Lulu Lens: Would You Use A Customer Service Portal?

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Those of you who follow our blog know that we are trying to improve our customer service, and that we are making a concentrated effort to get your feedback on some of our upcoming initiatives. With both of these things in mind, this week’s Lulu Lens is focused on the idea of a Customer Service Portal (CSP). Our goal is straightforward – provide an on-demand window into the live status of your support cases.

Using the CSP, you would have easy access to your support cases and the notes our customer service team has added to them. We would also work to build a knowledge base of Lulu generated articles to help you resolve issues you run into and encourage users to create their own articles describing their solutions. We want to hear from you: How valuable would a CSP be for you?

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37 Comments

  1. I would definitely be publishing more books with Lulu, and buying more copies, if you would allow customer pickup. The shipping costs kill me. I’ve given up on Lulu for this reason, because I live 20 minutes from you and could make the economics work if it weren’t for the shipping costs.

  2. Hozark

    I would use this if, in fact, the customer service team wasn’t a myth…

  3. I think any insight into the customer service black hole would be welcome. I have published a lot of books with Lulu, and I have always been happy with the results. During my first couple books, it seems like when I had questions or problems, someone was very quick to respond. In fact, didn’t you have live chat for a while? But the past two or three questions I’ve posted have taken days or weeks to get anything other than the automated response. I appreciate that your business is growing — perhaps faster than you can handle. And usually my questions aren’t urgent, so I can wait. But it would be nice to know that someone is working on an answer.

  4. I haven’t used Lulu yet, but I think the CSP is a great idea. I like the fact that you offer a wide variety of book sizes and bindings at a reasonable price. To keep prices down but satisfy customer needs, I think a CSP would be good. (On another topic, the complaint I most read about on Self-Publishing is shipping costs, as Jane Peppler (above) states. If not pickup, could you arrange a reasonable cost for drop-ship or some other solution?
    Thanks for asking and keep up the good work!

  5. Claudette Hancock

    I think the CSP is urgently needed. I am a first time user of Lulu, and I recently uploaded a file. I got lost in the process, and would like the file deleted so that I can start over with some revisions in the new file. I sent in several help requests since June 18. No help as yet. In the meantime, other publishers are sending me emails. Would like to stay with Lulu.

  6. Raymond

    I am new to Lulu and have one book that I was going to publish, but I am on the fence as the Customer Service is very bad! First, why isn’t there a 800 number? And yeah, what happen to the live customer service online? It takes weeks to get any kind of response too and then if your problem isn’t solved, then you have to continue this cycle again. C’mon Lulu, this is the 21 century, wake up and get with it!

  7. Right now I would be satisfied with a response to my current questions which are at least three weeks old.

  8. Frank Johnston

    After years of work and editing a family history I have finally ordered 26 copies to distribute to family. The print quality is, in part, unreadable. Automated responses are all I receive from Lulu. How long will it take Lulu to accept responsibility for their poor workmanship? Shall I hold my breath?

  9. Bill Stockdale

    I would use customer service to learn what has happened to my projects, rather than cryptic notes relayed from your printers.
    I would use customer service to alter or change orders that have not yet been printed: I have had to place three orders in the past few weeks instead of just increasing the orignal order – thereby losing discounts.
    I would use customer service to get answers for questions that go beyond the basics covered by the online help areas.
    I would use customer service to re-build my confidence in Lulu as a viable supplier.

  10. Anna Stott

    This service is badly needed. My book is an inch away from being publish. I have tried to contact Cary and Rebecca trying to find out what is happing and not one person has taken 5 minutes to dash off a e-mail letter me know what is happening. All I need to know is what is going on, but no will tell me. I can not tell you how frustrated I am at this point.

  11. Yes, a CSP would be much appreciated. I miss the old “Live Chat” feature because it worked so well for quick answers. But anything would be an improvement over the current situation. Thanks for addressing this concern that we all share.

  12. hi, i would probably use it – in desperation – as I am not getting timely, or in indeed any response to my recent queries. Oh I LONG for the ‘live help’ system to come back – those guys were sooo helpful, friendly and well, live.

  13. Jim Lam

    This seems to be a good idea. However, the Portal would be useful only if the support team does respond to our questions PROMPTLY.

  14. In that this is my first effort at publishing my work I am somewhat frustrated by the fact that there is an issue with the “buy” button and I have had several hits which could have resulted in sales. I just reported this issue and got a response saying to be patient, that there has been an overwhelming need for customer service. I am hoping that the eager people waiting to purchase my book will not be lost. Hopefully this will be resolved immediately. Until this dilema I thought that LULU was a pretty cool avenue for self-publishing — I releasing a full novel later this year and I am waiting to see how this issue is going to be handled. That’s all for now.

