Time for more of the copyrighted feature, “Tales of Customer Service.” Actually, I’m ripping this concept off from another copyrighted feature, “Tales of Airport Security,” from Harry Shearer’s excellent weekly radio program “Le Show”on NPR. If you haven’t caught Harry when he’s not being Mr. Burns, Smithers, or the guy in Spinal Tap, you should catch Le Show.
First, the good news.
The guys at Camera Bits, creators of the best and fastest image browser in the universe, Photo Mechanic, continue to innovate, and to provide the best damn software support in the industry.
If you have a glitch or a hitch with a new version of PM, and you report it, you’ll get personal responses, and advice, from not one, but a bunch of different guys from Camera Bits, and your problem will be solved, post haste. No case numbers, no bizarre reporting rituals, no bullshit runarounds. Just solid answers and personal service.
If Photo Mechanic wasn’t already the best browser in the business, I would still follow these guys into the jaws of hell, just on the strength of their concern and followup with their customers.
Alas, for every great, there’s a grunt. And in the world of self-publishing, that grunt is Lulu.
I’ve been publishing my book, 101 Tips for Travel Photographers, with Lulu for some time now, and have not had a problem with quality control. Peggy, on the other hand, just wrote and published a book called On His Way Home, about our son, Jonathan, and her experience has not been a happy one.
On her first shipment of 100 books, 83 had smeared pages and blotched pictures. When we reported it, we got case numbers, order numbers, incident numbers and a couple weeks later, instructions to send pictures of the flaws. We snapped jpegs of several pages in a few books, and sent them off.
No response for another 10 days, then a report. We were supposed to line up all the books and photograph the flaws of all the books in one picture, one picture of each flaw in 80+ books!
Are you f’ing kidding me?
Now, I’m no still life photographer, but if you had to line up and open 83 6″x9″ books and photograph page spreads in one shot, you’d have to use a gigapan to get enough resolution to show the actual flaws.
This is a level of customer service bullshit the audacity and stupidity of which beggars belief.
Nobody messes with Peggy, so she packed up the 83 books and shipped them back to Lulu. Now they can get first hand views of the flaws. And we’re shopping for another publisher, needless to say.
Got a tale of customer service? Vent it here in the comments….it’s therapeutic!
UPDATE: After receiving the books themselves, the customer support folks at Lulu say they are going to issue a refund for all the damaged pieces. Never underestimate the power of the grand gesture! BK