It is 3:30am and I am laying in what feels like the worlds most uncomfortable bed in Birmingham. Yesterday I was at The Photography Show at the NEC. The Photography Show is the biggest show of its type in the UK, with over 30'000 attendees each year, as the name suggests it is all about photography. I have gone to the event for for quite a few years, since before it was actually known as The Photography Show and was called Focus on Imaging (if I remember correctly).
The show is a hybrid of talks and classes by professional photographers and most of the photography equipment companies and shops trying to sell you their wares. For me the stand out part of the conference is the Pro Conference, where several speakers, talk to a bunch of professional photographers about various topics related to the industry.
For me the most interesting talk was done by a photographer called Paul Wilkinson who did a talk on 'Perfect Pitch: Setting the right price for the service that you offer'. It was an exceptional talk, it really wasn't about charging the right price for photography (though it was). It was more about the service that he gives as a photographer to the customer and how it relates to how he charges.
So how does this relate to me being up at 3:30am (now nearly 4am)? I was up yesterday at 4:45am, drove to Birmingham, attended the show to 7pm and then went to the hotel (I won't say which, as this is not what the post is about). When I got into the room, the first thing I noticed was 2 out of the 4 lights in the bedroom are not working, later upon connecting to the internet, I found the internet was painfully slow, both those were a nuisance but neither of these things will keep me awake at night. What will though is a rock hard uncomfortable bed, which has pretty much kept me awake for the majority of the evening.
This is a rather extreme example of a hotel not providing the service, that it offered but it feels like an interesting (and maybe floored) metaphor for what Paul Wilkinson was talking about. It isn't just about providing a service, it is about providing a quality service, which makes people come back to you and also recommend you to another customer. So in this case, I wouldn't come back to the same hotel and I definitely wouldn't recommend this company to another individual (unless I really didn't like them).
A more interesting example. Will be Fujifilm and Wex Photo/Video. I have owned an Fuji X-E1 for a number of years, it has been an excellent camera. So impressed by the system, I have bought a Fuji X-H1, instead of the Nikon D850 (Nikon who I have been with for 18 years). I bought the camera from Wex Photo/Video, which used to be two separate companies, Wex and Calumet. Since the 2 companies have merged I have been very impressed by the company. The staff have been excellent, with the customer service being far superior to when it was Calumet, the prices have been good and I have been impressed by the new store in London.
So having bought the camera, I take it back to the hotel and do an unboxing video for the camera (which won't be seen by the world, it was just a test of my presenting skills). As I opened up the very well packaged Fuji box, I started to notice something. The plugs were not UK standard, which is a bit of a fumble on Fuji's part. So now I have a camera and no way of charging the batteries which power the camera.
So where do I stand now? Because of my previous experience with Fujifilm I am willing to give the company some leeway and between Fujifilm and Wex I am confident that the issue will be sorted satisfactory. Fujifilm's and Wex's customer service, as bought them some customer loyalty.
People and companies are not perfect, everyone makes mistakes but a strong positive initial and then follow up service, installs loyalty and high expectations. A mistake was made and hopefully it will be rectified. In the morning (sensible morning, not the 4:52am it is now), I will ring up Wex and enquire what to do, whether I should take the camera back to the show to be exchanged or whether I should speak to Fujifilm about the issue and have them send me out the correct plugs.
Of course that will be in a few hours time and of course I will update this blog (and maybe add some photos) as to what happens with the camera, maybe do a review of the camera and update everyone on day 2 (actually day 4) of The Photography Show.
When I went back to The Photography Show this morning, I popped up to the Fujifilm stand with the boxed camera. After checking the contents, they apologised and gave me one of their plugs and will mail me another in the next few days. So problem solved.