Monday, July 19, 2010

The power of a well written letter

Early last November I lost my latest Canon PowerShot camera while I was on vacation.  Shame on me!  My kind and wonderful husband purchased a new one for me as a Thanksgiving gift.  Although I know I drive him nuts sometimes with all the pictures I take - the fact remains that we both share a love of preserving memories through pictures and video.  Sometimes I'll catch him on the computer sitting with a glass of wine, and a content smile, sifting through the thousands of pictures we've taken over the years.

In mid June I was at a birthday party in New York and I dropped my gift.  The LCD screen went black and that was that.  Ugh, shame on me again.  But honestly, I've dropped many a Canon camera over the years and never has one malfunctioned so easily.  I mean if they can't take a little banging around what good are they?  (and if Apple only knew how many times I've dropped my iPhone!  Thanks for making a tough product Apple!)  There was no visible damage to the outside of the camera and the glass protecting the LCD was fine.

The camera was still under warranty and I sent it in for repair.  Several days later I received a form email stating that the repair would cost me $130.00 because the camera has suffered 'impact' damage.  The email also stated that I could call customer service and receive credit toward a Canon upgrade.  I did call customer service and the woman offered me a 20% discount on the repair.  Since the camera now sells for $160 online I couldn't see the sense in spending over $100 for my old one to be fixed.  I asked about the upgrade.  After much searching the rep said that she couldn't offer me an upgrade because my model wasn't 'in the matrix.'  Really?

Now here is where most people would really start to get their dander up.  Blood pressure elevating, stress level rising, adrenaline kicking in ... they might ask "Can I speak with a manager?"   Here's the best piece of advice I can ever give to someone trying to solve a customer service issue - give the phone ONE chance.  Only one.  Don't drive yourself crazy with customer service people reading from scripts and managers who don't have any real authority.  If you can't get it resolved in one call politely thank the person for their time and hang up.  Then look up the name of the CEO and the HQ address.  Write a clear and concise letter describing the issue at hand and exactly what they can do to resolve the situation to your satisfaction.

Throughout the years that I've subscribed to this method of handling customer service there has only been one time where my issue was not resolved swiftly and to my satisfaction.  At times I've been surprised and delighted with a company's desire to not only resolve my situation but to go above and beyond and create a raving fan in the process.  **Honable mention here to Kevin Cassidy, Patron Services, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts who recently made me a raving fan!

I am happy to say that when I arrived at work today there was a phone message along with two email messages stating that my camera would be fixed free of charge and they hope to have it back in my hands by the end of the week.

A hearty 'Thank You' to the staff in Mr. Joe Adachi's office!  I appreciate your response and willingness to stand behind your product!


Saturday, July 10, 2010

An excellent day ... or a few months

It's been a while since I've written anything - but we can chalk that up to life or writers block.

Today I feel compelled to write.  Well, I've actually felt compelled for a little while but time hasn't agreed with me.

I've learned several things over the last few months:

"Decisions made in frustration or anger end in catastrophe."  (Laurence Fishburne - from the movie "Bobby")

"Happiness is when what you say, what you do and what you think are in perfect harmony." (Gandhi)

And my own personal mantras still hold strong:  Do what you say you will do, Be the best person you can be - & - Live with Gratitude.

Over the last several months I've realized how important it is to keep your key quotes front and center.

My husband asked me an interesting question last evening,  He asked "What drives you to be the person you are?"

After a little internal debate I realized that it is my solid belief that what we do today propels us forward.  In this life and in the next.

When we love each other and care for each other - when we relieve stress and despair from our brothers and sisters.  In our support and kindness for every person that we encounter ... it is there.  It is in a smiling face or an opened door or a kind ear. 

I would like to share with you a quote that my friend John DeAmicis has put into art:

"Ancient Egyptians believed that upon death they would be asked two questions and their answers would determine whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife... The first question was Did you bring joy? The second was Did you find joy?"

Do you bring joy?  Do you find joy?

I truly hope that you did.    -debra