Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Customer First

(1:10) The definition of Customer Service is putting the customer first. It's not about what makes your job easier, it's about making the customer's experience easier and better.

(1:05) A recent experience brought that home to me and not in a good way. It occurred when I attempted to have the battery changed on my MacBook Air.

(1:02) I worked for Apple in the late 80's/early 90's. I love Apple and I love their products, but in this case, they totally missed the customer service experience. Here's what happened.

(0:57) While in the Bahamas, the battery on my MacBook Air began losing its charge and taking longer to recharge. The classic symptoms of a battery gone bad. I waited until we were in the US and had a car, and called the local Apple Store to arrange to have the battery replaced. Simple enough.

(0:47) I explained my somewhat unusual situation of living on a boat with limited access to transportation. My goal was to ensure I could bring it in and have it done while I waited.

(0:43) I was told I would have to leave it and pick it up 3-4 days later. "Not possible," I told them, and then asked why a battery couldn't be ordered and waiting. "We need to make sure that is the problem, first," I was told.

(0:36) I won't bore you with the long back and forth. Eventually what came out was that no repairs are done at the Apple store, even the most minor things like changing a battery. All units are sent to a central location. In fact, I was told I could probably get my computer back faster if I just mailed it in myself. "Then it'll only take 2-3 days."

(0:25) This break down in basic customer service was occurring because a centralize repair facility made things easier, and most likely cheaper, for Apple. However, it made my experience intolerable.

(0:20) 2-3 days without my computer, my lifeline to my business, is unthinkable. It is like a boatyard waiting 2-3 days for their travel lift or a marina who can't access their docks.

(0:15) Apple has created a product I have come to depend upon yet can't create a customer service experience that supports that dependence. They have forgotten to put the customer experience first.

(0:10) Make sure that you are not making the same mistakes. Think about your policies and procedures. Are you shifting the burden to the boater or taking it on yourself? Make it easy for boaters to do business with you and you will be rewarded.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.