I have a good story about a company with GOOD customer service that I would like to share today. With all the bad things we hear, I think that it would be nice to talk about something good for a change. I suppose this will be a kind of product review, but I am not sure if it belongs in the review section or not because some may not see it directly relating to woodworking. but I know that I have seen many posts on “Sketchup” here so it tells me that there are lots of people that do some drawing and design and may be interested in this product and company.
The company I am referring to is Wacom Technologies and the product in particular that I am referring to is the Intuous4 tablet mouse. I have been a fan of Wacom since 1998, a year or so after I got my first computer. I had purchased what was then called a Pen Partner, which is a computer mouse that is actually a pen. It has a pressure sensitive tip on the pen and you tap and draw on the pad provided to preform the functions that you would normally do with a mouse. Here is a picture of the version I had:
It had cost me somewhere around $80 US back then, which was a bit pricy for a mouse, but not really that far out of line for a good one. With me doing so much drawing on my computer, I found it much easier to use this pen device to draw than a regular mouse. With the pen you use fine motor control of your hand and fingers and with a traditional “brick mouse” you tend to use the gross motor control of your entire arm. You can probably understand why I preferred the pen.
Back in the day when I began using Wacom products, computers were not cross-platform-friendly as they are today. If you had a Mac, it was nearly impossible to use devices that were meant for PC’s and vice versa. USB was not common yet and in its infancy in development and things like printers, scanners and cameras were “either/or” meaning they were made to work on one platform OR another – not both.
I was just beginning to design for the magazine and I had purchased a Mac G3 computer so that my patterns that I sent to them would be made on (their preferred) Mac format. Previously, they had converted some patterns of mine from PC to Mac for printing and the files were changed – which I didn’t find out until I saw them in print. This was troubling and I felt it would be best to give them files that were in the platform that they needed rather than risk error again.
When I purchased my G3 – I naturally wanted to be able to draw on it and I also purchased a pen partner for it. Unfortunately, it was difficult for me to find Mac components and I had mistakenly bought the Pen Partner for the PC platform. When it wouldn’t work on the Mac, I called the customer service number and was told that I needed to get a Mac compatible Pen Partner. The representative told me that they would send one out to me, and when I received it, there would be a shipping label so that I could send back the PC one directly to them.
I was shocked. This was a risk on their company to send me the new item without me sending the one I couldn’t use back first. I was happy that they made things so easy though and things went according to schedule and all ended up well. That was over ten years ago.
Since then, I have always used a Wacom tablet for my mouse. Even though it came with the pen, it also had a cordless mouse that you could use on the pad too. That way if I was doing something where I didn’t want or need the pen, I could just pick up the traditional mouse and be fine. I kept that original Pen partner until about three years ago when I got an Intous3 tablet for a gift. It was a nice upgrade, as it is USB and has several additional features in a small touch pad on the side of it:
It is a fine product and I am very happy with it and use it everyday without incident.
The year before last, I decided to get my partner one for Christmas. He had tried mine and liked it and since he was designing and drawing more and more, I thought it would be a good gift for him. They no longer carried the Intous3, but were now on the Intuos4 version, which had many more features.
Although he liked it, he is not as fond of the pen as I am. It does take some getting used to, and for myself, I can’t live without it. He tends to go more to the mouse still, as his also came with the cordless mouse option. It is just a personal preference, I think.
A couple of weeks ago however, his mouse started ‘acting up’. He would be drawing and it would double click when he wanted it to click and do other crazy stuff like that. He was beginning to be very frustrated, as it happened more and more. I was sad too, because it wasn’t a cheap gift and it was only a year and a half old. He looked up online and it seemed that there were some problems with it doing the same thing that were reported.
We looked at getting a new mouse, but the cost for it was $70. There was a place in Ontario that would fix the problem for $15, but by the time we paid both shipping costs (there and back) we may as well get a new one.
I then had a thought. I called Wacom.
Keith kind of chuckled at me while I was dialing customer service, saying that they are going to sell me a new one. I just wanted to see what would happen. I waited until their office opened and called the customer service number that I saw online. I got through right away. I spoke with the rep and she asked my name and location and found me in the system from my own Intuous3 product (I had forgotten to register the Intuos4). I explained the problem and she said that she would send a new mouse out immediately after I emailed her a copy of the receipt and I would have 30 days to return the defective mouse. That was Tuesday.
Yesterday (Friday) there was a knock on my door and the Purolator courier handed me a box with the new mouse in it. We took it out and all was well. These mice and pens don’t have any batteries, so they are good to go.
I am thoroughly impressed with both Wacom’s products and their customer service. In this day of everyone cutting corners, it is nice to know that there are still companies that care about their customers and stand behind what they sell. They are not cheap, but I don’t mind a bit spending a bit more when I company is willing to stand behind their items and take care of their customers.
In comparison, I also tried a Microsoft folding mouse, which retails for about $60 :
It was a piece of crap. It worked for about a month and then just never responded correctly. In order to get it repaired, I would have had to mail it back with all the receipts, etc. (it was a gift) and I didn’t have them. It would have cost me more than purchasing a new one by the time I was finished. I have had trouble with other higher end Microsoft products and I am not a big fan.
I realize that the pen mice are not for everyone, but Wacom has lots of products and I would imagine that they stand by them all similarly. Just a thought for you if you are ever in the market.
As for today, I am continuing to paint my skating set to be sent to the catalog company. I test cut a set yesterday and timed myself and came up with a good and reasonable cost for the entire thing, including materials and time so that if I need to hire anyone else to do the cutting and production, I will still be doing OK and not undercut myself. Hopefully I will finish painting and rewriting the instructions by Monday so I can get them off in the mail. It will be wonderful to have it behind me.
I hope you all have a good day today too. I also hope that the information on the Wacom products was helpful for those of you who draw your own patterns, or are just looking for a good and reliable company for this type of product. I thought that it was news worth sharing.
Have a great day!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"