Online Customer Service – Photo Sharing

I clicked on a link to someone’s Flickr photo album the other day and got the following error message:

Flickr was down and instead of the photos I was expecting, I got these instructions to print out the page, color in the circles, and post it to Flickr for a chance to win a free Pro account. Wow! Great customer service.

I understand that technology can go awry but that fact doesn’t make it any more furstrating when I actually encounter it. All I really need is for a company to acknowlege my frustration and pledge to fix it.

Flickr did that and more. Here’s the text from the photo above:

Arrggh! Our tubes are clogged!

Because this sucks*, we thought you might like to enter an impromptu competition to win a FREE PRO ACCOUNT!

Just print out this page and colour in the dots. When the site’s back up, take a photo of your creation and post it ot Flickr, tagged with "flickrcolourcontest".

Team Flickr will pick a winner in the next couple of days, and that lucky duck will get a free year of Pro.

* Seriously, we apologise for the unannounced downtime. We’re working as fast as we can to get back online. Details here.

I know the chances I have of winning that Pro account are remote (as of this writing, there have been 1,058 photos tagged with flickrcolourcontest) but their smart anticipation of inevitable technical problems with empathy for my frustration, the humor displayed in offering a coloring contest as a response to customer frustration, and the gesture of offering the chance at a free Pro account go a long way toward alleviating my aggravation. AOL could learn a lot from Flickr. The fact that I took the trouble to follow their instructions and comment on their clever customer service just proves how effective it is. Here’s my entry:

Flickr Coloring Contest - 07/19/06
Flickr Coloring Contest – 07/19/06
Hosted on Zooomr

You’ve noticed, no doubt, that the photo above his hosted at Zooomr. While I’m obviously very impressed with Flickr’s customer service expertise, I gotta say that Zooomr’s got it figured out as far as photo sharing is concerned from a blogger’s point of view.

They are actively recruiting bloggers with free Pro accounts of their own. The best Zooomr feature is ready-made, cut and paste code for a varitety of sizes of your photos so you can easily embed them in your blog. Click here to get your own free Pro account.

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