Having been in I.T. for more than twenty years, I am loathe to call technical support numbers or take hardware in for technical support issues. A few months back, when I cracked the screen on my iPhone, I took my phone to the Apple Store and it was fixed in under an hour. A very positive experience.
Recently, I noticed that my iPhone was not charging. I’d plug it into a charger, but nothing would happen. If I spent 10 minutes jiggling the cable I might get it to connect and the phone would charge, but it was a pain. And it was getting worse and worse. So on Tuesday, I made an appointment for the Genius Bar at my local Apple Store. I took the phone in at the appointed time, and ten minutes or so later, I left the store with my phone charging properly again.
Apparently, dust, and grit can accumulate in the cable slot. They blew it out with compressed air (something I should of thought myself, but something which I didn’t happen to have handy, even if I had thought of it), and it has been charging good as new ever since.
These two positive experiences at the Apple Store have impressed me. Ultimately, what we want when we go to technical support is for our problem to be resolved, but I think what we really want is for it to be resolved efficiently with as little hassle as possible. I was able to make my appointment online, for a time that was convenient for me. That was the first positive moment of truth.
I have a real pet-peeve about asking customers for information which is available elsewhere. So when I checked in, I was asked to provide my iCloud account information. I was then asked for which device I needed help. That was all I needed to provide. They had information about my phone and my Apple Care plan without having to ask me to provide the information again.
When I arrived at the Apple Store, it was crowded. I was directed to a person to check me in. This is always slightly nerve-wracking because in the back of my mind, I think, “What if they don’t have my appointment?” But they did. They told me where to wait, and a few minutes later, an apple technician came out to assist me, identified the root of the problem in under a minute, took my phone back to resolve the problem, and returned with my phone five minutes later.
She then did something very important, and often missing in customer service calls: She verified that the problem was fixed in front of me, and before I left the store. The problem was indeed fixed, and hasn’t recurred since.
What I think made the process so painless and effective was four things that Apple has identified that other customer support organizations can learn from:
- Make it easy to request help.
- Ask only for the information necessary to identify the problem and the hardware (or software) involved.
- Have people on staff who know how to triage and resolve problems quickly and accurately.
- Verify the fix before the the customer leaves the store.
So kudos once again to Apple. Not only do they make great products and software, but they support them with some of the highest level of customer service that I’ve seen out of a large organization.