New OC Register Publisher Asks Reporters to Give Him One Hour a Week for Customer Service Calls

Stuart Kushner: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it: It's now Mirman's mess!"
Stuart Kushner: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it: It's now Mirman's mess!"

I'm still researching new-ish Orange County Register publisher Rich Mirman--the former casino executive who came in to clean up Reg owner's Aaron Kushner's mess--before writing anything extensive about him, but Mirman has already offended his newsroom in one big way: He's asking them to step up and become customer service reps for an hour a week.

It's strictly voluntary, mind you, and probably necessary after the fiasco that was Kushner switching delivery drivers and leaving Register subscribers without their daily drivel for weeks at a time (the switch came, of course, because Kushner wasn't paying his bills to his former delivery drivers, the Los Angeles Times). Nevertheless, Mirman's move isn't sitting well with reporters and editors, one whom put it thusly: "Mirman's a moron."

Below are two emails sent last week to all Register employees: The first one by Mirman, the second (after the jump) by Kushner's Minister of Information, Eric Morgan. Enjoy!

**

The Rich Mirman One

Fellow associates:

It has been a few weeks since my last note, and I just wanted to take a moment to update you on a few important initiatives.

The disruption in delivery continues to be the most important and most pressing challenge we face. Unfortunately, the issue is still not completely fixed.

Although more than 95 percent of our customers receive consistent and timely delivery, our contracted carrier force continues to struggle in key concentrated geographic areas such as Huntington Beach, Fullerton, Cypress and a handful of other neighborhoods.

The prevailing question is, ''Why is this taking so long?'' Comments range from the polite ''What's happening?'' to the very direct - ''Are you stupid?'' I wish the answer were simple and the solution more attainable.

As you may remember from my last note, 530 routes (each averaging about 500 households) have been transitioned from the L.A. Times to ACI. The majority of these routes are covered by permanent carriers who have the familiarity and experience to deliver to hundreds of homes and apartments before sunrise.

However, some of these routes are covered by temporary or brand new carriers. They are often ill-equipped to handle the arduousness of the task. The routes have dozens of special instructions, such as gate codes, vacation holds or specific placement of the paper.

Over the course of the last four weeks, ACI and the independent distributors have faced a number of challenges - most notably the shortage of qualified applicants and turnover among temporary drivers. The challenge is compounded by the fact that the L.A. Times and ACI are sourcing contractors from the same pool of qualified applicants.

That said, ACI has made a number of recent adjustments that will provide relief in the days and weeks ahead - e.g., sourcing professional carriers with existing knowledge of the affected areas and opening a new distribution center that is centrally located to where delivery problems persist.

I am optimistic that these actions will continue to improve our circumstances. We just need to keep fighting.

In that spirit, I am very excited to announce a brand new effort that will be rolled out over the next few days. We call it the WE CARE campaign.

Many of you have reached out to me to ask how you can help and get more involved. Truth is, we need your help and our customers need to hear from you. I take full responsibility for not having organized a robust, companywide effort earlier. That said, we need your help, and we need it now.

By the end of the week, we will be inviting associates to help in calling back subscribers who have been affected by the disruption in service. We want to give our customers the opportunity to talk to a real person with a sympathetic ear. Most importantly, we want our customers to know that we care.

My experience is that subscribers just want their paper. Barring that, they at least want to be acknowledged and know somebody cares about their concerns.

Please look for the upcoming announcements with more detail on the WE CARE program. Thank you in advance for providing any help in making our customers feel like we care.

As always, I appreciate your continued commitment and dedication.

Sincerely,

Rich Mirman

Upcoming Events

And now, let's go to Morgan!

 

From: Eric Morgan Date: November 6, 2014 at 3:23:34 PM PST To: OCR Associates Subject: FROM RNET: Join fellow associates in responding to subscriber inquiries and supporting WE CARE campaign Nov. 6, 2014 - As Rich Mirman explained in his note to associates yesterday, there are many dedicated folks who are actively responding to subscribers' delivery issues. They have expressed a willingness to do even more to help.

As our third-party vendor works to resolve 100 percent of the delivery issues, every department within the organization has an opportunity to proactively help subscribers and show customers WE CARE.

One of the most important steps we can take in the immediate term is to simply return calls, acknowledge a subscriber's issue, provide a personalized response, and thank them for supporting the Register.

To that end, we are initiating the WE CARE campaign starting Friday to help reduce and eventually eliminate the number of inquiries coming into Customer Service.

Please consider joining your colleagues in reserving a one-hour block to make outbound calls and respond to subscribers' inquiries. Once you confirm the desired day(s) and time(s) through the link below, you will receive confirmation with instructions and reference materials prior to reporting to the WE CARE call center (located on the south part of the second floor adjacent to the elevators).

If you have any questions, please reach out to Rosemaria Altieri, Human Resources Manager, atraltieri@ocregister.com. Thank you for supporting this team effort!

CLICK THIS LINK TO RSVP VIA RNET:http://rnet1.freedom.com/index.shtml

Email: garellano@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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