More customer service critique
On the pretty good side: I called Canon customer support today to inquire about my Powershot G2, which we all know I shipped to them last week for some repairs. My expectation, from my original conversation with their phone support people, was that they'd send me an e-mail saying that it was going to cost me a ton of money to have it repaired, and did I want to go ahead with it? But I didn't hear anything from them. Silencio.
When I called them today I talked to a very chatty support guy (apparently he's learning programming, but types really badly, so it's slow going) who told me that they had already done the repair, under warranty, and it should be shipped out in the next couple of days.
Now, while I was pleased as punch that they decided it was a warranty repair -- I've owned the thing since last January, which by my math makes it over a year -- they could have improved my experience by dropping me a quick e-mail letting me know what the status was, instead of forcing me to call them to find out that they're doing right by me.
It wouldn't be that hard, either. Presumably they have some kind of tracking system in place. It wouldn't be that hard to add a field for "owner's e-mail" and set up the system so status changes trigger e-mails to me, like
"We've recieved your camera"
"We've classified this as a warranty repair"
"Repairs are done and the camera should be shipped in a couple of days"
"The camera has been shipped, here's the tracking number"
Heck, Moveable Type alerts me any time someone comments on this site, or tracks back to it -- and it's shareware.
The trick here is to make the customer feel as though they're in charge of the experience, or at least that they feel like they understand what's happening, instead of being in the dark. It's a small thing, but it has a huge effect on the customer experience. And on the ROI side, I have no idea how much my fifteen minute conversation with their support guy cost them, but it has to be dramatically more expensive than sending me a few automated e-mails triggered by their existing tracking system.
All of this of course is infinitely better than my current experience dealing with Tiffen, the manufacturers of my Domke camera bag.
The summary of the experience goes like this:
- I sent them my bag on December 23.
- I got busy and didn't realize time had passed.
- I called them at 2:00 on March 17 (I take good notes) to inquire as to the status of my bag. The support guy found my record in their computer, even though their new computer system "might not have it yet". It was after "Rochester" had closed for the day, so he printed out my record and said he'd contact me the next day.
- I called them again today, at 11:00 so I knew "rochester" would still be open. After he pulled up my record, whoops, his computer froze and he couldn't do anything. He took my phone number and promised to follow up with me today. Obviously they're closed for the day now.
The upshot of this is that now I'm going to have to call them back, and that I'm not convinced they'll have a straight answer for me. They're great bags... but now I'm not sure I'd ever buy another one. A lifetime guarantee is only worth as much as it's easy to get that guarantee fulfilled.
And clearly I'm irked enough that I'm telling you, gentle reader, my experience, so you have this knowledge to help make future decisions about what camera bag you might want to buy.