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Dear Olympus: My newly purchased voice recorder may be wonderful... but why -- oh, why -- did you make me jump through hoops to register it, and I'm not even sure it worked? It all began with the URL on the product registration card. Guess what? It doesn't exist...!


This page is missing something. Yes, the "dot com" is missing. OK, I used my common sense to figure that out.
Next step, select the product type. After that, enter the serial number. Uh, where do I find it? I'm a university graduate, but I must be missing something because I couldn't locate it.
I checked the product manual - not there. I looked on every face of the voice recorder body - not there. And even more confusing, beside the field where I'm supposed to enter the serial number it says (in brackets) that it's located on the camera body. But, I didn't purchase a camera. I do remember clicking "voice recorder" on the previous page.
I ask my hubby, who opens the battery compartment, and lo and behold, it's there, in mice type so small, a mouse's infant couldn't read it. I squint behind my reading glasses and enter the serial number, the date I purchased the product and my personal info. Then, it gets to the part where it asks for optional market research data. I'm a marketer; I get how valuable that can be to the marketing department, so I oblige.
Oh... a java script error occurs after I complete the first page of questions and omit the family income field. There was NO option for, "prefer not to say," so I hit, "back to product registration."
Great. I'm back to square one. Choose the product type I wish to register. It's late Friday afternoon. I'm in no mood.
I look for "contact us" so I can ask someone at Olympus if the product registration worked before I attempted to cooperate with the market research questions. I dial the toll-free number, which is supposed to be manned until 10 p.m. EST. It's 6:51 p.m. MST. I still have a few minutes.
The voice recording comes on. I wait for the menu options. I select technical assistance because the other options don't apply. The prompt says, "digital recorder," and I press "5." More menu options - this time with a list of camera models. I wait. The last option is for voice recorders.
I get a nice guy at the other end. I tell him about the url being printed incorrectly on the registration card. I tell him about the $100,000 sweepstakes I can't win because the registration card says entries must be received by December 31, 2005. I tell him my experience online, and he says he's sorry. OK, that's a good start. Can you tell me please, if my product is registered or not, I ask. It's 6:57 p.m. my time. Sorry, he says, customer service closes at 10. Can I call back on Monday morning? Wouldn't it be better customer service if you took my contact information and had them call me, I ask him? (Like they really would anyway.) No.
I have the product registration blues. Olympus, I hope you monitor the blogosphere because you need to know that this was a frustrating and wasteful experience. Just chalk it up to another example of a behemoth corporation oblivious to the fact that it sucks at customer service.
Postmortem:
It's 2 1/2 hours later and I just checked my e-mail. Here's what just arrived:

"Congratulations on the purchase of your new Olympus VN3100PC. To thank you for completing your digital camera's registration form, please enjoy a limited-time discount of 10 percent off any items purchased -- along with FREE ground shipping from our online Emporium."

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Elaine Fogel

Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting LLC, and a marketing and branding thought leader, speaker, writer, and MarketingProfs contributor. She is the author of the Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most for Small Business Success.

LinkedIn: Elaine Fogel

Twitter: @Elaine_Fogel