Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Customer Service


I shipped my camera equipment off to be cleaned the day after Thanksgiving.  I sent it to an authorized repair shop I found on the internet.  I made my decision based on customer reviews and the promise on their website:  a 24 hour turn-around.  Still, I was reluctant to be without my Canon.

A week later, I checked the "repair status" page on their website.   They received my camera and two lenses on December 3rd.  I figured - give it 24 hours and 5 days shipping - I should have the equipment back by the 11th.  It didn't happen.

So I sent them an email, asking:   what's up?  Is there a problem?  When will I get my equipment back?

The answer from Jennifer, the customer service representative:  "The technician is finishing up the cleanings.  I apologize for the delay in the cleaning.  The technician stated that the cleaning is very complex due to the fact that he needs to take the lens apart."

I checked again a week later, highlighting their 24 hour turn-around promise.  I got the same answer - word for word.

A week later I called.  Still the same answer.

Now I'm getting suspicious ... and angry.   I'm beginning to think I'll never see my equipment again.  I "google" the Illinois Attorney General's office - just in case.

I called again on the 28th.  "It's a complex process, but we'll be shipping your equipment back to you tomorrow."

The next day, at 2pm, I get a call from Jennifer.  Turns out, there is a "problem."  The camera body is ready to go.  They can't fix my 100-300 lens.   And they have to send my 100-400 lens to Canon for a calibration.

I am not happy.  Not that they can't fix my lens - or that they have to send the other lens to Canon.  I'm not happy that they didn't just say:  we're backed up and we won't get to your camera until 28 December.

I suspect I've been had - for $295.   JUST SEND MY EQUIPMENT BACK!  I said.

After I hung up and cooled off, I realized that wasn't such a good idea.  So I called back and asked to speak to the customer service manager.  I got put on hold and had to listen to this message:  "Thank you for giving us the chance to provide exceptional service for years to come..."

Turns out they were backed up.  Yes, she admitted their technician didn't get to my equipment until December 28th.

Why couldn't customer service tell me they were 4 weeks behind - when I contacted them back in November?

Did I really need to hear the challenges of dealing with Canon and how their customer service and their website editors were two different departments?

The manager agreed to over-night my camera body and my un-fixable lens.

UPS delivered this afternoon - in a snowstorm.

I connected my "un-fixable" lens to my camera body and snapped this photo of a downy woodpecker at my suet feeder (in the snow, in very bad light, though a window).  I have no complaints about the quality of their repairs.   Their technician did a great job.

But they have a way to go with customer service.

I wouldn't have been angry at all, had they told me - when I first contacted them in mid-November - that they were 4 weeks behind.    Instead, their lack of candor led me to think the worst.
The status of my 100-400 lens?
I might see it in 4-6 weeks, if I'm lucky.

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