I have to make fun of Lulu because they are flailing around trying desperately to figure out what to do in this ever changing self-publishing market. Don’t get me wrong, I still like them and I’m still a customer, but they way they add and remove and then add and remove features again and again makes them seem like the proverbial headless chickens.
Honestly, though, I think all these changes are because of two things:
- They have had so much staff turn-around over the last few years that I really think they genuinely don’t realized they did x or y before because no one on staff has been around long enough to remember it.
- At this point, anyone still using Lulu as their primary self-publisher is a little “backwards” in the sense that they aren’t very computer/publishing industry savvy and need much more hand-holding. And while there are billions of very tech savvy older people, the rest have found Lulu and embraced it as their own. So, from a business stand point, it makes sense that they are doing things like clinging to print and re-adding things like phone support while everyone else is advancing beyond it because their customer base expects those things more than a more tech/publishing savvy user would.
Now, this new phone support is only for services which makes more sense than offering to each and every customer as they tried back in my day. At least now they are limiting it to their customers who are paying extra and it’s a selling point to make people upgrade. But, in all seriousness, many people are just lost in the self-publishing process and are more than willing to pay extra to have a human walk them through it so, for that demographic, Lulu’s just made themselves that much more attractive.
In case you were wondering, I was one of their very first phone operators back in the day and did customer service for them over phone and via chat for several years so I’m not just talking out of my butt here, I’ve walked the walk. They offered phone support for a very brief time before realizing it just wasn’t feasible (of course, that time it was phone support for anything and everything on the entire site). But I was also a service provider (back when that used to be done by third parties, before Lulu got into the business themselves) and there was no amount of money you could have paid me to take phone support back then as many of those customers were INSANE. That said, I hope it works well for them.
You can find the phone number to call for support here.
What do you think? Is adding phone support a step backwards or forward?