Applause for Marston: Who Gets Your Vote?

Marston Logo

Marston Book Services

Andrew Lacey from GLO has left a glowing (you may groan) report about Marston Christian Books on the Feedback page, and I find myself agreeing: prompt replies to queries, prompt order processing and despatch, efficient returns processing. Congratulations to all concerned.

One ongoing frustration from my point of view, however: Marston are still not using for their invoicing. But that’s not down to the customer service folks: that’s down to the accounting division. Come on, people: enough with the lame excuses — having to raise a cheque every month is so last-century.

Moan over! Here’s Andrew’s feedback:

Phil, what about creating a string for ‘Thanks for GOOD service! or suchlike! It might encourage a few of us moaners to use the Blog to pass on some thanks for excellent service.

My first nomination would be Marston Christian Books division, who have processed & creditted our Christmas returns very quickly. The credit notes appeared on the January statement. This is excellent going, and is real ‘Sale or Return’- instead of waiting months to get the credit back.

Marston – much appreciated! Thank you.

Roger Compton

Roger Compton

As well as suppliers there are the suppliers’ reps: joint top on my list come Roger Compton from STL and Howard Corn from SPCK: both always cheerful, friendly and helpful, always willing to go the extra mile in pursuing awkward or slightly off-beat enquiries — in my case, frequently at short notice!

Gentlemen, I take my hat off to each of you: thank you.

Which suppliers and reps get your vote?

8 thoughts on “Applause for Marston: Who Gets Your Vote?

  1. Thoroughly agree with the comments about Roger. He is an excellent rep who always follows through with queries that we have and makes sure that they are resolved by the right department. More importantly he knows our account and is able to draw our attention to items that we would have missed and yet would want.

  2. Here is a report on the four book product suppliers I spend most money with.

    STL – a huge improvement from before Christmas. 24 hour turnaround is now pretty much 100% for me. However plenty of problems remain – the latest issue is random backorder lines coming through with no discount – 9 examples of this over 5 different invoices in the last 10 days.

    Marston – excellent. Great all-round service. Rarely a problem.

    IVP – a huge improvement from six months ago when problems abounded. I don’t think I have had to report a mistake for several months now. Do you agree with this, Phil?

    Bookpoint. Pretty poor. In far too many deliveries I am getting mispicks or damages. This was the case with Bookpoint five or six years ago, but they improved greatly – now seem to be reverting back. Is any other Bookpoint user experiencing this? On the positive side their customer service staff are very helpful – just wish I wasn’t talking to them so often!

    Also would like to commend Gardners and Ingram – deliveries like clockwork, hardly ever a problem with mispicks or damages.

    • Similar experience to yours, John: definite improvements with STL’s order turnaround, but plenty of other problems ongoing — stock availability; single-item backorders; incorrect discounts and prices.

      Marston: as you say, excellent.
      IVP: huge improvements — far fewer errors.
      Bookpoint: have had no problems.
      Gardners: superb; the odd problem efficiently and effectively resolved.

      Worst of the lot, however, when it comes to supply has to be Orca. I sometimes wonder whether Continuum print books with the express purpose of stocking their warehouse rather than actually selling them!

  3. I try and find ways around Orca wherever possible; STL or Gardners sometimes oblige. If I have to order from Orca, I have a pre-prepared speech for the customer .. ‘I hope to have it for you in a week – however ….’

    The Archbishop’s Lent book this year ‘Why go to Church’ was a particular nightmare – not available at all till two weeks before Lent, managed to get a few, then they promptly ran out just in time for Lent to start! I had customers who had been scouring the country trying to get it. Finally became available at Gardners, thank God.

  4. Further to my previous Orca moan, I was contacted by their Customer Services Manager, who very politely explained some of the problems. Which makes me a feel a good deal better that my book hadn’t arrived…… Really, it does!

    Especially when she told me they had recently been taken over by (you’ve guessed it) MARSTON! So, maybe our favourite suppier will work their Magic (is that allowed in the Christian Book trade?!) and Orca will transmogrify into another shining, super-efficient Marston Book Service Book Delivery Machine……. watch this space!

  5. Pingback: LBF09: London Book Fair 2009: A Bookseller’s Perspective « UKCBD: The Christian Bookshops Blog

  6. Full marks to IVP for their very prompt processing of a series of ‘let’s get my stock levels down’ returns- very much appreciated. Credit notes arrived in less than two weeks.

    With many thanks


    • I have to take my hat off to Marston who processed the Lion & Alban Christmas Returns in just one week and one day from collection to credit note!
      Also Norwich books who dealt with a large box of returns in just under 2 weeks as well.
      Stunning turn around there and so very nice to experience.

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