Adventures in Mobile Marketing

A Note on Good Customer Service: Apple

I was chatting with a friend yesterday about my experience with Apple Customer Service. What kind of person would send 1 1/2 hours in a store waiting in a line, and return the next day for more help, and actually be excited about going that second time? That’s how, with a strange combination of elements, Apple has made customer service OK.

- Immediately approached by a host-like person, who does a quick triage on the problem. I had shorted my iPhone, they took it and hooked it up to a power source behind the counter.
* I was on a list, and I saw I was on a list, and they told me I was standby, since I didn’t have an appointment.
* I saw them answer appointments, and methodically go through the list of standbys.
* They knew me by sight and name, and told me “they’d find me” if I wandered around the store.
* They had a teaching theater with comfortable seats right next to the line.

I’m new to Apple. Despite growing up in Cupertino, my work required mostly Unix systems, and PCs, until about a year ago. I was also squeamish about the price points with Apple products.

The next day, I returned a Kensington FM Transmitter that I’d bought at the store, with no packaging and the receipt on my iPhone. The exchange occurred in about 10 minutes.

These are the various factors I’ve come up with:
1) Nice, but not obsequious people. I didn’t over hear any overheated conversations in the Genius Bar. I didn’t hear any confrontations, either. This is direct comparison to waiting in line at Verizon, or Best Buy.
2) Knowledgeable staff, that know how to escalate, or just exchange the part and deal with it later. (This is what happened with my iPhone).
3) Attention to a certain system, and working with the system. Much like a nice restaurant, they paid attention to “the list” and showed it to me, which prevented me from constantly asking where I was on “the list.”

So, yes, Apple has money right now and a lot of customer service issues go away when you simply replace the product for the customer. But, to give them credit, this was a “light day” I was told, and there were about 15 people waiting in line, and the appointments were about a half hour off schedule. Still, nobody in line complained and everyone seemed pretty happy.

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Written on Wednesday, 14. November 2007 at 14:50 In the category Basics. Follow the comments via RSS here: RSS-Feed. Read the Comments. Trackbacks- Trackback on this post. Share on FriendFeed

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  1. Hi,

    There are some issues I take issue with here, but I’ll only deal with one. First, “Apple has money right now and a lot of customer service issues go away when you simply replace the product for the customer.” Boy, you really miss this one here, put some thought into this process that you want Apple to throw money at!! Just replacing a customer’s product does not necessarily fix a problem. Apple specifically asks each customer what is wrong with each product to determine and verify whether the problem is an actual defect, OR, it’s customer training/usage issues. If Apple would, as you state, “just exchange” the product for another one Apple may have turned a current “satisfied with the exchanged product” customer into a ranting lunatic because the “exchanged defective problem” was not fixed in the first place. While the customer may be hindered by the longer delay, the customer gets it fixed the first time. Now that’s customer service.

    Comment: Kevin – 14. November 2007 @ 11:15 pm

  2. You experience makes me think of the “franchise” idea presented by Michael Gerber in his Emyth books. Basically, you demostrated Apple is systematically aware of the thoughts, feelings, and habits of their customers coming into the store…and they tailored the experience to fit those feelings. Clearly, there was a lot of careful thought put into how you were treated. And that care was implemented systematically, as demonstrated by your experience.

    Comment: Lufey Dufey – 19. November 2007 @ 3:14 pm

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