Why is it that we’re in the bottom half of 2005 and companies STILL continue to ignore the internet as a method of reaching their customers?

We’re due to have a baby in just over 4 weeks and, we need to get our digital camera repaired so we can take some of those new arrival shots that parents love to bore their friends and family with.

I decided to don a ‘user’ hat* and try to find where to get our �Olympus Muju 300� camera repaired, as my fried Sunil would say – “What a mistakea to makea!”

First stop was the White Pages, where I searched for ‘Olympus’ constraining the results to ‘Auckland’.

White Pages results for 'Olympus' and 'Auckland'

Two returns and one which looked like an obvious winner – but first to the search engines (my introverted, lack of ‘red’ coming through – avoid human contact where possible)

There’s nothing like a good solid Googling in the morning, and my first search was therefore run against ‘Olympus’ and ‘New Zealand’ – right… the only return I thought worthy of investigation from page one was to a Parallel Importer, and that was just to set myself a benchmark as to what I’d pay to repair the camera.

Google results for 'Olympus' and 'New Zealand'

Dropping ‘New Zealand’ from the search gave me a bunch more joy and going to the global site I (predictably for this part of the world) ended up at Olympus Australia, the contact links for this ‘Australasian’ site gave no hints as to a New Zealand based Digital Camera repair agent so I dropped an email to them asking for this information, more because it’s fun to annoy Australians and less because I dreamed I’d get a timely and useful response.

To the phones then – yes, very analogue of me – but it paid off as I called ‘Olympus New Zealand’ based out in Albany, to be given a well rehearsed patter about ‘this not being the Digital Camera repairers, we only do medical equipment’ and ‘ you will need to contact J.E. Perry on this number xxx-xxxx’ the lass who answered the phone was very bouncy and blonde sounding, too happy for a Monday I thought, but – armed with the correct number to call, it was to the phones once more and I got an address and run down of the repair procedure. **

So – there you have it, searching the interweb thing gave me no real love, the ‘Australasian’ site in fact had no useful Australasian information on it, the Global site only could refer me to the Australasian site, and – despite the company owning and populating a New Zealand based domain with the information I needed, it did not appear on the first page of my results and thus – with my user hat on, Olympus New Zealand has no New Zealand web presence. My question thus remains – when can we expect to have companies leverage the internet in a relevant, useful manner so that the average consumer can find the information they need?

So, for anyone who is looking for the Olympus Digital Camera repairers in New Zealand, they are J.E. Perry, 10 Minnie Street, Eden Terrace, Auckland (they have a Christchurch Office where the units go for repair) – You’ll still need to resort to that horrible analogue contact method and call them on 09 303 1479, but at least I’ve saved you calling Olympus NZ to get that number eh? 😉

* Yes, I am aware that http://olympus.co.nz will resolve, but that’s not the point – people don’t type in web addresses, they search for stuff.

** As a side-note, I do think that J.E. Perrys policy of fax or postal mail an estimate which must be accepted in writing and returned by fax or postal mail was a bit antiquitated, but – things consumer electronics do tend to have a way of getting expensive to repair and I can only assume that this forces an unequivocal acceptance of some form of repair and warranty conditions which will ensure that J.E. Perry get paid for the work they perform.

Update: I got a response from the Australian contact address directing me to H.E. Perry (but in Christchurch where all the repairs are done) about a day after the initial request – which I think is fair enough, so well done there – but I’d still like to see NZ get a mention on the Global and ‘Australasian’ websites so people could get directed to http://olympus.co.nz.
I also recieved a note in the post advising me that they would send me an estimate which I’d have to accept in writing (which I really should do), the estimate arrived in the post a day afterward and blamed the circuit board of the camera at a price which makes it more economical to buy a new unit rather than bother with repairs… pity really!

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