Posts Tagged 'service as brand'

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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Adobe, if there were only options….

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Sorry for not posting of late, Holidays, etc…But this one got me fired up!

OK, i admit it. I’ve hated Adobe products for a longtime. I’ve always found them less than intuitive, unfriendly to Macs (used to be different) and overly complicated – and i’m not referring to Photoshop – i’m referring to their ‘simplified’ painting products like Elements. Example: try to draw a simple unfilled circle around an object of interest on a photo and you’ll see what i mean.

So after upgrading to Leopard, my Elements 2.0 no longer works. Great. I read on the net that i’ll have to upgrade to at least 4.0 (which some say doesn’t work with Leopard). So i try all of the other paint products – free, commercial, open source and well, they are all lacking….So i bite the bullet and buy 4.0 on Jan 8th mainly because i need it for a project – after wrestling with their ecommerce site, filling in form and form, i finally download it and it installs just fine.

So i’m somewhat happy i can do what i need to do now, but jeez Adobe’s attitude towards everything is just…. pretentious, overblown and complicated. But, i have the product and it does what i need it to do (after spending oodles of time learning it).

Now i’m at Macworld and i see that Adobe is releasing Elements 6.0 for Mac a mere 7 days after i buy 4.0. So i ask the gal at the Adobe booth what i should do; she says send an email to customer service….. So i do. I send this after filling out yet more Adobe-enforced-forms that require serial #’s, order #’s, blood type, name, etc: “Order number: AD001288418

Serial number: 1057-0800-5888-0282-6969-3648

just bought this last week (1/8/08) and went to macworld and saw that you are

releasing version 6. I would like a free upgrade pleas

e or i would like to return this version and buy 6 when it is released.

 

Pretty straightforward….or so i think. I figure they’ll tell me either sorry, you bought too early (which i did) or sure, here’s how to get a free upgrade. Either of which i’m fine with really.

 

 

Instead i get an email that requires me to either log into their system to see the answer (which has been down for 2 days now) or read a PD-freaken-F. A PDF? In response to an email?? Pu-lease!

 

So i open the PDF and can’t believe, nor understand what i’m reading. Here it is, i kid you not:

Submit a Web Case at

http://www.adobe.com/go/supportp

ortal/

*** Notes to Customer ***

01/18/2008 11:28:15

______________________________________________

Hello Greg,

Thank you for contacting Adobe Customer Service.

Greg, I understand that you purchased Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 on

January 8, 2008 and you now need a free upgrade to Photoshop Elements

6.0, else you would like to return this software and purchase Photoshop

Elements 6.0 when released.

 

We apologize for the inconvenience caused to you.

With regards to your free upgrade query, I need to inform you that when

Adobe releases a new product, the product team determines a

post-announce date. If you purchase a previous version of a product,

either directly from Adobe or a reseller, including an Adobe Reseller,

you are entitled to a post-announce upgrade for the cost of shipping. To

process this, proof of purchase is required.

 

Post-announce pricing applies to full retail versions, upgrade versions,

and educational products. Post-announce upgrades are available only

through Adobe and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers.

Further, I would request you to contact Adobe Customer Service at the

number given below to check the free upgrade eligibility.

Still, if you want to return the software, please note that within 30

days of purchase, Adobe® will accept the return of any product purchased

directly from Adobe. Adobe cannot process returns for products and

services purchased from another source. Indirect orders of products and

services must be returned to the source from which they were purchased

and are subject to the return policies of that source.

To learn more about Adobe Return policy, kindly refer the link given

below:

http://www.adobe.com/go/tn_15327

We thank you for your time. We are pleased to inform that you are one of

our esteemed customers.

For your records, your customer ID number is 128692713. The customer ID

number is the easiest way for us to access your account in our database.

In the future, please provide this number when you contact Adobe. Your

case number is 200579520.

Greg, the Web Support Portal Representatives are available from Monday

to Friday. For your convenience, on weekends we have a dedicated phone

support for Customer Service related queries. Please feel free to

contact our phone support at 1 (800) 833-6687 from 6:00am-8:00pm PST, 7

days a week.

Best Regards,

Tim G.

Adobe Customer Service

______________________________________________

*** Notes from Customer ***

01/17/2008 15:32:13

 

 

Hard to believe, eh? They have taken an opportunity to create goodwill and turned it into a government-sounding sing-song of redirection. And i love the jargon and redirect. What exactly is a “post-announcement” date and why would i care? Interestingly it is a date, yet a date is never given – makes sense???

 

 

Now i need to contact Adobe Customer to check if i can get a free upgrade. Excuse me Tim G., you ARE Adobe customer Service!?? But now i have to call them….on a phone!!!! To ask them the question i just asked you?

 

 

IMO, Adobe epitomizes what happens when companies get so large that they lose touch; since they have a monopoloy of graphic software they are no longer interested in making SW for normal people – Elements was 500MB and i still can’t draw a simple colored circle around an object without doing 15 things that are completely unintuitive .

 

 

Finally, every interaction i’ve ever had with the company has been full of bureaucratic bung; this case is only the latest. How about you, share something similar?

 

 

I pray for the day when someone publishes a decent paint package that does 1/2 of what Elements does – i’ll be the first in line…

 

 

Until then, I’ll be on hold waiting for Adobe customer service…..

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?


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