Friday, June 26, 2009

Thank you Winkflash!

Once in a while I find a company that stands out in quality and customer service. It’s rare, but this one just screams to be bragged on, especially recently.

Back in 2005, with the coming of our first son Nathan, I made the switch to digital photography. I know, I’m a graphic designer, so I should be all over those high-teck advancements, but I also grew up the daughter of a professional photographer. There are film processing chemicals in my blood (really)! Film is the only way and Kodak is the only brand! Photography was our life!

But I was finding out that film photography was getting very expensive and I knew I would want to take dozens, hundred, well - okay thousands of photos of our new little boy! So right before our last vacation as a couple - to my favorite place, New York - I settled on a camera. I guess since I was leaving the comfort of my film photography roots I decided to go all the way and after a lot of research I bought a Pentax! And I still love that little camera - now passed onto my parents. It takes the best photos ever but is just slow on shutter speed and you cannot take a photo without the blinding flash!

All that to say, with a new digital camera, I needed to find a new printer for those photos I would be taking. I did my usual searches, read a lot, decided against the more popular sites with the cutesie fish/bug/shutter names and landed on a site that was almost as new as I was!

I’ve been a loyal customer and it’s been my only photography home since the beginning. I was attracted to them for the price - at that time 8 cents for 4x6 - cheaper than anyone else. Now they have a permanent coupon for 6 cents a 4x6. Beat that! They used to offer 99 cent shipping no matter how much you ordered - and I really miss that. But usps just keeps raising their rates so who can blame them for charging more too! So their price got my attention but the production made me stop. All digital images are printed with real film processing and chemicals and printed on Fuji paper! They had addressed my biggest fear - I didn’t want to order from someone and get crappy printing off a laser printer or something that would fade over time. Sure enough, with my first order came real photographs that look just like what I used to get with my film camera! I was thrilled.

Over the years I have branched out to create their books, purchase photo Christmas cards from them and I LOVE their canvas transfers! I’ve seen stuff from other digital places and Winflash beats their quality every time (and usually their price)!

Now that’s enough to keep me happy and make me stay. But what has me here bragging is their customer service! No foreigners you can’t understand, no attitude, no problems. You call, they help and you will be amazed!

I think the first time I called was when I ordered one of Nathan’s annual photobooks. This is a little project I took on after Nathan’s first year and it has become a Christmas tradition for the Grandparents and Great Grandma’s. When I finally finish creating the book (of course I have to put my designer’s touch to it - can’t use their templates) I order 10 copies - not cheap. Luckily each year they offer a great coupon at the time I need to order and that saves me a bundle. The second year my big box of 10 books arrived and as I anxiously flipped through one I saw a blank page. I almost passed out - surely I didn’t cause that mistake! I ran to the computer and was relieved to see that the page I intended was on the saved version on their site and should have printed. I called them up after 6 pm not sure what to expect. What I got was a really nice guy who apologized up and down, said quality control should have caught that and to just throw away the books - they would be printing all new ones and sending them out the next day! Wow. From that moment, any time I had a question or concern I called. Always nice, always helpful and I even got a $5 credit once because I told the lady how much I love them.

Well, that’s not the reason for the brag here! This happened a couple of weeks ago. I’ve gotten woefully behind on my photos and needed to order a ton of them. So I finally got it together and ordered over 500 photos - $50+ for that order. I didn’t think much of it and went on about my business, fully expecting to see a big box in 3 or 4 days. Instead, the next day I got an email from the manager. Because of an error on their part, some of my photos were not printing so they were refunding the whole order and sending them all to me. The blank photos would be the ones that did not print and I could reorder them later when they fixed their problem. WHAT! I just got a $50 order for free? I couldn’t believe it and wondered just how many was a few blank photos? Turns out there was about 50 photos that didn’t print - that’s $3 plus shipping. But no, they refunded the whole price! Can you believe that! I called them later and was told that they were updating some of their servers which meant that some of the photos were not available at print time, but everything was safe and would be available again soon. Since we were being inconvenienced, they were refunding the cost of everyone’s photos during a certain time period! I was floored. Refunding the images that didn’t print would have been plenty and completely acceptable in the situation. But instead, they contacted me before the package shipped, refunded the full order cost and sent me all the photos! Unbelievable - but very true.

So, Winkflash, you have my business for life (although you already did)! And even though I brag and recommend you to everyone that mentions photos to me - I will be bragging about you even more now!

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