Not really a Canon update

Whatever you say about Canon and Canon products and services, taking a week to not answer an email of complaint/support request is indefensible. I sent my email last Thursday. So far, I’ve had nothing more than an automated "we’ve had your email, here’s a reference number" response.

The impression I’ve received so far from Canon is that any problem with their product must be the result of something I’ve done wrong or a problem with another (third party) piece of hardware/software that I’ve installed. The possibility that the problem could be with their product or software does not seem to have occurred to them or even be part of their psyche.

Furthermore, surely if a customer has a problem (and thinking about what I was taught in college by the CIM), the first thing you do is bend over backwards to help your client in order to retain that customer and turn them into a corporate ambassador (people tend to remember problems that were solved quickly and helpfully more than things that went right in the first place) and also to identify a potential product fault and rectify it in a future product revision (perhaps by issuing a software/firmware patch in this case, or at least by giving support staff information to help them identify a similar problem with another customer).

But this doesn’t seem to be part of the Canon culture, based on my experience from the three tech support people that I’ve spoken to and my use of tech support areas of their website.

And it is this, even more than the failure of the product itself, that irks me.

2 Replies to “Not really a Canon update”

  1. “surely if a customer has a problem… the first thing you do is bend over backwards to help your client in order to retain that customer and turn them into a corporate ambassador”

    I see this as yet another example of creeping disempowerment, which is one of my biggest bugbears these days.

    The theory goes something like this: once upon a time, support centres had appropriate resources to be able to take all customer issues seriously. Then throughout the ’90s, cutbacks and “efficiencies” took out an entire middle layer of management and technical expertise, leaving only a pool of very junior people on the phones and a single, very hassled support manager whose workload is too overwhelming to be able to engage in any meaningful way with individual items.

    This model looked efficient on the surface, but on closer inspection the overall quality of service/solution that it provided was poor. Therefore, senior management introduced a more process-oriented way of dealing with things… you know the type of thing, helpdesk software, pre-prepared scripts, performance metrics. In doing this, it took any last remaining shreds of initiative away from the front-line people and thus any incentive that they might have had to go the extra mile.

    Canon probably thinks it’s done a fantastic job in trimming its administrative costs, pushing its human capital resources, sweating its assets and all those other vile phrases that justify this type of approach. The end result, however, is exactly as you describe it: a “system” failure that eventually becomes embedded into the corporate culture as the default operating mode.

    This might all sound rather trite and one-sided, but it’s based on nearly two decades of my own experiences, both as someone using support centres and as someone who has worked in an increasingly proceduralised corporate environment. There are, of course, the exceptions that prove the rule – which only serve to make the whole phenomenon even more frustrating, because they demonstrate that it doesn’t have to be like this.

  2. God, my comment is longer than your post! It’s the first time I’ve put this down in writing and I guess I feel a bit more strongly about this phenomenon than I realised.

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