Outdoor Photo Gear – A story of exceptional customer service

Posted on 30. Mar, 2010 by in Business, Equipment, Everything

Many moons ago, I used to work in the retail industry.  While my job rarely took me to the front lines of retail service, I was always keenly aware of the many challenges involved in providing customers with a great level of service.  Stories of poor customer service abound on the various Internet forums one comes across and that is all useful information.  But, I think it is even more important to share the positive stories.

I recently had an experience with a retailer that I thought I’d share with you.  I should state from the outset that this retailer is an affiliated advertiser with my web site (in exchange for advertising my workshops on their web site, I place an ad on my blog).  However, I don’t believe that my experience was in any way different from what any of their other clients might have received.

I am interested in expanding my video DSLR repretoire and was interested in purchasing a fluid video head to handle my large telephoto lenses.  I’ve been looking for one of these tripod heads for some time now but always hesitated because the video world seems to be locked into a different reality when it comes to lens plates.  Where the still photography world seems to have settled on the Arca Swiss standard (at least on the high end), I could find no fluid tripod heads that supported this lens plate standard.  This was extremely frustrating for me because I love the Arca Swiss lens plate standard because of the ease in mounting lenses and gear to tripods and how easy it is to swap on a different lens or camera body.

Manfrotto 501HDV

I decided to contact the folks at Outdoor Photo Gear to see if they had a solution.  Chris, the main dude at Outdoor Photo Gear (OPG), contacted me and stated that he had customers who had success with using a Manfrotto 501HDV Fluid Video Head in combination with a Arca Swiss compatible clamp.  OPG’s pricing was very competitive with my traditional supplier (B&H) and I’m a big believer in supporting the little guy whenever possible so I placed an order to the Manfrotto head along with a clamp from Jobu Design.

Jobu Design QRR-3

The equipment arrived in a couple of days and I was immediately impressed with the Manfrotto head.  It can easily handle my big lenses.  However, I made a mistake on the Jobu Design clamp.  The clamp I ordered did not have threaded holes that would allow me to attach it to the plate that comes with the Manfrotto head.  I immediately contacted Chris and we discussed the issue.  While I could make the Jobu clamp work with a trip to Home Depot and a little Dremel modification work, that really wasn’t what I was looking to do.  Together, we determined that Really Right Stuff had a clamp that would work.  Really Right Stuff makes great equipment and I have several pieces of their gear but the problem is that they only sell direct and not through retailers.  This meant I wouldn’t be able to buy the new clamp from OPG.  Chris offered to take the Jobu Design clamp back and refund my money.

RRS B2-Pro/L Clamp

I packed up the clamp and put it in the mail.  I sent an email to OPG indicating that the clamp was in the mail and they immediately refunded my money without even waiting for the clamp to arrive at their location.  Wow!  Was I ever impressed.

The Really Right Stuff clamp is currently on its way to me and I hope to have it in my hands in a couple of days.  I’ll report back on how it all works together once I’ve had a chance to play a bit.

My dealings with Outdoor Photo Gear were exceptionally positive and I can recommend doing business with them without a moment’s hesitation.

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7 Responses to “Outdoor Photo Gear – A story of exceptional customer service”

  1. Sean Phillips

    30. Mar, 2010

    Sounds like a good news story. It’s really odd to hear because around here the big stores (The Camera Store, Vistek, and Saneal Camera) get very little good press and in fact there are numerous threads on the web about how they are each the worst camera store in the world.

    It’s nice to hear good things about a shop for once, but I’m a little sad that it’s not a “local” store rather than an online company. I personally buy almost all of my gear online (because it’s so much easier) but I’d love to be the guy that buys from the local shop…

  2. Aaron Moller

    30. Mar, 2010

    Great story Paul!

    I’m wondering though if the release knob on the RRS plate will clear the edges of the 501HDV head?

    • Paul Burwell

      31. Mar, 2010

      Aaron,

      I’ll let you know once it arrives. So far I’m optimistic, but we’ll wait and see.

      • bill

        27. May, 2010

        Hey Paul,

        I’m in the same boat as you. Was wondering did the RRS clamp clear the top platform on the 501 ?

        Thanks.

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