Another finalist for this year’s Singapore Service Excellence Medallion Award (SSEM) is Canon! 🙂 Will the brand whose slogan is ‘Delighting You Always’ win the hearts of the judges and voters like yourself? I popped by their Customer Care Centre in Harbourfront recently to speak with Shyanne Browning from their Customer Delight Management – a 3-man independent team in Canon that reads and responds to all feedback that customers send in.
Sharing a laugh, or two, with Shyanne:
Shyanne’s department is separate from the service centre and various touch points across the island. It reports directly to senior management. I was curious about how a large organization like Canon only requires a 3-man team for handling feedback, and Shyanne explained that they don’t get many complaints, but get quite a number of compliments from happy customers, and there are those who have actually become friends with the service staff at Canon!
Because service is so important at Canon, the company tries to make the feedback-submitting process as easy as possible. Spot a red sticker on the service counter? Scan the QR code and key in your feedback or query! The staff also have KPIs to hit which are based on customer feedback. *Even if you have product feedback (e.g. I want to see a particular camera in pink), write in and the company will compile feedback to send to the R&D department in Tokyo.
I asked Shyanne to share with me a memorable customer service experience and she related this story:
“A customer called us regarding a printer hardware error, and our staff told him that we cannot troubleshoot this particular error over the phone, and to please make his way down to our service centre with the printer.
He drove down on a rainy morning.
Our service centre staff apologized for not having the spare parts to fix his printer and asked if he would like to buy a new printer with a discount. He was yelling and screaming about having to risk his life driving down in the rain.
His printer was already 10 years old. We just didn’t have the spare parts anymore.
Often, we just have to acknowledge that it was not easy for the customer, and that we had made it difficult for them to get things done. We have to empathize with them and really feel what they are feeling.
He eventually bought a new printer, and after he had cooled down, he called me the next day to ask me to help apologize to the staff.”
Knowing this, Canon tries to “make things easy” for customers. For instance, if your camera died while you are on holiday, you’ll usually not have an international warranty. But now, with the recently-launched Asia Traveller Protection Program, the camera that you bought in Singapore can be fixed in any Asian country. You’ll pay first, then claim the service fee when you get back to Singapore. Pretty cool, eh?
Joe Seah, who works at Canon and has won service awards 4 times, also popped by to share with us his experience of working at Canon. Joe has been a Canon staff for over 15 years! And he’s not even the person who has served the longest! Another staff member I got to meet, Melvin, has worked at Canon for 35 years! *gasp* Thus, you’ll likely see the same faces when you visit the service centre every time.
Joe shared that he has over 100 “old customers” who still come by to ‘talk lenses’ for an hour or two, trade product knowledge, and engage in “geeky conversations” as Shyanne terms them. 🙂 Joe is an avid photographer and diver but admits that these hobbies require a “time commitment” outside of work, but it makes him happy to note that customers like his recommendations, e.g. for lenses for a safari trip.
I was under the impression that because Canon treats its staff so well, they cannot help but transfer that love to their customers too. As a customer, I was delighted to hear that they offer on-site service warranty for printers (technicians will pop by your home to repair your printer for you) and there is even a camera courier service (someone will pick up the camera from you, get it repaired, and deliver it back to you!)
You can check out Canon’s Concept Stores at BEST Denki (Takashimaya), Courts Megastore (Tampines) or at Harvey Norman (Kallang Wave Mall). But for all tech conversations, pop by Harbourfront and speak with staff like Joe. He says Canon is like his “second family”, and he welcomes Canon customers to come chat with him.
Key Takeaway: It is often easy to assume that a customer is being “difficult” or “nasty” or “overly demanding”. But if customer service staff put themselves in the shoes of customers, and seek to empathize with them regarding their plight / complaint / frustration, customer service issues can usually be amicably resolved. Even better, they may gain a loyal customer for life, because the customer feels that the staff are sincere in taking the time to understand his/her frustrations, and put in their best effort to help resolve those issues.
Selfie Time: testing out one of Canon’s newest products:
Shyanne and Joe were extremely friendly and I really enjoyed my conversations with them. With that kind of warm service atmosphere, I am sure that Canon’s 135,000 fans will be voting online for Canon to win the Singapore Service Excellence Medallion! *wink*