Steve Gardberg

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At The Deal LLC, Steve Gardberg is responsible for managing subscriber databases and customer service across all the company's print and electronic products and services. Although he reports to the VP of marketing, Gardberg sees his job "as one of operational focus as opposed to a marketing focus."

In addition to tracking how well customer complaints were handled by The Deal's customer service staff or online tools, Gardberg also asks customers if their subscription to any of The Deal's products met expectations and whether a problem prompted the subscriber to contact The Deal directly.

"Together with our marketing VP, I started developing the customer satisfaction survey questions last December," Gardberg related. "We launched the survey in April and got a response rate of at least 12%. I'm happy to say people are mostly satisfied."

That satisfaction is a result of Gardberg's four-point checklist for fulfillment excellence: "To keep subscribers happy, we first make sure our print and online subscriptions start correctly from a logistical and technical viewpoint," he said. "Second, we focus on accuracy. Third, we try to manage the subscribers' expectations up front. For example, when should they expect the first issue of a print subscription to arrive? Finally, when there are problems-and that is inevitable-we try to resolve them in the customer's favor. And we have buy-in from the other departments here at The Deal so that we have the support to resolve those problems quickly."

Before joining The Deal, Gardberg ran circulation at Edgell Communications for two-and-a-half years. -M.G.

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