Some People Just Get It

September 01, 2009  •  Leave a Comment

One of my mentors in the photo industry once told me, “Always treat your customers right. In the end, all you’re selling is customer service.”  He would go on to explain that there are photographers lined up to do what we do: shoot pictures. His point was that the marketplace was crowded, and in the end if you take care of your customers, they’ll come back. The photos most likely won’t bring back a client, but how you treat them will; or it will cause them to not come back.

Anyone who will listen has heard time and again as I lament the service I received from James Camera in New Haven. Never again will I darken their door, no matter how inconvenient it is. They are, in fact, one block away, but never will they see my face again. A little over a week ago, on a Friday, I packed up four rolls of film into a small Flat Rate USPS Priority mailer and sent it off to North Coast Photographic Service in California (Kaaahlifohnya if you’re Ahnald) after reading about their service from Ken Rockwell. The following Tuesday I received a call from NCPS telling me they had my film, it was processed and ready to go, but they wanted to make sure that I didn’t want anything else done: no scanning, no prints, no CD of proofs, etc. Two days later, on Thursday, the film was back in my hands. Total cost, including S&H both ways: under $30. Had I walked to James Camera, that cost would have been $45, and the service would have sucked. NCPS:  You get it.

You know who else gets it?  Doug Fisher over at Better Film Scanning. If you have an Epson film scanner, you know they’re not the best at designing their film holders.  Then again, neither is Microtek. My favorite film holders were the old style ones where the film slid into a channel.  Now they’re spring loaded, clip-in jobbies that don’t do any better now than they did when they were simple to use.  Doug has designed film holders that are simple to use, effective, and more importantly priced right. I emailed him a few weeks ago asking some questions about the application I had in mind, and had a reply that night, at 2:45am. No joke. His reply was, more or less, “What you want to do isn’t normal, some others have done it, but if you screw it up, dont’ come crying to me!” I appreciated his honesty, and two days later I’d placed my order. Again, late night, an email came to me explaining that a key part had just run out, and that wasn’t expected back in stock for two days. Two days, that’s all the delay Doug was expecting, and he told me about it.  Most people would’ve let it go and I’d have just waited.  The following week my new film holder showed up, packaged remarkably well, and exactly as Doug described it. The results? Astounding.  Doug Fisher, you get it.

That’s a long way to say that two people I’ve worked with recently have impressed me.  A lot of people go out of the way to say someone has made them mad, so I thought it was time to let my loyal followers (erm.. follower?) know about these two fine companies.


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