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.