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Re: Comments on Journal Subscription Agents Judy Casada (13 Apr 2004 12:51 UTC)

Re: Comments on Journal Subscription Agents Judy Casada 13 Apr 2004 12:51 UTC

Lesley's first paragraph is right on the mark; it describes our experiences
with various agents with remarkable accuracy.

At 10:45 AM 4/13/2004 +0200, you wrote:
>Hallo Greg,
>
>During my time here, we've worked with five major agents, all well-known
>names.  I hope agents are reading this posting.  The QUALITY OF THE
>CONTACT PERSON IS ALL-IMPORTANT, assuming the agent is reputable and not
>about to go bust.  Each agent we've worked with has been outstanding,
>good, or awful depending on the quality of the contact person, so I
>don't think the agent's name matters as much as all that (solvency
>aside, of course).  You can get what you think is a good agent, and then
>the contact person changes, and it all goes downhill.
>
>BTW: if you have an automated system and are not a very big library,
>then with reasonable planning, changing agents isn't the end of the
>world.  During my time we've changed our principal agent three times.
>So if you aren't happy, you aren't stuck for ever.
>
>Agents try to save on salaries, but if your contact person can't follow
>through on an inquiry or doesn't have the authority to solve problems or
>offer in-depth assistance, you're in trouble.   So ask about the command
>structure in the organisation, and get the names and titles of people at
>various levels of the hierarchy whom you can approach for in-depth
>advice or assistance when the regular contact person isn't enough.
>
>Billing operations are in a different universe from supply operations,
>and agents don't seem to think customers need to know about the billing
>side, so get a good contact there.  Ask for a very clear, detailed
>description of the billing procedure.  We had an agent who sent us a
>renewal invoice based on estimates which proved to be hugely wide of the
>mark, so that right at the end of the fiscal year we got a $10,000
>credit that had to be spent in more haste than is comfortable.  Not only
>that, but because they had in effect re-priced every single title, we
>had to go back into all of our records making credits for each one.
>This makes a big difference to your workload.
>
>How much hands-on help are they ready to give if you have an automated
>system that is supposed to allow electronic claiming or electronic
>invoicing?  In my experience, you *will* need help with these!  Are they
>willing to visit?
>
>Will they supply invoices in Excel format as well as on paper, if this
>helps to simplify any of your procedures?
>
>Will they give you an alert when a title is going to increase by more
>than a certain percent?
>
>Good luck,
>
>Lesley Tweddle
>ltweddle@aucegypt.edu, tel. 797-6912
>
>Head, Serials Department,
>American University in Cairo - Libraries & Learning Technologies.
>POSTAL ADDRESS:
>American University in Cairo, Library - Serials, 11 Youssef el-Guindy
>Street, Bab el-Louk, Cairo 11511, Egypt.
>FAX 792-3824.  International dialling code from USA 011-202; from UK
>002-02

Judy Casada
Serials Department
University of Arkansas Libraries
365 N Ozark Ave
Fayetteville  AR   72701-4002
Phone/Voice: 479-575-5416
Fax: 479-575-4817