Nikon's change of mind about online customer service...

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ThomasH, Oct 8, 2003.

  1. ThomasH

    ThomasH Guest

    Do you remember the time as nikontech.com provided discussion
    forums and online expert or customer service replies? As the
    comments about the ill performing NikonScan became too sarcastic,
    they did the "my way or highway": they shut down the entire
    online support. Of course per phone we could not provide them
    with NikonScan register dumps made by Dr.Watson, nor could we
    send in screen dumps from their fatal software utility provided
    with the probably still the best films scanners on the market:
    LS4000 and LS8000.

    Now, "only" two years later they seem to come to senses. I just
    saw the following notice by PR Newswire:

    [...
    Industry Leader Taps Award-Winning Hosted Solution as Strategic Platform
    for Integrated Phone, Email, and Web-Based Service and Support
    BOZEMAN, Mont., Oct 8, 2003 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/

    -- RightNow Technologies, the world's leading provider of hosted
    customer service and support solutions, today announced Nikon Corporation
    is deploying RightNow across the United States and Europe to ensure the
    delivery of superior customer service and technical support to purchasers
    of its digital cameras and scanners. Nikon Corporation is implementing
    RightNow as its strategic platform for integrated telephone, email, and
    Web-based support -- creating a highly efficient and effective service
    organization across all customer support "touch points."
    ....]

    David Dentry, Nikons manager of Technical Information at Nikon Inc.
    states that this new way of customer support is so cost effective
    that it does not cause any additional cost for the company.

    My personal opinion is: Better now than never, I am looking forward
    to send them in e.g. a preview of a B/W roll, in which one image is
    *violet*/white and not black and white. I have still my 6 letter
    size pages with bugs descriptions, algorithmic naiveté and errors
    in this program (they are lucky that we have Vuescan or Silverfast.)
    Some screen dumps of the blatant and astonishing malfunctions of
    their software have been viewed by thousands on pbase.com...

    Maybe the block of concrete will move now? A software update maybe
    at last? Every millimeter counts. Or 'may way' might lead into a
    can(y)on road for good.

    Thomas
     
    ThomasH, Oct 8, 2003
    #1
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  2. ThomasH

    Alan Browne Guest

    ThomasH wrote:

    First slightly cynical remark: the P/R is written by RightNow and it is
    no surprise that it is upbeat for them, as well as their customer, Nikon.
    When you shut down one activity to pay for another, this is the result, yes.

    I don't know what RightNow will be providing as a service to Nikon's
    customers. However, I suspect (and I may very well be wrong) that it is
    knowledge based (eg: database) rather than analytic. If that is
    correct, then I don't believe they will have the ability to look at
    samples and derive helpful comments, suggestions or solutions. I hope
    I'm wrong about this, but... the diagram on
    http://www.rightnow.com/products/ is quite typical of the outsourced
    support concept. do you see a connect back to the product house?
    Again, firmly in cyncical mode, part of the idea of outsourcing support
    is to isolate Nikon from the individual customer issues. It is usually
    hoped that the solutions provided to the customer will get the customer
    hapilly on his way away; it is .not. a conduit to keep Nikon's
    engineers working on s/w fixes for sold products. I know this sounds
    cold, but everyone in every support house in every industry is trying to
    reduce costs, not add to them.

    Cheers, (good luck)
    Alan.
     
    Alan Browne, Oct 8, 2003
    #2
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  3. ThomasH

    ThomasH Guest

    No, I indeed do not see this, but the usual way they operate is
    to provide the infrastructure of discussion forum and email. My
    understanding is that Nikon's specialists would be than answering
    the emails.

    Currently Nikon US approach to customer service was oriented
    toward a traditional dealing with pieces of equipment. If they are
    broken, send them in, if they malfunction, lets talk about which
    button to push and what happens than. They were very stubborn about
    this and never replied to any requests to change the service, not
    even via a generic press notice on their web page.

    In the time of digital photography and image processing they
    must also embrace the typical software support as well. This just
    cannot be done on phone. Email or a forum is perfect for this.
    I will give Nikon the benefit of the doubt and look forward to
    see the new service!
    Lets see, outsourcing has its merits. Nikon should not reinvent the
    wheel and can very well use a good environment supporting such
    online service.

    Thomas
     
    ThomasH, Oct 9, 2003
    #3
  4. ThomasH

    Alan Browne Guest


    Yes it has its merits, and I would even bet that for 98% of the traffic
    RightNow will do a great job. But there will be cases that slip
    through, do not get resolved and get customers upset. The case you
    presented about the way the B&W roll rendered violet *may* be one of
    those cases where they can't help you directly; and your suggestion to
    "fix the software" will be totally lost. Again, as I said in my reply,
    I am being firmly cynical. I hope for you and others that I'm wrong.

    Cheers,
    Alan.
     
    Alan Browne, Oct 10, 2003
    #4
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