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Archive for the ‘Customer Service and Support’ Category

The other day, I had two products malfunction that I can’t live without – my electric shaver and my iPhone.

I first called customer support for my high-end, three year old shaver. The first time I attempted to go through the phone directory, it gave me some recorded information and hung up on me. Agitated with myself for not hitting the traditional 8 or 0 buttons to be immediately connected to a live human being, I was not to be fooled the second time.  The customer service representative I spoke with next may as well have been a recorded voice, since she was reading a script and couldn’t deviate from it even when I had already given her the information in a previous response. It turned into a interrogation as she wanted to know the serial number and proof of purchase to make sure they did not sign up for fixing a product that was out of warranty. I felt the need to lie and say that I purchased it more recently since I did not want to be hung up on. It was to no avail, she made it clear that no one can trick them because of the serial number engraved on the shaver. Should I file it off like a thief filing away their fingerprints, I thought to myself? After all was said and done, she made it clear I would have to deal with the problem myself.  It turns out it will take about 2 weeks to simply replace the battery and it will cost about 40% of the original purchase price – yikes and no thanks!

I now had to take my iPhone over to the Apple Store. Nervous after my experience with the shaver, I sheepishly walked up to one the many representatives available at the door. I told him that the microphone on my hands-free set was no longer picking up my voice. He said he’d take it back and replace the jack if it had failed. He quickly grabbed it from me and was off to the backroom. I feared he was going to put in a nominal part and charge me big service bucks for every second he held the phone. Only minutes later, he returned, handing me a perfectly working iPhone. All he found was a small amount of pocket lint blocking the contact between the hands-free set and the jack.  As I was ready to fill out whatever forms he needed, he walked away. I called back to him, asking what was next.  He said, “that’s it.” After my miserable first experience with the electric shaver, a tear of joy welled in my eyes, and a feeling of guilt emerged – did I really deserve this level of service?

Upon reflection, I’ve decided that I won’t buy another electric shaver – razor blades will work just fine. Of course, my feelings regarding the Apple brand are positive, and I wouldn’t hesitate to make another purchase in the future because I can trust any company that will deal with my pocket lint. As a consumer, I feel empowered by the ability to make these types of choices. I’m always surprised when a company worries more about the short-term impact of a defective good to their bottom line, than they do about the lifetime value of a satisfied and loyal customer.

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