Customer Experience Week Continues: The Apple StorePosted by Luis Serpa on March 23, 2009 - 8:50 AM
I am now totally addicted and dependent on my iPhone. The thought of being without it gives me shivers, so you probably can relate when, on a Saturday morning, all my songs went mute and I realized the problem was with the phone itself instead of the earbuds.
Long story short:
- I called Apple’s technical support and, despite the not-so-short wait time, the call-center rep listened to my description of the events, confirmed the actions I had taken already and didn’t seem to be reading from a script where she would make me repeat every single action I had already described in the beginning. (They seemed to understand that Not All Customers are Equal.)
- She told me that I would need to go to an Apple Store and promptly told me the 3 nearest ones with the expected waiting time at each. She then recommended scheduling a time with her so, by the time I arrived at the store, I wouldn’t have to wait any longer.
- At the store I was received by an “Apple Genius” who tested my phone with several different earbuds until he was sure the problem was with the phone. He asked if he could try to restore the system to its factory default (to make sure it was a hardware problem instead of software) and he was very conscious of setting the expectations of the process (I would have to restore my backup later on iTunes).
- 15 minutes later, with the system reset, he confirmed that the problem was indeed with the hardware and asked me to wait 5 minutes while he checked something in another room. At that point my expectation was that he would ask me to leave the phone to be analyzed and fixed (it was just a minor problem after all) and I prepared myself for the inevitable time I’d have to spend without my phone.
- Instead, he came back 5 minutes later bringing a box with a brand new iPhone. Opened it, tested it and gave it to me, asking me to sign a simple one page document confirming that I had received a new phone in replacement of the defective one. That’s it! No down time, no hassle, no stress, no questions asked. Just take your new phone and enjoy.
- I left for home happy with the outcome and suddenly the prospect of having to restore a backup with my data and applications didn’t seem at all daunting.
My rational side quickly considered the whole situation and I realized 3 things:
- Their systems were probably integrated (call-center and stores) to help even out downtimes during the hours stores are crowded.
- My broken iPhone will probably be fixed, refurbished and sold to someone for less, certainly minimizing the cost of the process (and that’s why we buy extended warranties after all).
- While I waited, everything around me in the store was nudging me towards getting an Apple computer.
The key point here is that they achieved all these points by being focused on ways to provide the customer with a better experience. A REAL focus on the customer creates advocates of the brand, induces loyalty and increases retention. As a result, your business is more efficient and profitable.
This Post Categories: Customer Experience • Customer Retention • Ramblings • Standing Out
Tagged with: Apple • Apple Store • Customer Behavior • Customer Experience • Customer Retention • Customerspective Blog • iPhone • ITunes • LinkedIn • Luis Serpa • Setting Expectations • Standing Out
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