  15. Am lulu myself,the author of many books all in lulu.l have a book called The Kings and the laws.l have just written the drama part of it.Lulu is good l encourage every one dealig with lulu,should have hope ,no fickle of doubt.But be patient.

  16. Ned Freed

    I see this as a means only to paper over the near total loss of customer service evident at Lulu over the past several months. Bring back live help with competent personnel, as it once had been. I’ve published on Lulu since 2006 but the lack of customer support is now pushing me to Create Space.

  17. Jack Kirwan

    I agree with Jane Peppler re shipping costs. Are these loaded to compensate for low printing costs? I appreciate that bulking up an order reduces cost per book, but I find people are alienated by being asked to stump up a large shipping cost when they order a book. For instance, a purchaser in Toronto of my book found that although the book was priced at $CA 12.63, he ended up paying $CA 33.29, of which $CA 19.07 was shipping, even though Lulu has a Toronto office. Psychologically, the effect of this on purchasers is very negative, as it does not compare well with their expectations, based on, say, Amazon.

  18. IS IT POSSIABLE TO PUBLISH USING YOUR FORMAT

    MANY PERSON GOTO YOUR SITE TO PRINT OFF MY POEMS

  19. Nick Popio

    All,
    Thank you so much for your feedback. For those of you experiencing customer service issues, I am very sorry you haven’t received a response yet. Please email me at npopio@lulu.com with a summary of the issue, the reference id you received from customer service, and any other relevant information (content id, order #, etc). I will try to get you some answers.

  20. Kevin

    What was it that happened with Help? Did you sack all the staff? Livehelp was great because it was instant if not always helpful at first. Mail help was ok when someone actualy responded! So to make this work you will need a lot more staff. Are you taking them on then? Or is this just another bit of flannel?

  21. Rick Elliott

    I made the mistake of buying Lulu services on July 2,2009 with a debit card before reading this page. I see i made a bad mistake. I have been in contact with the Attornry Generals office in my state in hopes of getting money back.

  22. I have many books on Lulu and with the exception of one order which was dispatched but not received I have been happy with both the print quality and the speed of delivery. I am less happy with the postage costs which seem disproportionately high at times and discourage sales of anything but downloads. I was less than happy with the Lulu response to this. If I was a customer wanting to buy a £5 book with a 0.90p postage weight and it had a shipping charge of £7-50 I just simply wouldn’t buy it.
    So, as a wholesale printer you are great so far, as a seller of my P.O.D. books, you are not…. Livehelp was indeed great, so any customer service portal that increased service or sales would be welcome!
    All the best,
    Lisa :)

  23. Nick Popio

    Kevin,
    We have indeed hired more staff, and we continue to look into solutions to help improve our customer service. This is something we are dedicated to and we apologize to everyone who has had a negative experience. As I have said above, feel free to email me directly if you haven’t received a timely response to your issue with the information necessary and I will try to get you some answers.

    Rick,
    If you want to email me with your information I will make sure you get the services you paid for or are refunded for them.

    Lisa,
    We are working on improving shipping costs globally and I hope we’ll be able to announce something soon.

    Thanks,
    Nick

  24. Hello Nick,

    Good to read that Lulu is improving the customer service. I hope this will help my ‘case’
    About 1.5 month ago I’ve ordered a book. And received the book without any content. 220 blank pages. It cost me more than 20 euro’s.

    So I sent (already 3 times) a form to the helpdesk but didn’t hear from anyone at Lulu (and in the email at each occassion they told me I would receive an answer within 1 to 2 working days). I din’t find an adress to return the book to??

    Could you please inform me on the standard procedures?

    Thanks in advance,

    Danny Hess

    ref:00D56zQ6.50056ptPy:ref

  25. Philip John Edwards

    I published my novel ‘THE LEGEND OF THE STARMAKER’ on LULU.com. So far I have not been paid any creator revenue apart from £14 and the book has been on general release for over a year. Is anyone else who publishes at LULU.com, having trouble with their creator revenue?

  26. Any improvements to customer service would be more than welcome. In the past month we’ve had two customers contact us about printing errors with their books, and a way for them to check on the status of their problem would be wonderful. Thank you for posting your address as a contact for unresolved issues, as well.

