The Nation ePaper Team need to start working harder to make a success of the digital paper.
I know this from the readers’ complaints that I’ve been getting in the past five and a half years. Not all complaints come to me; most, I presume, go directly to the ePaper team.
But the challenges are well known. Subscribers lament that they have been sending their complaints to the addresses displayed on the portal or website — that is, [email protected] — but nothing seems to happen. They wondered whether the contacts point to the wrong desk.
Indeed, going by the drift of the complaints over the years, very little seems to have changed. For many subscribers, accessing and navigating the digital newspaper can sometimes be a pain. To appreciate the pain, let’s look at six complaints, one from each year since 2015.
Monday, 19 October 2015 at 00:41: Nick Mwenda complained: “Once I try signing in (by phone), I am notified that some other device has logged in using the same credential. Plus, guys, it is very unfair for you to give us customer care numbers that are never picked. Calls to 0719 03 80 33/34 have been ignored for a week! If you guys changed the numbers, why can’t subscribers and your website get updated?”
Monday, July 4, 2016 at 4:01 pm: Alex Mumo Muia complained that he could not download the day’s newspaper. “If this issue is not resolved, kindly refund my money in full. This is impunity. You suspend a service and no official communication?”
Tuesday, 23 May 2017 at 11:07: Joseph Wanjohi wrote: “Sir, yesterday I wrote to you about difficulty in buying the ePaper. You forwarded me to Digital Sales, who gave me telephone number 0719 03 80 34 to call for assistance, which I did this morning at 9:30 and at 9:41.
“Both times, I talked to a gentleman who was not helpful because, eventually, he told me that ePaper can only be purchased through a computer and not mobile phone!”
BLURRED AND UNREADABLE
He concluded: “I tried The Standard with instant success. But I decided to let you know of such loss of sales.”
Friday, August 24, 2018 at 7:05 am: Evans Magero complained about blurred and unreadable epapers: “I am writing to complain that, after subscribing to the digital version, despite numerous complaints to your support team, the issue has not been resolved, neither has the team contacted me.
“I can’t read ‘The Watchman’ or the advertisements because they are blurred. Some of us buy newspapers because of specific articles/advertisements and if I can’t see them there is no point of subscribing at all.
“I hope this is the last time that I have to seek intervention and resolution to a problem that might force me to unsubscribe!”
Saturday, October 13, 2019 2:06 pm: Joseph Langat complained that he had a problem with the readability of the ePaper. “Sometimes the pages are not clear. Kindly address the issue so I continue reading my favourite newspaper.”
Thursday, 4 June 2020 at 01:15: Anthony Chege Mburu complained about poor service. “The ePaper platform does not deliver on the promise of digital newspapers. For one, it takes too long to load and I’ve not been able to enjoy my subscription at all.
“I’d like to request a cancellation and refund of my subscription as I’m clearly throwing away money here. I would have loved to continue patronising the Nation but this is no longer tenable. I’ve raised complaints on Twitter but have had no responses or assurances.”
Clearly, the ePaper Team will have to pull up their socks to achieve the reader confidence and relationships necessary to capture and retain subscribers.
The Public Editor is an independent news ombudsman who handles readers’ complaints on editorial matters including accuracy and journalistic standards. Call or text 0721989264 or email [email protected]