Helping Nikon Frame a Better Customer Experience

09/21/2015 by Jim Cheney

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Digital technology has radically transformed the way that we produce and absorb media. For the photography industry, this digital transition swept its consumer base faster than you can say "Smile!"

Helping Nikon Frame a Better Customer Experience

For Nikon, one of the world's most respected brands in photography, addressing the on-going customer needs required some online guidance from Vanick Digital. Interestingly, Vanick's partnership began when film was still firmly established, and continued through digital's market share capture.

Phase 1

Nikon cameras have a long-standing reputation for excellence, and part of that reputation hinged on providing quality repair service. In 2007, that customer repair interaction was suffering. Customers were asked to go through an antiquated process to have their cameras repaired with turn-around times that were unacceptably long and cumbersome.

Nikon engaged Vanick to develop a custom online repair-management system that would integrate with Nikon's existing SAP platforms. The goal was to dramatically expedite the intake process through a more sophisticated, user-friendly interface. The new system worked, and turn-around for processing an online customer service request dropped from an average of 20 minutes to about five.

Phase 2

Fast-forward to 2011. Digital technology has basically eclipsed the mainstream consumer's commitment to film cameras. Nikon kept pace with the medium transition, but it required building and selling more expensive hardware. Subsequently, the cost for repairing the new digital cameras was significantly higher and the process for repair was slow and tedious.  Here is how it worked:

  • Customers had to ship their cameras to Nikon
  • Nikon then generated a cost estimate for repair and notified the customer
  • Because the repair costs were often higher than the customer anticipated, they would decline the repair at which time Nikon, at their own expense, had to ship the camera back to the customer. 

This experience was not very customer friendly and certainly not cost-effective for Nikon.

Vanick was asked to help streamline the process by working with Nikon to understand the most common repair requests for their cameras. Vanick then took that data analysis and built a custom online interface that allowed customers to generate a cost estimate without the need for shipping the camera. Specific deliverables included the following, all of which integrated seamlessly with Nikon.com

  • A front-end web interface that generated reliable repair quotes
  • A custom console for Nikon vendor-partners
  • A payment application
  • SAP integration that provided continuity with other Nikon data management systems

Ultimately, Vanick was able to increase the quality of Nikon's customer service by reducing the repair turn-around time and better informing the customer on the front end about anticipated costs. Additionally, Vanick identified ways to reduce operational expenses related to logistics, man hours and shipping expenses. The result strengthened Nikon's brand and its commitment to photo enthusiasts on a global level.

To learn how Vanick can improve your customer service presence, contact us.

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Jim Cheney
Principal, Prufrock Comm.