  27. Hello – a customer service portal would be very welcome. In fact, it is an absolute necessity. I have been trying for over a month to get a response from lulu regarding a book I received (3 weeks after ordering it, and by slower means than paid for) which turned out to be seriously deficient. Only 318 pages out of 390 were printed, so that the book I got is useless. I tried for over a month to get someone to send me a new copy. I am still to date ignored by your ghostly “help” team! Can you do something about this? It is making me very angry. I sent a letter to your management in Raleigh by airmail a week ago – no response yet. It is as if lulu.com is run by machines and no human being in sight! Yeah – you need a customer service portal alright.

  28. Nick – thanks for following up on my request for help. I hope it works out. Just wanted to add here that I was pleased to read the comments of other customers here, and discover that I was not the only one going through these difficulties. It is clear that lulu.com has to make a major effort to answer questions and complaints. I understand that the live help you had last year was probably too much – too expensive. But a webmail service with prompt 24h replies (max 48h) is needed. I also agree with the comments that shipping charges are prohibitive. You could be more transparent and charge a fixed service charge for shipping work, plus a real price shipping charge. Thus, when one orders several different books at once, one could hope for a better price. Also, when one is not in a hurry, one could ask for postal mailing instead of FedEx. Having received feedback from potential buyers, I can say that high shipping charges are a definite disincentive to purchase. And that is surely bad for lulu.com as well as for the authors.

  29. Sab

    I’ve known about great services offered to lulu.com since years back. Now when I decided to publish my book, I did research online about lulu.com and I haven’t receive any response to my questions through the support team. There’s no number to call, so it raises a red flag.

    I hope you get on with the CSP as soon as possible. With new competitors out there which have an edge in giving out answers like create space from amazon, etc. I am seriously considering doing business with them.

    It’s such a waste, you have a great service, but a terribly slow customer service response time. Hope you resolve this issue quickly. I would love to be your loyal customer if only you answer my questions in prompt!

  30. Nick Popio

    Sab,
    What are your questions? Feel free to email them to me at npopio@lulu.com.

    Thanks,
    Nick

  31. Ned Freed
    I agree completely with Ned Freed.
    Bring back live help with competent personnel, as it once was. I’ve published on Lulu for some time now but the lack of customer support I think will puch me elsewhere. AN ASIDE: When it comes to publishing Hardback, I cannot see why Lulu cannot make a better job of the spine. Text on spine is miniscule, Yet on dust-jacket it can’t be better. There should be some control over the hardcover colour and text.

  32. Kay Sencabaugh

    Customer service? What customer service? Last Saturday I received a book that I had ordered from your company. One corner of the box, as well as one corner of the book it contained, was mashed. I immediately went to your website to report this, and received an automated e-mail asking for a digital photo of the damage, which I promptly sent.

    Not having received a reply, I went back to your website last night and sent another e-mail referencing the first ticket number. Imagine my surprise this morning to get the same automated reply again requesting a digital photo!

    This is no customer service at all, and frankly, I’m disgusted. I want to communicate with a real person to get this issue resolved.

    I paid a ridiculously high price to have this book shipped, because your website said that the lower priced shipping could not be tracked, and therefore if the book were lost, I’d be totally out the money. For what I paid for the book plus shipping, I expect the order to arrive in perfect condition, or to be replaced promptly.

    As I said, “What customer service?” Apparently you have none.

  33. Nick Popio

    Hi Kay,
    I’m sorry you’ve had a bad experience. Can you tell me what the reference ids you were given by customer support are? I will try to escalate your issue and make sure you receive a response quickly.

    Regards,
    Nick

  34. kris Johnson

    You tried to boost your profits by hurting your own customers. Greed was why you abandoned live chat. How was that a good plan? So much greed in this nation. It’s ruining everything because it’s all driven by weakness. We want the live chat. Too bad if you have to hire more workers. If you’re growing, you can afford more help. Maybe start spending more time thinking about what you’re doing instead of fixating on greed.

  35. Nick Popio

    Kris,
    I can certainly appreciate your feedback. I will make sure our customer service managers are aware of it, and I can tell you that we are looking into options.

  36. Elizabeth

    It’s hard to believe that a company that completely relies on an email interface for its customer ‘service’ refuses to answer customer questions! I have sent over 10 replies to an ‘existing ticket’ over a three week period, with NOTHING in response. I even emailed their PR department (there are NO telephone numbers listed ANYWHERE on the website)and got no answer from there either! I am taking my business to Blurb.

  37. Nick Popio

    Elizabeth,
    I’m very sorry you’ve had such a negative experience. If you email the reference id you received from customer service and a summary of the issue to me at npopio@lulu.com, then I will try to get you some answers.

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