I don’t normally blog about customer service issues (although I have been known to tweet complaints) but I feel like I should blog this, in part because I am not so angry I can’t see straight, which is usually a hint for me that blogging is not a wise decision and because its about brand loyalty which in light of returning my iPhone I am thinking about.
I’ll provide some background, but if you’d like to get to the point it’s don’t buy a camera from Casio and think hard about Customer Service.
My first digital camera was a Sony, but my second was a Canon Powershot and two subsequent cameras have been Powershots. I love taking photos and I know I am working my way towards an SLR. Last October I traded in my Canon PowerShot SD870 IS (great point & shot by the way) for the Canon SX10 IS, love it! But found I missed having a small point & shoot in my purse handy in case I wanted to take a photo of something. Having sold the SD870 (I so regret this) I looked at my options, I didn’t want to spend a lot as I already have a nice camera, but I did want image stabilization and a wide angle lens. Canon had an option but of course it was more expensive than the one Casio offered. So I put aside my brand loyalty and bought the Casio. I’m not completely thrilled with the functionality of it and wouldn’t want it for my “good” camera but it worked. Until 2 weeks ago when I dropped it and the screen broke.
I’d had it for less than a month and it was under warranty so I sent it into Casio to be repaired. Today I got the estimate for repair, now keep in mind I indicated the screen was broken when I filled out the forms & they did not indicate it what it would cost and I paid about $10 to ship it.
- Flat Amount: $69.00
- Labor: $0.00
- Parts: $0.00
- Shipping & Handling: $10.00
- Sales Tax: $4.74
- Service Total: $83.74
- Remarks: review screen broken
I only paid $124.95 for the camera! Seriously? Worse there is no view finder so it is useless without the screen, but there is no freaking way I’m paying them $83.74 In truth I’m more frustrated with myself than Casio, I know that sometimes cheaper is cheaper for a reason and you end up paying for it in the long run.
update 6:30 pm EST – just realize I have to pay them $10 to send it back to me or allow them to keep it. Now actually mad.
Now I wish I’d bought the Canon. Why? Because several years ago, when I had my very first Canon, I broke the screen. I foolishly left it laying on the stairs and someone (I can’t remember if it was me or a roommate) stepped on it and broke it after it was almost a year old. I sent it to Canon, they repaired it and mailed it back to me a no cost. I’d almost forgotten this was part of my foundation for loyalty to Canon (I get flack for it sometimes you know) until this little incident. In truth it probably cost them very little to fix it for free and it earned them a life long customer, I’ve since purchased 2 more Canons, each increasingly higher end, therefore more expensive models. I’ll be replaced the Casio with a Canon thank you very much, and I’ll also be advising other people not to buy a Casio. I am the techie friend that so many friends and family come to for advice when they are thinking about a new gadget. Sometimes it is the little or not so little things that matter.
Ok so how does this relate to libraries? Customer service matters, and not just in the front line smile and be nice kind of way, but in the don’t offer excuses and just fix my problem sort of way. I’m sure Casio has very good reasons for these fees, and I’m certain its their policy. I can’t argue with that.
But sometimes by sticking with our very good reasons and policies we’re digging a hole. You may gain a small amount in fees or fines, but what did you loose in the form of customer relations, good feelings and PR? How much do you spend on marketing and PR? What if by providing exceptional customer service your patrons could be doing positive PR for you instead of negative?
I know times are tight and we’re all looking to save a buck, but what you gain today in $10 or $20 (or $83.74) of fees you could pay back many times over in the money you could have saved on marketing and PR.
photo by debaird