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What Happened to Customer Service at the Arizona Republic?

April 8, 2015

Occasionally people will wonder why print media like the Arizona Republic are experiencing a decline in subscriptions. Most assume that it is simply due to increased use of electronic media. However, there is this thing called “customer service” that might also be a factor.
This is just one example: The Republic has published regional inserts for many years and one of them is called the “Phoenix Republic.” Presumably, this is intended for subscribers who live in the central Phoenix region. My zip code is 85007 and it would be hard to imagine a more “central” location. However, in spite of living in central Phoenix, I have had increasing difficulty getting this insert. I started calling various people at the Republic about six years ago and these calls did result in my receiving the insert on a sporadic basis.
But recently the Republic staffers have become less responsive. One senior staff person in circulation said that this insert is not delivered in my zip code (85007). There was no other explanation but, somewhat cynically, I imagine that it has something to do with the desires of advertisers. She said that she could not ask the carrier to deliver this especially for me, even though it has been done on an irregular basis for six years. (It prompted me to wonder who the carriers work for.) I offered to pay extra for the insert, like I do for the special insertion of the TV Guide, but she said that cannot be done. I also offered to pay the carrier directly an extra amount for this insert. I even offered to drive to the place where the insert is produced but she explained that they would not let me in. Finally, I also offered to pay extra to have it delivered in whatever manner is possible, such as by USPS.
Can anyone imagine a company, other than a dying monopoly, offering such unresponsive service. The bottom line here is that increased use of electronic media is not the only reason that monopoly print publications like the Arizona Republic are dying.

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