Skip to main content

Good Customer Service Is Important

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Good customer service is something important to me. In my own
work in publishing, I try hard to deliver some basics of good customer service
in my responses through email or on the phone or in the mail. It is important to
be timely and thorough in this process.

There are countless examples of companies that don't practice
good customer service and I wanted to point out a recent example. For the last
several years I get my internet connection, landline and television bundled
through CenturyLink. Overall I've been pleased with their service and
responsiveness. My wife and I enjoy using our DVR to record television programs
then watch them together. We watch a variety of different types of programs.

Last Sunday I went to one of the standard stations— CBS and
found a message from DirectTV (the television arm of CenturyLink). Apparently
DirectTV and CBS are in “negotiations” for service and that service is now
disrupted—i.e. you can't get it. No one knows how long these “negotiations” are
going to be going on. I called the billing area of CenturyLink and learned this
disruption was a complete surprise to them as well. DirectTV did nothing
proactive to warn their customers. They simply put up a screen on the

In this article from the Wall Street Journal, I
discovered I was one of 6.6 million people having this experience with DirectTV.
Someone at DirectTV  knew this was going to happen and they did nothing
proactive to help their customers. Apparently there is some local cable where
you can still get the channels when you attachment. I've been trying for the
last few days to get one of these local connectors from DirectTV but they are
“back ordered” (little surprise here). The package finally came but it is not a
simple fix with pages of instructions and various wires and connections (not
hooked up at my place yet).

I'm certain with the millions of customers involved and missing
a standard network channel, someone at CBS and DirectTV are doing some
consistent work to resolve this customer service nightmare. My key point in this
article is some of these people knew this was going to happen and they did
nothing to warn their customers or partners like CenturyLink (at least that is

Here are some basics for good customer service:

1. Answer your phone and return your phone calls.

2. Answer and respond to email.

3. In your answers, attempt to resolve the issues if possible. I
can think of several emails from Morgan James authors this past week where I
wasn't the right person to answer the author's question. I still responded and
pointed them to other people on the team who could provide the answers. At least
they heard a response from me—even if not the response they wanted.

How important is good customer service to you? How do you handle
it in your own writing life? Let me know in the comments below.


Good customer service is important. Get several tips and insights from the editor and writer. (ClickToTweet)



Popular posts from this blog

How to Recover from a Launch Disaster

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

How do you recover from a book launch disaster? Over 4,500 new books are published every day.  As someone who has been in publishing for years, I understand without the author's active role, little happens.

In recent years, I've watched authors launch books and participate in their launch teams. I've gotten advance reading copies of the book, read it then posted my reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes & Noble. I've taken online courses on launching books. As an acquisitions editor for a New York publisher, Morgan James Publishing, I've watched many other authors launch their books. Like many things in publishing, I've found not everything will go according to your plans.

While I've written more than 60 books, I haven't published a new book in several years. My newest book, 10 Publishing Myths released to the bookstores on December 17th. Last year, I asked New York Times bestselling author, Jerry B. Jenkins …

Face the Silence With Action

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Are you getting silence as you reach out to literary agents or editors during the holidays? Yes you might get a little response such as holiday greetings or Merry Christmas. From my years in this business, there is often a shift in the community from right before Thanksgiving until right after New Year's Day. People put off sending manuscripts. If they have a book contract from a publisher, they often delay to sign it until after January 2nd and any number of other decisions of this nature.

My authors are Morgan James are still active and corresponding with me but little is finalizing and moving forward—so mostly silent in some ways. How do you handle this silence? Does it stop your writing and your work in the community? In this article, I want to give you some pro-active idea of what you can do to be productive and face the silence with action.

1. Read books on the craft of writing. As you read these books, use a highlighter and post-it notes to take ac…

Get A Realistic Publishing Perspective

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

I've spoken with many authors about their plans and ambitions for their published book. Authors pour a lot of energy into writing their manuscript and creating a book proposal or careful pitch of their book for editors or literary agents. These authors make statements to me like:

“My book will be a bestseller.”

“My book will make a lot of money.” 

“My book will sell ____ copies.”

Also over many years in publishing, I've had publishers tell me that my book would be in airport bookstores and they had plans to market and sell many copies of the book. Conventional wisdom in publishing says the larger the advance, the greater the publisher investment and the greater they will have to invest in marketing to get this investment back and more. I've been blessed to get a couple of six-figure advances—but I have lengthy stories (not good ones) about how each of these books turned out in the market.

From my years in publishing, I know and understan…