Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Why do companies neglect their customers? Yes, you Canon (and AT&T)

What happened to the customer is always right? As the cliché goes, you would think given the circumstances, companies would go all out to keep loyal customers happy. But no.

When it comes to photography, I am a Canon guy. I love my little Rebel XT and would love to add some new higher-end “glass” (aka lenses) once I get back in the job market. But, the company is giving me some reasons to re-consider them as my vendor of choice.

I just upgraded my home machine to a new Dell Studio desktop running Vista (yes, I know...). Problem is, I seem to have misplaced the original software CD that came with my Rebel. The box, packing materials and all the manuals are in my closet, just not the CD I need to get the transfer utility and photo tools on to my new PC. No biggie, I thought, I'll just download what I need from the Canon site. Wrong, all that's available are “updater” programs that require a previous version be installed in order to use them. As they like to say on Twitter, Fail!

E-mail to Canon's customer support were equally frustrating. While I did get a quick response and the company did say, “We value you as a Canon customer and appreciate the opportunity to assist you with the Digital Rebel XT,” they were of no help. They did confirm that one can only get updater versions from the Rebel XT support page and that a replacement copy of the Solutions CD can be purchased from the Canon Sales and Accessories Department via an 800 number.

Why on Earth can't they just provide this software to download? Put it behind a registration wall if you want. It's not of much use to non-Canon users. I've got my serial number, box, everything. Not like I am trying to pull a fast one here. It's ridiculous that I have to pay (not sure how much, but that's not the point) for a replacement CD.

Quick Google and Flickr searches uncovered a number of other people complaining about the same issue. There are some workarounds available that include messing with the Windows registry and downloading the software from a peer-to-peer network. Neither seems worth it.

My workaround is to use Picasa as my photo browser (replacing Canon's ZoomBrowser) and the built-in card reader to grab photos instead of the EOS Utility. I haven't shot RAW yet, so I'll cross that conversion bridge when I get there.

As for AT&T, I am not sure what they are thinking by not having MMS ready for the iPhone 3.0 OS launch next week. I could send MMS with crappy LG Chocolate phone three years ago on Verizon Wireless. Why can't I with my mighty iPhone? They've known this is coming for a while and yet are the only carrier out of 30 that won't be ready in time.

I partially understand the delay in allowing tethering. That could really eat up precious network resources, but AT&T definitely dropped the ball on MMS.

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