Yesterday I had quite a lot to say about a very unpleasant trip to the Apple Store (briefly: tried to take a dead iPod in to the Apple store to see if it could be fixed, and was met by a young woman who is to the art of providing courteous customer service roughly what the Kobe Earthquake was to the structural integrity of elevated expressways). I wasn’t planning to do anything else about the knackered iPod until next week – the store in question is about an hour away from home on public transport, and I wasn’t intending to go back into the city today. Plans change, a friend who is in town briefly asked me if I’d like to meet up for a drink, and so I had another go. And I have to say I’m completely floored by the way Apple responded to the problem today.
I looked online this morning to see if there were any appointments available today, and of course there weren’t. A friend had already suggested to me that the experience I had yesterday was not at all consistent with the service you usually get in an Apple Store, so I picked up the phone, called the branch, and spoke to a manager about how thoroughly dissatisfied I’d been yesterday. The lady I spoke to – Yvonne – was friendly, helpful, very apologetic, explained to me precisely how their diagnosis/repair service worked (I’d entered an Apple store precisely twice in my life before yesterday, both times just to buy simple iPod accessories, so it’s not something to which I’d ever paid any attention) and offered to meet me in the store this afternoon to get one of the tech staff to look at the iPod between other appointments. Great, very happy, that’s already more than I was looking for.
When I got there, I was met by the other manager – a guy named Waseem. Again, he was charming, friendly, helpful and thoroughly apologetic when he heard about yesterday’s awful experience. I was quite clear about what I was looking for: it was out of warranty, I just wanted to know if it would be cost-effective to get it mended, in which case I’d pay for the repair. One of the tech staff at the genius bar took it away, ran some tests… and then here’s where my jaw starts to drop.
He brought it back, and Waseem came with him, and they told me that there was some kind of problem with the internal circuitry that was preventing power from travelling from the socket to the battery (reading between the lines, I suspect that this might be a recurring issue with a particular manufacturing batch). They offered me an identical model that would have to be special-ordered, or an equivalent replacement from store stock. It took a few moments for the penny to drop. As a goodwill gesture, because I’d met with such a rude reception yesterday, they replaced an out-of-warranty broken iPod with a new, boxed model from stock.
That, obviously, is way, way, way more than I was expecting when I picked up the phone this morning. I’ve worked in retail, I’m familiar enough with the Sale of Goods Act, at least in terms of what you are and are not entitled to expect when you return a faulty item to the manufacturer, and this gesture is so far beyond anything that I could have reasonably expected that I was rendered more or less speechless.
So… they made amends – spectacularly – and I’m eating some of my words. I’m impressed (or rather, gobsmacked) by the lengths to which Yvonne and Waseem were prepared to go to in order to convince me that the appalling impression of Apple that I received yesterday does not reflect the level of service they want to provide. I’m leaving yesterday’s post up, because first impressions count and the first impression I received was absolutely dreadful, but I’m glad I picked up the phone this morning.