One of the collective peeves from all the Fat Dads on this site is awful customer service. And it’s been pretty much no holds barred for outing and shaming companies that hold the customer in contempt and provide nothing but appalling customer service. On a few very rare occasions, we get to recommend companies that go that extra mile and improve on already great service with some of those nice little extra touches. Please allow me to add Pentax Imaging Canada to the list.
It’s no secret that I’ve been shooting with a Pentax camera for almost 20 years. I’ve always like the build quality of my original and second-hand 35mm K1000 and the fact that there are over 2.5 million K-Mount lens that you can stick on a brand new dSLR body simply by setting the dial to M was the main reason I bought my K200d. I’ve had it just over 18 months and have shot well over 15,000 pictures with it. It follows me everywhere, to and from work, on family walks and cycle rides, to dinner parties, family BBQ and of course up and down mountains. Whether I’m skiing, hiking or even climbing the 60 weather seals on the K200d get tested on a semi regular basis. So you can imagine how annoyed I was at myself for dropping it twice in totally n00b ways. First by breaking the filter on the end of my 75-300mms zoom and then again by dropping the whole camera bag and damaging the smallest LCD screen and jog wheel in the process. In both cases, I was entirely at fault, I took stupid risks and paid dearly for it. But in both cases Pentax came through in stellar fashion.
Let’s start with the lens. After dropping it, I tried to remove the filter myself only to realise it was never going to move using hands and rather than taking a vice grip to it and risk damaging the glass, I brought it to Photoco in Pointe-Claire and they coordinated getting it repaired by Pentax for me. As the ski season was pretty much over and I still had access to my 70-200mm manual Hanimex lens, I let them take care of it for me. Well for less than $45 plus the cost of a new $17 UV filter, the old filter ring was removed without incident, Pentax then proceeded to clean and service the lens at no extra cost. Honestly they did an amazing job at this and I can only assume they must have done this in a specially pressurized vacuum environment. I had to check the serial number just make sure they had in fact sent me back my original lens and not a brand new one. Further to this, Photoco would not let me leave without buying the replacement filter and installing it immediately. I was also easily convinced into buying and dedicated lens case. Not only did I leave Photoco, delighted to have my old lens back but I actually felt good about parting with $80 taxes in.
Now the camera was a whole other story, as it was only the LCD screen that was busted, and for most of my photography needs the camera still worked fine, I spent a little extra time trying to figure out how I was going to get it fixed without too much down time. As a web developer and a father of four, having a camera on me is pretty much the de facto rule. So I turned to the Pentax forums on Flickr and a Pentax Canada agent immediately got back to me with a quote for the repairs based on the photos of the damaged I uploaded. The quote was quite reasonable: just shy of 2 bills. However they were quoting a repair time of 10 business days, but the Pentax agent made sure to add “RUSH – USED FOR WORK” to the notes and on Monday when the real quote came in by email, you know they one where they ask for your credit card number, they were quite apologetic that I would be without my camera for too long. And just for good measure they added another RUSH note to the work notes. This morning as I got to the office, Gustavo our receiving clerk, informed me that he had a package I needed to sign for. Wow! Only 2 days after I approved the work, the camera was repaired and back in my hands just in time to tomorrow’s Twestival, which I’m hoping to finally be able to attend as the Parent-Teacher meetings should be done by 5:30pm this year.
A note to all for anyone who works in customer service, whether it’s technically related or not. All those little things you can do to make the life of a customer like me a little easier, you can be guaranteed that it will be appreciated even if it’s not always mentioned. And beware to all other companies looking to cut some costs by outsourcing your customer service or technical support work. It might look good on paper to save a few points at the end of a quarter, but there will always be companies like Pentax Imaging Canada who will go make that extra effort. Fat Dads like me are loyal to companies these companies. We want products that just work and when we break it, we like to know you’ve got our back. Sure I’m going to have to wait little longer for my new MacBook Pro after spending 300 fat loons but it’s not as if the I5 chip is coming out any sooner despite Steve’s reassuring emails.