Update Fri Apr 29: Great news! Writer’s Digest stepped up in a big way today to resolve my issues. Yesterday, I emailed a copy of this blog post to Writer’s Digest editorial support. And, I tweeted a link to this blog post to Writer’s Digest’s online Twitter curation team (@writersdigest, @brianklems, @chucksambuchino, @jessicastrawser and @robertleebrewer). By 9:30 this morning, I had two emails in my inbox from two different support people that included links to the two issues I had originally requested (March/April & May/June).
Needless to say, I am extremely pleased with the way they resolved my issues. I have resubscribed to Writer’s Digest and gladly recommend their products due to the excellent customer service that I received today. Special thanks to everyone that assisted me with getting my issue resolved today: Missy Fenn, Online Circulation Coordinator for F+W, Shannon Smyth, Email Customer Service for Writer’s Digest, Brian Klems, Chuck Sambuchino, Jessica Strawser and Robert Lee Brewer.
I’ve been doing a fair amount of research lately to make sure that I have the latest tips and techniques pertaining to writing and publishing online. One resource that I was extremely excited to read was Writer’s Digest. Their two recent issues (March/April and May/June 2016) look like they have a great deal of good content in them. The May/June issue is especially interesting – it is their annual “Web issue” and it contains their annual ranking of the top 101 best websites for writers. I was really excited to subscribe to Writer’s Digest’s digital subscription.
I subscribed two weeks ago (on April 18) and I have yet to receive the current March/April issue or the next issue (May/June). I have reached out to Writer’s Digest three times to sort this out. But unfortunately, after my third interaction with their support team today, I had no choice but to cancel my subscription. I’m sharing my full story here as a cautionary tale to anyone else that might be interested in subscribing to Writer’s Digest. Buyer beware!
Note: I have reached out to Writer’s Digest for one last chance at resolving my issues. If they are able to help me out (and redeem themselves from this disappointing situation) then I will update this post.
I want to share my recent poor experience dealing with Writer’s Digest magazine’s subscription support team. My goal is to make you aware of this interaction and to ask for Writer’s Digest’s help in turning this into a positive experience for me (and to share that good news with the readers of my blog).
On April 18 2016, I subscribed to Writer’s Digest’s digital only product online. I was compelled to subscribe because of the content in the March/April and the May/June issues of Writer’s Digest. I subscribed expecting that the March/April issue would be my first digital issue (I did subscribe in April, after all) and that I would then receive the May/June issue in a couple of weeks.
Upon subscribing, I received a link for the January 2016 episode and was unable to find a way to obtain the March/April issue. Using the WD subscriber services website, I submitted a request asking for assistance on obtaining the new issue. I have still not heard back from WD pertaining to this email request.
A couple of days later, I called WD subscriber services to try and obtain my first issue. The person I spoke to was quite sympathetic and he told me that he would submit a request to have the May/June issue emailed to me within the next couple of days. I am still waiting for this email to arrive.
I called WD subscriber services again today (on April 28 2016) to try to obtain my first issue. This time, I spoke to a person named Trevor. I explained the situation and he put me on hold to try and figure out how to help me. He came back on the phone and explained that he was unable to send me either the March/April or the May/June issues as part of my subscription. He said that if I was interested in either of these issues, that I would have to purchase them individually from the WD web store. This was less than ideal, as the original reason that I subscribed was to obtain these two issues as part of my subscription.
I asked if there was anything else they could do and Trevor said there was nothing further they could do. I asked him if I could unsubscribe and he said yes. So, he canceled my subscription with no questions asked.
There are two problems for me here:
- I am unable to obtain the products that I wanted to purchase via an annual subscription to WD. I feel misled as I subscribed during the period where the issues were available.
- Trevor, the subscriber services person I dealt with, seemed eager to cancel my subscription, which seems to be the opposite of what a subscriber services support person should be trying to do. He did not object to my desire to STOP purchasing a WD product. In fact, he helped put money I had already given him back in my hand, rather than helping me and making me a happy customer (who would remain loyal for many years).
From what I can tell, Writer’s Digest offers advice to writers about how to build audiences (among other things). And, from what I can tell, Writer’s Digest is helping writers expand into digital subscriptions (subscriptions are a great ongoing revenue stream). Unfortunately, in this instance, Writer’s Digest has failed to earn a digital subscriber by missing the mark on not one, but THREE interactions with an eager customer.
I am sharing my experience for two reasons:
- To highlight my issues with the hopes that Writer’s Digest can avoid similar poor experiences with customers in future; and
- To try one last time to obtain the March/April and May/June issues as part of a digital only subscription (I will gladly pay the posted price for an annual digital only subscription).
I have emailed the above note to Writer’s Digest and I am posting a copy of this letter on my website (toddhdow.com) as well to share my experience with my readers. If we can resolve this and/or if you have feedback to offer, I would be glad to update my blog post to reflect any further communications that we have together.
I look forward to hearing back from Writer’s Digest.
A disappointed customer,