Photo: George Hincapie one lap away from winning the 2006 Greenville Classic Criterium
This is a story of terrific service.
Though I enjoy my vintage Pentax K1000 35mm camera a lot and also enjoy getting my hands on Nikon, Minolta and other brands of cameras, I shoot Canon
cameras and lenses almost exclusively these days. Why? Maybe because something about the Canon
brand always appealed to me. Maybe it's because my older brother (who got me into photography as a boy) has always used Canon
equipment. Maybe it's that cool little red stripe on their L series lenses (the professional stuff). Maybe it's the cool white paint they use on their L-series zoom lenses. Or maybe it's because Canon
's user interfaces on every model above the 20D are perfectly designed for purists like me, who shoot in manual mode. (Most pro shooters these days shoot in some sort of automated mode like aperture priority, etc.)
Call me a control freak, but I like being in complete control of the aperture, shutter speed, etc.
But I digress.
I don't need to sing the praises of Canon
products. Canon's reputation speaks for itself. What this post is about is the customer service side of their business, - the hidden service entrance to the brand, if you will - which, until very recently, I had never bothered to think about.
I'll try to keep my little story from turning into a novel by just saying this: My favorite lens of all time, my baby, my brand new 70-200mm f:2.8 L series zoom lens
was recently damaged on a shoot. To be more specific, someone who had no business even touching it picked it up... and dropped it on a brick floor.
Yes, the lens was kind of busted. Not badly, but enough to require some service by Canon.
No, I did not murder the culprit - who ran from the shoot before I could get my hands on him.
The next morning, I called the Canon customer service center and briefly spoke with a representative. My only concern was this: How long will it take Canon to fix the lens?
The answer was "7-10 days at the most".Really?
I filled out the online form to set up the repair, took the damaged lens to my local UPS store, followed the packing and shipping instructions detailed on the website, and sent it on its way.
Three days later, I received an email from Canon
to tell me that my lens had arrived safe and sound at their service center.
One week later, I received an email from Canon
telling me the repairs were completed and that the lens would be shipped out the next day. The email contained a link to the FedEx tracking number so I could follow the box containing my restored lens as it made its way back to me.
Evidently, the email was sent to me a day or two late, because when I clicked on the tracking number link, the FedEx site indicated that the lens was already in Greenville, out for delivery. 45 minutes later, my lens was back, and as good as new.
The next day, a letter from Canon arrived in the mail, detailing the work and thanking me for my business, etc.
Canon didn't send me flowers, chocolates, cool free gear or anything out of the ordinary, but I was thoroughly impressed with the way they handled my repair: They were friendly on the phone. They answered my questions immediately. The procedure for sending them a damaged product was simple and easy to follow. The repairs were taken care of quickly and expertly. The product was sent back to me promptly. The communications from Canon and subsequent follow-ups were precise, adequate, and professional.
Compared to a lot of other companies I have sent products to for repairs or warranty issues, Canon takes the prize for speed, efficiency, simplicity and professionalism. They did everything right.
Bottom-line: Canon did exactly what it promised, and there's a whole lot to be said for that these days. It's great to know that one of my favorite consumer products brands a) hasn't fallen asleep at the wheel and b) isn't cutting corners anywhere in its organization.
Could Canon have left a bad taste in my mouth by not handling my service request very well? Maybe. Could Canon have allowed me to consider buying Pentax or Nikon next time I am on the market for new photo gear? Maybe.
But they didn't. By taking good care of me the way they did, they confirmed that my preference for their brand was well deserved.
Thank you, Canon, for getting it right. ;)