Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A post I may regret...

When I started this blog, almost 2 years and 350 posts ago, there were many things I wasn't sure of and did not know (like how long it would last, the way cool people I would meet, and the photography doo-dads I would get to play with).

The one thing I did know, was sure of, was this blog was going to stay positive, "do no harm", then as we started receiving products to review that thought process led directly to our "review policy".

I have received products for review that I did not work for me, I have been to seminars that I did not like, but kept it to myself. Perhaps the seminar instructor was having an off day, maybe I was not using the product correctly or it would fill a need, it just wasn't a need I had.

So my trepidation (a word I have never used in conversation before) comes from the inside.

The route of my unhappiness (more like my whining) comes from my Pocket Wizards. (whew... there I said it). Not the Wizards themselves, but from their customer service.

At the end of December I bought 5 Pocket Wizards and along with accessories, re-chargeable batteries, whizbangs, hoohas, and flarsnooples (I have read way too much Dr. Seuss in my life) the total investment was over $800. Not sure about you, but for me, that kind of money is a BIG investment.

And I love my Pockets Wizards, I use them often and they are an important tool in my photography, the problem started when just a few weeks after my purchase the Pocket Wizard folks announced their new line that now allow you TTL and manual control.

I called them, explained my recent purchase and asked if they were going to offer an upgrade (it is not uncommon for software and hardware vendors to offer an upgrade to recent purchasers for no charge, or a nominal fee). I was told there were "no plans at this time, but call back after the release". When I called after the release I was asked for my phone number and was told to expect a call back. The call never came.

As the reviews piled up extolling the features of the latest model it was starting to irritate me (kinda like sand in your bathing suit) that no one ever called me, so in March I sent an email explaining my situation (in a calm and polite manner no "do you know who I am?" or "I hate you"). At the very least I expected a polite form rejection email in return. Nope, got nothin' back.

So after another month of "nothing" I printed out the email and snail mailed it (now you're thinking "not only is he a whiner, he's a freaking stalker too!"), only because from time to time the "ball gets dropped" and I thought this may have been one of those times.

My snail mail got the same attention and response as my phone call and email... nada, nothing, zilch.

As outstanding as my Pocket Wizards are, as happy as I am with them, I could not be more disappointed with their lack of customer service.

Please understand my unhappiness is not because I could not upgrade my Wizards, it's because I was not important enough for them to even respond to, they blew me off on three separate occasions.

I once had a customer who was not very happy with her portrait images, I returned her money, re-shot the session, and gave her a print for free.

Long after people forget what you did for them, they will remember how you made them feel.

Every ad I see for Pocket Wizards in a photography magazine or website reminds me I don't feel very good about the Pocket Wizard folks.

9 comments:

Chris Riley said...

Seems like a fair complaint to me!

Scott said...

Thanks Chris...

Michael Brillant said...

Companies need to understand that Customer Service can make or break a company. Just look at GM and where they are today; a great product but poor customer service and relations.

Steve Wetzel said...

I agree that Pocket Wizards should have responded back to you. The only think I wonder about is if they are trying to fix all the problems with their current product before they offer an upgrade. That said, they could still inform you of that by saying something to the effect of they need to get the bugs worked out of the new product before they can address the upgrade question. I would think that would be reasonable.

brett maxwell said...

From recent reviews it seems like you're lucky they didn't offer you the new ones!

Regardless, the lack of CS and poor (nonexistent) communication is inexcusable.

From my vantage point, it seems PW had gotten very comfortable as the industry standard, but now it seems they need to step up their game (product and CS) as cheaper and/or more capable triggers are popping up all over (CyberSync, Radiopoppers, etc).

Larry Leone said...

I have the old wizards too, but I just ordered Radio poppers.Especially after hearing the nightmare test results that are going on with the new wizards. And I tried radio poppers at a recent workshop and they rocked! Plus I called them with a question and I got a human on the phone in a flash and she was very helpful.

I'm still keeping my old wizards. They have a place. If your short on cash, I'd say sell your wizards on e-bay and get some radio poppers.

Just my $0.02

Scott said...

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

It makes me realize that how I felt was not all that unreasonable.

Jason Anderson said...

A tough situation - enjoy the product but hate the vendor...kinda like me and Adobe at times... OL

Scott said...

That pretty much sums it up Jason…