journal, I’m an aggrieved subscriber so this will be a rant.
I wanted to read and print a story online. I logged in and engaged with a Live Chat operator named “Jefferson” who was polite but robotic. Immediately upon clicking the chat button I was accosted by an extensive form and a warning that the queue was 4 minutes long.
This disembowels live chat as an instant engagement or gratification tool. If you have to wait four minutes and endure an interrogation just to get access, your customers begin their interaction by being annoyed and angry.
Then Jefferson tells me hold on while he verifies my entry. So much for the prime marketing directive -- lavish love on your paying customers. When he returns having verified me, he asks for my user name; as if I haven’t already forked over enough information that he should have known from my log-in.
Since I don’t remember it, he tells me. But I still can’t read or print the story so it was an exercise in frustration. Then Jefferson runs out of gas. He can’t explain why I can’t get what I paid for and he’s pretty much done with me. I walk away doubly pissed; I’ve been dissed and disowned by a publication I read everyday and a website that could care less.
Now maybe Rupert Murdock doesn’t care about his customers. But in an age of dying newspapers you might think that the brain trust running the Journal would pay more attention to the impact of their technology investment rather than employ tools and people who only serve to alienate their customer base.