Customer Service in the Digital Age – Apple Computer

It was a busy day today, so I decided to walk the mile to the Apple Store since I was not going to have time for my workout.

Apple Computer logoI always approach the Apple Store with some trepidation, since it is so busy, and my expectations were met by the large crowd inside. None of the iPad-toting Apple minions who serve as greeters were looking up from their electronic gadgets, so I continued to the back of the store, looking for a power cord I could use to replace the faulty one I had.

Finally, a manager approached and asked if I needed help. I explained my Mac power cord was faulty and that I understood there was a recall on these Apple items, since they had the ability to go kaput.

The nice young guy told me he couldn’t help me and that I had to see a “Genius” at the back of the store but that they were busy and I couldn’t make an appointment for another hour. I was sort of flabbergasted, since I just wanted to swap the cord for a new one so I could return to work. The manager would not relent at all, saying he couldn’t do this. I explained to him I didn’t think a genius was required to pull a new part out of the back of the store but, in the end, I spent an hour walking around the stripmall since it wouldn’t make sense to walk home and then have to drive back again.

Ultimately, I spoke to a “Genius” who helped me in about five minutes, something Target or Walmart could have done without an appointment and with their regular, run-of-the-mill, non-genius staff.

I love my Macbook and often tell people the only thing on it that crashes is my Microsoft software. Nevertheless, I think Apple is simply too big now and their customer service scheme, which is clearly designed to handle the massive number of customers, is not good. What would I suggest? Two things:

1. Don’t make everyone make an appointment (which they want you to do on their app or iPhone) to see a customer service rep. They need to have at least some people available to handle basic requests.

2. Train all their staff to do all the jobs, since any of the 30 staff in the store should have been able to hand me another power cord. See my article on my local restaurant Mountain Sun in Eat Drink Boulder for an example of a small business that does this.

How does this apply to Zephyr Adventures? I am not really sure. Our travelers do not get treated like one pea in a massive pod, so I don’t think we have that problem. And if you call us up, we’ll listen to your needs or requests and try to handle it one-on-one.

Do you have any good “customer service in the digital age” stories?


One comment on “Customer Service in the Digital Age – Apple Computer

  1. I just went through the same ill fated customer service dilema at the AT&T store today. I had a simple return and I had to stand at the front of the store while the greeter checked me in on her iPad and then a manager came up to greet me with another employee behind her that escorted me to the back of the store to make the return. The return required two other employees to actually make the return including the manager and then I was escorted back to the front by that employee and the manager held the door open for me when I left. I really didn’t want an ‘experience’ I just wanted to make a return. Have to admit I too thought of all the other retail stores where returns are simple.

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