OK, listen up readers: I really want your opinion on this.
I recently bought a new MacBook Pro from Apple’s Web site. But rather than get rid of my old Mac PowerBook, I decided to update it with the latest operating system. So during a routine check of the old Mac, I noticed there was only half the RAM in the machine than when I originally purchased it. Huh?
I bought the PowerBook four years ago, and my warranty has long since expired. But hey, where’s the RAM that was supposed to be in my Mac?
So expecting nothing, I called Apple and apprised them of the situation. Not unexpectedly, the customer service representative (CSR) told me that my warranty was up — “It’s been four years after all! But let me check something out anyway,” she said. So she put me on hold for about six or seven minutes, (although she did come back on the line a few times to politely let me know she was working on the issue), which was good.
To make a long story short, this incredible CSR then came back on the line and told me she’d spoken with another department, and she’d like me to talk to them. From that point, it unfolded pretty quickly. I spoke for about a minute with someone in the customer care department, and the next thing I knew, I was being told that a 512 megabyte RAM chip was being shipped out to me immediately.
Looking back, I wish I’d gotten the name of the CSR who originally helped me. Whatever she did was above and beyond the call of duty.
If I wasn’t already a Mac fan, I’d certainly be now! Hey Apple, you managed to cement my relationship with you in one call. Bravo!
The moral of the story? I’ve spent a great deal of time writing about customer service issues lately. From my time in this industry, I unfortunately can tell you many more customer service horror stories than positive ones like this. But this story was exceptional, so I had to share.
When evaluating customer service, ask yourself the following questions:
1. How many companies will do that for a customer?
2. Would yours?
3. Do you empower your CSRs to really help customers? To truly solve their problems?
4. Are your CSRs intelligent? Or do you hire the lowest paid people you can find? And if the latter, does that really work for you in the long run?
That’s all customers and prospects really want anyway — to be taken care of. We’re sick of indifferent people handling our problems. Forget road rage: Are your prospects and customers suffering from phone rage?
Comments? Did Apple go too far? I mean, how dare they give something to a customer that calls four years later. And off-warranty, to boot? The nerve having superior, well trained, customer focused representatives on the phone!
Jim Gilbert is president of Gilbert Direct Marketing Inc., a full-service catalog and direct marketing agency. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed at www.linkedin.com/in/jimwgilbert, or you can post a comment here or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.