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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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October 8, 2008

Service Part II

Last week I blogged about customer service (or lack thereof) and the relationships we all need to build no matter what vocation we have.

Just yesterday in the Chicago Tribune I read the "What's your problem" column where folks can e-mail their tale of woe and receive help for a problem. The Oct. 7 column related the story of Messiah Lutheran Church in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge when it had fire extinguishers inspected. Through a fluke of some sort, the resulting bill was paid twice. So Messiah's office administrator called the company that did the inspection. She called several times, each time being told a refund check would be sent immediately. It never was. She sent a letter. Still no response. She contacted the ELCA's legal advisers, who said it would be more costly to sue than what the refund would bring back to the congregation. However, Jennifer Schneider saw injustice in this and e-mailed "What's your problem?" The long and short of it is that staff for the column received an answer—and the money for Messiah—right away. So why is that? Why does it take the backing of a newspaper column to receive a response?

We get calls and letters at The Lutheran too: Readers can't activate the free Web membership that comes with their print subscription; they can't download a study guide; they take issue with columns or articles. We surely try to take seriously those problems and comments—for we value the relationships we build throughout this church. And we try to offer the appropriate remedy. After all, this is the magazine of the ELCA—and the ELCA is its members. So tell us how we can better help you do your ministry and carry out your vocation.

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