15 January 2012

B & H STILL MY GO TO PHOTO EQUIPMENT SUPPLIER

Last weekend whilst rummaging around on Facebook I came upon the B & H Photo page. Coincidentally, I was in the process of being very peeved with B & H. I left a cryptic comment that simply said, “I think your service is slipping”.

I got hooked on photography whilst getting a degree in Journalism at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (1972). In those days photography was more a science than an art and part of the Journalism Department. Today it’s in the art department. It’s rightful place IMO.

One was required to be a bit of a mad scientist to work in a wet darkroom. I loved the darkroom but it was the creativeness of it I enjoyed not the science. The same with picture taking. I loved the art more than the science, still do. I suffer from a little dyslexia and after forty years I still have to say to myself “The smaller the number the bigger the hole” when working in manual mode on my Nikon. In my mixed up mind it’s totally counter intuitive.

From my college days all I wanted to be was a photographer. But, was more interested in making money so I chose a career in finance instead. That didn’t stop me from dreaming or taking pictures. Over the years the B & H catalog was my dream book. Until I moved to Montana I didn’t buy much from B & H just filters, Velvia film and incidentals. I am the touchy feely type so I went to camera stores to buy the bigger more expensive items. The B & H sales people were always helpful and fun to talk to even though I wasn’t spending much money.

I made the switch to digital after I moved to the Montana wilderness. There isn’t a real camera store within two hundred and fifty miles of me. When I decided to take the leap and replace my Nikon SLR’s with Nikon digital I called on B & H. The sales people were, as always, engaging and instructional. They asked questions and made sure that when my new cameras arrived I had everything at hand to jump right in. I really enjoyed dealing with them. They almost made you feel like you were standing at the counter.

Last November I decided that I wanted to up grade my tripod and head. I jumped on the internet, did some Google research and went to the B & H website I was leaning toward a Gitzo carbon tripod and Acratech ball head. As I always do I called B & H to get more information and make sure the head I was interested in was compatible with tripod. Usually, what happens is the sales person asks some questions makes some suggestions and places the order. The person I got on this occasion was totally apathetic and expressed no interest in placing my order. I didn’t ask him to. I expected him to offer. After I hung up I said, “Oh, to hell with it!” and didn’t bother placing the order.

My birthday was last week so I got back on the tripod kick. I thought I should give myself a special present. I went through the same motions and when I called B & H I swear I got the same guy and the same treatment. I was annoyed but determined so I just went ahead and ordered the tripod and head online. A girl needs her presents. OK, girl is a bit of a stretch. I began my sixty-fourth year on the twelfth.

I waited with great anticipation for the equipment to arrive. I had already planned where I would go to give it a test run. The equipment arrived on schedule a week ago Friday but there was a problem. The Acratech head had no plate so there could be no test run. I was so angry I could have spit nickels. In the past the sales person would have asked me if I had a plate for the head because it didn’t come with one.

The foregoing is what prompted me to post on B & H’s Facebook page “I think your service is slipping”. Let me tell you, people are paying attention because it was not long before I had a message from Henry at B & H inviting me to e-mail him the gory story.

Before I e-mailed Henry I wanted to be sure I was right about the plate. I was so I ordered a couple. On the same day I had ordered the tripod and head ordered a wireless shutter release. I ordered it without calling because I figure there was no point. The release I chose was a piece of junk in my opinion so I needed to return it. The sales person I got his time, Cesar, was everything I had come to expect from B & H. He was engaging, he asked questions and he turned me on to a much better product for the shutter release. Course, now I am annoyed with Acratech. Four hundred dollars for a head and you have to pay another forty bucks for the plate! :)

I did e-mail Henry, Director of Corporate Communications, the story. He was most conciliatory. I truly appreciate the fact that B & H is monitoring their Facebook page and is paying attention to what people are saying. That’s smart business and I like doing business with smart businesses. I was most grateful for Henry’s intervention but in the end it was Cesar who smoothed my feathers and brought me back to the fold. B & H is still my go to photo equipment supplier.

PS: I could not be happier with my new tripod and ball head. They are a dream team. For anyone interested here are the links to what I bought; the Gitzo 1541 and the Acratech GP-S

©Kinsey Barnard

4 comments:

Matt K. said...

Henry is a great guy. He frequents the Fred Miranda forums and is always answering questions and helping folks when they have problems with order. Naturally, there are those at the forum who are convinced he is just a shill for B&H, but I've always found my interaction with Henry to be much like yours.

As for the ballhead, I'm a big fan of Really Right Stuff. Expensive, but I've never had a problem w/ the gear from there. Never tried the Acratech, but I've always heard great things. I'm thinking about an eventual tripod upgrade (I've got a barebones Feisol.)

Enjoy the new tripod and ballhead!

Matt

Henry Posner said...

I'm very glad we were able to restore your confidence in us and really appreciate your taking the time to post this. Thank you.

Henry Posner
B&H Photo-Video

Kinsey Barnard said...

Henry:

Really, it was my pleasure. I am a sucker with stories that have a happy ending.

Kinsey Barnard said...

Matt:

There is so little service in "customer service" these days people are becoming cynical?

Perhaps I would have thought Henry a shill if I had not interacted with him. What he is is a guy doing his job, and doing it quite well.

Thanks for stopping by.