Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Snapfish v. Shutterfly: Photobook wars :-)

This week, I'm going to deviate very slightly from a book review. I have lots of great books to tell you about, but Christmas is bearing down on us, so I wanted to talk about books you can make.

I'm talking photobooks.

I am an avid scrapbooker. But the reality of having a baby, three books release this year, writing four books, and teaching classes is that the scrapbooking has fallen by the wayside. I can't wait to get some work done in December. I love the quick creative feel I get when getting the photos and stories into scrapbooks the kids love.

So I've looked at the online services. I've tried two: Snapfish and Shutterfly. My experiences with the two were night and day. (I've ordered prints from both without incident.)

A couple months ago I received an e-coupon for a photobook from Shutterfly. Great! I'll try anything for free + S/H. Besides I was feeling guilty about not having any of Rebecca's photos in an album, and this would provide a quick solution. So I spent an hour (time I didn't have) uploading photos and putting them in the album. I love the layouts and options, but when I got to checkout, it wouldn't recognize the code. I called customer service and was basically told I was a bozo and it wasn't their problem. I wanted to tell them I'm an attorney who graduated with honors from UNL and George Mason, but I held my tongue. I bought the first book because I had already made it, then made the "free" one. However, I will never use Shutterfly again, and I'm telling lots of people about my abysmal customer service experience. The kicker is I would have paid the difference since their coupon and website didn't make it clear which albums were covered, and I'd unwittingly picked a copyrighted album. But that wasn't an option. There was no option. So I'm no longer a customer.

Friday, I got a coupon for Snapfish's photobook. Call me a glutton for punishment, but I decided to try it. I had a couple Christmas gifts in mind, and thought if this one worked I'd order more. Takes a bit to figure out the differences, but the system is easy to use. The only problem is that I couldn't get the albums to show my photos once they were uploaded. Even though it was free, I wasn't going to order something I couldn't see. I twittered with a plea for help and within minutes had an email from the director of systems and support operations. Notice I didn't even email customer service, he found me! And his solution worked! I finished getting the album ready -- very pleased with it.

Then I checked out. It recognized my coupon on one page, but not after I pressed order. However, the amazing director of systems and support operations solved that problem, too. Snapfish's website says 100% customer satisfaction and they mean it. I will definitely use this site again. And I can't wait to see the book.

The sad thing is that Shutterfly's books turned out great. But because of the abysmal customer service, I won't go back. This may be an online world, but I still want someone who will work with me when there's a problem.


lisa said...

I been wanting to do something with all my Africa photo and was wondering which path to take... thanks for the heads-up!

stampedwithgrace said...

I've ordered my photo calendars from Snapfish for 2 years now and have not been disappointed!

Juliet said...

Snapfish and Shutterfly both are very popular and well known for personalized photo books. Both have great quality and best customer service. For me, both are my favorite.


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