What Fires Me Up…Customer Service & Other Musings

portrait, fantasy, fire, cameras
Fired Up!

I have praise, and I have a rant to share. I figure better to start with the praise, even though it is backwards in terms of events. If you want to read the rant first, scroll down!

Praise and Recommendations!
I want to share with you one of the best darn service experiences I have had. DAG Camera Repair is an independent camera service facility. I found DAG because of the negative experience I had outlined in my rant. (See! Good does come from everything!) I discovered them on Range Finder Forum and sent Don an email immediately. Don answered my questions and we discussed my camera and my thoughts about what was needed. Don explained the possible issues and what it would take to correct them. I told him when I absolutely needed the M8 back by. If he could complete the work great…if not then I wanted to know to send the camera at a later date. He assured me the work could be complete and the camera returned to me in time for the shoots I had. I sent Don the M8 body and two lenses. Everything was complete a week ahead of schedule. He adjusted the M8 rangefinder and adjusted one of my lenses for too much back focus. The other lens was fine. He packed everything better than I did and sent it back! His work was flawless and I could not detect that anyone had worked on it. Even my gaffers tape was in the same spots. Everything was adjusted perfectly. Focus between lenses was perfect. Now this is how Leica’s are supposed to perform!

I highly recommend DAG Camera if you feel your lens doesn’t quite focus correctly. I am used to adjusting lenses in the camera for front and back focus but Leica does not offer this feature. Using a LensAlign tool and real world testing allowed me to verify that one of my lenses was off and the camera was compensated in some way. If you aren’t seeing dead on perfect focusing from your rangefinder, or a certain lens, I highly recommend getting them check and adjusted! The service was very affordable as well! A+ for DAG!

—RANT ON—
I want to make something clear, this post is in no way meant to be negative towards Leica cameras or the brand itself. I do want to discuss a recent experience that I had. I know this occurred more because of people’s attitudes and not because of the company directly. Then again I believe customer service and quality control are two of the most important areas in running any business.

I try to get my gear serviced yearly. As a member of Canon Pro Services, I have had nothing but excellent service. I have dealt with Canon on numerous occasions and they have always been accommodating to any special needs or deadlines. Whether it is a pro level lens, body, or just a flash, they have always been great.

I decided to send my M8 in for a routine rangefinder adjustment as I noticed my focus wasn’t quite 100% with all my lenses as a whole. I called their service department and was greeted with someone who really didn’t want to be answering my questions. The could not tell me what an average CLA (clean lube adjust service) costs or if my deadline for needing the camera back could be met. I was told 3 – 4 weeks is average but they can’t be sure unless I send the camera in. In fact there was nothing more we could talk about unless I sent the camera in. If I sent the camera in and they tell me my deadline can’t be met, they would just send the camera back. Both ways my cost. So $150 blown on shipping to having nothing happen when I could have been told that over the phone. You mean to tell me there is no clue at all on a what is in a basic service and how long it takes? She said maybe I should just speak with a technician and gave me another phone number. Reaching this person was difficult and took several calls over several days. No big deal, I understand people are busy.

When I finally reached the guy on the phone I was astonished to hear him upset about something going on where he was and using colorful 4-letter words. Maybe I should direct my questions elsewhere so I don’t find myself on the receiving end of that! I almost ended the conversation right there. I told him I was curious as to what their full CLA service includes and if special arrangements could be made for expedited service.

I was not able to be told what the service includes. They can’t tell me what my camera needs unless they have it in their hands. Great..do you clean the sensor, adjust the rangefinder, update firmware? Isn’t there a basic routine in their CLA? Or what does someone pay for a basic rangefinder adjustment…or a sensor cleaning…or anything! Why can’t I know any form of price? Any major repair obviously has to get quoted…but minor stuff? I was also told they would need the camera for at least 6 weeks. I said that isn’t possible. I earn my income from cameras. No camera = no income. Don’t they have any kind of special department for dealing with that? Nope. He said maybe some thing can be arranged…but I would have to mail the camera in before we could talk more. ??????? Are you serious? And what if something can’t be arranged? Why are you so mysterious on the phone!!!!!! “Maybe we can…and maybe we can’t!” Get real. I don’t have time for games. I can’t imagine Leica is like this from the top down. Maybe its just the New Jersey facility. Maybe someone was having a bad day. I don’t know. Either way, that was the most unhelpful customer service I have encountered in a long time. Do S2 owners experience this? Or are they in a special club for $25,000 camera buyers? I guess the M series is not qualified at one third the cost. Wonder if the M9 Titanium users will have to wait 2 months if their cool LED for the frame lines suddenly goes out. Or is that M special? At the cost of an M and its lenses, you would think their customer service would be decent. (The service may be great…I can’t comment on this.) Maybe Germany’s repair facility is different. Oh well. This forced me to look elsewhere for service. I am glad I did too! Read the praise at the top of this page for my service recommendation!
—RANT OFF—

Alright, I don’t want to end this post on a negative note either so I am going to post a few fun snaps from a recent trip I took.

This one is for Leica's employees in NJ!  Relax!
This one is for Leica's employees in NJ! Relax!
Leica, M8, landscape, battlefield, gettysburg
Gettysburg Battlefield taken from horseback with Leica M8

horse, leica, m8, stable, fall

I love yellow leaves in the fall. I really do. Getting away into the country is great in the fall! Hurry up before the leaves are all gone if you haven’t! The city just isn’t the same!

All the shots were taken with an M8 and a Voigtlander 35mm color skopar. The shot up top of me was taken with the M8 and a Voigtlander 75mm Color-Heliar and two Canon speedlights triggered with pocket wizards. This was my first time traveling without an SLR camera in a REALLY long time. It was nice. (on my back!) I am building trust the digital M cameras fast!

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