Archive for the 'Business' Category

Canon, a new service standard

We’ve all read the horror stories; bad-tempted service people, insane refund requirements, etc. We quickly spread the word over the net partly to get even with the companies that screw us and partly to help our fellow consumers avoid that same situation we just endured. 

But how often do we take the time to write about a company that quietly goes out of its way to give excellent service or is so forward thinking and logical that their entire systems and procedures are designed to delight the consumer? Not very often unfortunately.

So here’s one.

I’ve been a loyal Canon consumer for 15+ years; i’ve purchased everything from printers to cameras and everything in between. The products have always been top notch in quality and compatibility. But they do wear out and break after years of use and that’s when the service organization either gives us reasons to continue our loyalty or move elsewhere.

So how did Canon react when my camcorder that was over 2 years old developed a nagging case of zoomitis?? 

I’ll tell you but a few details are in order.

First, the problem seemed to be epidemic; a quick google search confirmed that many consumers who had a similar camcorder experienced this problem. 

Second, no recall was every issued nor were any service bulletins published. It was one of those quite problems that plague most CE manufacturers. 

So with that said, i went online and submitted a repair request using a very convenient and logical web system. I then printed out the appropriate forms, threw it in a box with the camcorder and shipped it to Canon fully expecting them to contact me and tell me it would cost $100+ for repair since it was out of warranty. Expecting the worse i was prepared to point out they had a design flaw and even though this product was out of warranty i expected them to stand by their products. If that wasn’t successful i was prepared to drop it as the camcorder had done its duty rather well over the years and i had already purchased a new HD Canon camcorder. 

I then went on vacation. I checked email occasionally and never saw anything from Canon. I figured they had probably sent a letter to my home or worse sent the entire camorder back to me with a note saying “sorry”.

To my very pleasant surprise I found a freshly repaired camcorder sitting in my house at zero cost to me!

So why is this important? 

It’s not that i got something that i shouldn’t have or i got something for free. What i got was respect. Canon basically said to me “even though we don’t have any responsibility to fix this, we’re going to anyway because we beleive this is the best way to build loyalty”. And we’re they ever right in my case.

We’re all individual consumers and have unique ideas and needs when it comes to these types of issues. I hope Canon realizes that there are in fact many of us out here that are legit consumers who simply want to keep buying their products as long as we’re treated fairly. 

All i can say is Canon has my business both now and in the future as long as they keep showing me that they care enough to do the right thing, which in this case was good for me and great for them. 


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viewsonic: a dying brand

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yet another company slowly draws to an end.

i spent hours on what should have been an empowering and customer creating event with viewsonic only to walk away feeling like i had been at war. a needless war considering i had purchased an extended warranty.

i’ll spare you the details but here’s a summary: it took 45 days , 32 email exchanges, 3 faxes, 2 phone calls, $25 in shipping charges and about 5 hours of my time for them to acknowledge i had a valid claim and to ship a replacement.

how do companies design customer care services to be so inefficient? I don’t know but i do intend to find out.

I plan on interviewing serveral companies over the next few months to see if there’s a common set of variables that emerge which lead to poor customer service practices.

stay tuned….

a great summary on net neutrality

These are Bob Frankston’s comments as told to Bob Cringely in this article.

My favorite paragraph:

To Bob the issues surrounding Net Neutrality come down to billability and infrastructure. While saying they are doing us favors, ISPs are really offering us services they can bill for. Nothing is aimed at helping us, while everything is aimed at creating a billable event. Take WiFi hotspots, for example. Why should the telephone or cable company care about who connects to my WiFi access point? They are my bits, not the ISP’s. I paid for them. If I can download gigabytes of pornography why can’t I share my hotspot with someone walking down the street wanting to check his e-mail? Frankston’s analogy for this is accusing someone of stealing your porch light by using it to read a street sign.

who owns the internet?

a very interesting way to see who owns what. AT&T and Verizon are the biggest owners of the backbone but don’t own enough to be a duopoly.

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Trust

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Trust, as Fukuyama said is the basis for economic growth.

You can have community without commerce, but you can’t have commerce without community – Crockford said this and he’s da man when it comes to social networking IMO.

So, what’s the point?

With all the money and buzz flowing into and around social networks, why do all the sites ignore the issue of trust if it’s that important? Linkedin seems to be the only site that gives it a drive-by addressing but only in the professional connection market.

Shellen and I were talking about potential new services and businesses the other day and we both agreed that when your friends tell you about something, you listen. (We learned this at ConsumerREVIEW). Why? Because you trust them. This is “the money”.

The paradox is, that as a site grows it’s proportionally less trustworthy. There’s an inverse relationship between growth and trust which no one seems to be addressing. Is it even possible?

Building a tool that addresses this issue would be equivalent (in the offline world) to figuring out how to meet, and then really understand the motives of say 100,000 people. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to meet 100,000 people – think of all the hand sanitizer you’d need.

Plus people are fickle and complicated. The guy who’s taste in movies you abhor might be an engineer and have expert knowledge on flat panel TVs. So if you diss his movie recommendations, you might lose a valuable recommendation when it comes time to buy a flat panel.

Miss Rouge is making a nice little career these days talking about community but she’s standing on giants’ shoulders IMO. No one seems to have noticed all the previous work that has gone on in this very important space, which I guess is why i’m bringing it up.

What do you think?

New Vegas Hotel

I stayed at The Platinum Hotel while at Interbike last week and totally dug it. I personally don’t care for the mega-casino-takes 30 minutes to walk to your room deal. The Platinum is a Preferred Hotel and is fairy small by Vegas standards.

Found it on Craigslist and took a chance as i’d not heard of it before. – turns out that its very new so not a lot of folks know about it yet. Fairly convenient (located behind Bally’s) and has 255 suites.

Got a room for $135 per night (+$50 cleaning fee). Call Justin at 702.301.8148, paypal only.

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