[image from kickstock]
My iPod developed some problems late last year.
I took it back to the store where I bought it, who referred me to their third-party ‘service agent’, a company located a couple of stores away.
The unit was almost out of warranty, but when I explained the problem to the service agency, they replaced it with a new one almost instantaneously, free of charge.
I was really surprised. It was so quick, so efficient, and they were very friendly too.
So when my laptop developed problems shortly after, I knew where to take it.
Once again, the third-party agency delivered outstanding service.
Even though the laptop was already out of warranty, they helped me identify what was wrong with it, and discovering that it was an issue that Apple had previously identified as a fault with a component, they didn’t ask me to pay a single cent to fix it.
Not even the assessment fee.
This has had a very interesting effect.
Firstly, I rave about them to everyone I meet who mentions anything about their Apple products.
But more interestingly, it has increased my faith in Apple products.
Sure, I had two separate products that developed problems, but those problems were resolved so efficiently, that now I feel comfortable buying more Apple products.
But it wasn’t Apple who changed my perceptions of their brand. It was their agent.
Because they made me feel that my issues were important, and were worthy of their attention.
I felt like they cared.
I’m pretty sure Apple makes sure that they *do* care with various KPIs etc., but that doesn’t matter to me as a customer.
What I care about is that I get great service.
Everyone wins – Apple, their agent, and me.
Compare this to another complaints experience I endured with a rival brand not so long ago.
Firstly, I had to call their helpline. A lengthy set of menus answered my call.
This seems like an obvious mistake; I’m already annoyed: why make it worse?
When I eventually got to speak to a human and explained the problem, they had to refer me to someone else. No cost savings from the automated answering system, and increased irritation for me.
Once I’d explained the problem (again) to a new person, I was told that I needed to pay an exorbitant assessment fee just to identify the problem – which I had already identified.
I’d then need to pay for the repairs on top of that.
I didn’t bother getting it repaired. I bought an Apple laptop instead.
Moral of the tale?
If you don’t care, don’t pretend you do – it’ll only make things worse.
But demonstrating you do care – by actually trying to help people solve their problems – you can earn even greater loyalty.
It might cost more; it might even take more time. But the rewards probably outweigh that investment.