Perhaps I should tag this post “Not about Noah” so that most of you can skip over it. I promise, it really does help me to be able to write stuff like this out, whether anyone reads it or not. That’s my disclaimer. No complaining, you were forewarned…
Nothing gets under my skin these days like trying to communicate with customer service reps. I think somewhere in the past few years, they’ve forgotten what their title means. My latest issue is with Shutterfly, and I almost don’t even have the energy to resolve it. But then, the dark pessimistic side of me knows that’s what they’re banking on, and that irks me to no end.
A few weeks ago, Shutterfly sent me an offer for a free 8×8″ photo book with any qualifying purchase. This really appealed to me, since it’s a $29.99 value, and something I’d been interested in anyway. This is actually Customer Service Issue #4 related to this order.
Issue #1 was almost a non-issue, but it did require an email to customer service. After spending time and money on a “qualifying order” to get the free photo book, they sent me an email for some other promo, and I had to write and tell them that if they weren’t going to give me my photobook, they could refund my “qualifying order” because that was the only reason I’d placed it in the first place. In reality, the photobook promo was still in my account, it was just invisible until you placed a photobook into your shopping cart. Thanks for telling me.
Issue #2: After I spent literally dozens (plural) of hours building the pages of my 20-page book in Photoshop, I couldn’t get the covers to upload properly because the Shutterfly program kept cropping them funny. I had to write them to get a link to the bleed-and-crop guideline template thingy. Turns out my image needed an extra inch or so on three sides for wrapping around the cover. This template was easy enough to use, except that in the process I found out I needed to go back and resize all 20 of my regular pages so that their edges didn’t get cropped off. No biggie. At least this could be resolved with an email, and better to find out earlier than after it was printed.
Issue #3: A handful of hours of cropping and resizing later, I finally put the finished book in my shopping cart and go to checkout, and I can’t get the promo code to work. After an hour of online chat and half an hour on the telephone, they explain that when you choose the “digital scrapbook” theme (as opposed to graduation or new baby or father’s day, for example) the book gets a different SKU number and hence is ineligible for the promo. Of course, nowhere in the terms and conditions does it tell you this, and nowhere in the digital scrapbook theme does it mention it’s a different category of book. But no matter, some supervisor of a supervisor was willing to manually edit my promo code so that it would work “just this one time.”
Issue #4: The book arrives in the mail. The inside is as beautiful as I imagined it could be. The cover and back and spine look sharp except for one thing… the background colors of the three panels don’t match. The cover is lighter blue, the spine is darker blue, and the back is grey — not blue at all. They definitely were EXACTLY the same in my original Photoshop and .jpg images. An email to customer service doesn’t help. They respond that the book is a faithful reproduction of the images in my project file, and if I look closely the colors do differ in my uploaded images. So they are half right… the three background blues DO differ in my uploaded images, but don’t ask me how or why because the originals definitely don’t differ. How can uploading an image file change the background color without changing the photo hues? And how do I stop it from happening so that I can fix my cover? BUT the part about a “faithful reproduction”? How does he know? He’s not looking at the book. In fact, the color differences in the uploaded files are opposite of the color differences on the actual book. The uploaded spine image is lightest while the actual front cover is lightest, and the uploaded back image is definitely a dark BLUE, not gray. Their solution is for me to send the book back for refund/credit, fix the project files on my end, and re-order it. Never mind that this book was FREE, so the whole refund/re-order isn’t going to work in my favor. Never mind that I can’t get the colors to remain consistent during the upload process (I tried again today). And above all, never mind that when you go to preview your finished photobook, Shutterfly thinks that showing facing pages in slightly different shades makes it look more 3D-realistic on the computer screen (as evidenced by all my 20 inside pages that were the same shade in Photoshop and in the actual book, but looked different on the Shutterfly screen). Sigh. I just want to hire someone and say “fix this.” Isn’t that what CUSTOMER SERVICE is for?