A Blueprint For Great Customer Service

Nothing is worse than dealing with customer service. Regardless of the reason it almost always feels like an interrogation. Sure, the product is under warranty, but for reasons unknown you feel the need to justify why your issue should be covered. Amazingly, this was not the case when I dealt with Apple.

First a little backstory: I managed to score an iPad 2 last Friday and have had trouble putting it down since. Although I have ran it through the gamut I always made sure to protect it with the Smart Cover when not in use. Even though it’s the combination of an aluminum structure with insanely bendable glass, I can’t help but baby it. After all, it is a beautiful piece of engineering. Imagine my horror when I noticed a deep cut in the screen’s bezel. After all of the care I have taken, how could this happen? Was it my fault, or did I purchase a defective product and just now notice it?

Unsure of what happened, I contacted Apple to see what could be done. I told the rep how I pampered my iPad, and how the screen only touched my fingers and the Smart Cover. To my surprise they recommended I work with the local Apple Store to resolve my issue. It turns out I may have better luck in person than via phone. Before ending the call, the rep actually setup an appointment with the local Genius Bar on my behalf, and e-mailed me the confirmation.

The drive to the Apple Store the following morning was anything but pleasant. Not only was I battling the latter end of rush-hour traffic, I was also wondering how the dialog would go. Would I have to prove that I am not a klutz? Will I have to deal with a supervisor and a lot of dead air? Is it possible someone would give me the stink eye? All of these questions came to an end as I pulled into the parking lot.

Upon entering the Apple Store I made my way back to the Genius Bar and checked in. After a brief wait the “Genius” kindly introduced himself and asked me to describe my issue. I told him about the deep cut on my iPad and my uncertainty as to how it came to be. He gave my iPad a once over and asked me to unlock it. After doing so he ventured into the Settings, took a few mental notes and then asked me if this was an AT&T 3G model. I answered “yes” and then without any notice he stood up and walked away.

What just happened? Is he going to talk with a supervisor? Will I have to tell my story to another associate? Most importantly: Why haven’t I yet received the stink eye?

To my surprise he reappeared with a new iPad. After taking a few notes on his computer, he asked me a couple identifying questions and whether I had recently backed up my iPad. He then assisted me with wiping the personal data off my existing iPad and transferred my Smart Cover to the new model. He then handed me my new iPad and wished me a good day.

I have never experienced customer service like this before. I was treated with respect like a trusted friend rather than a thief or liar. This situation has shown me how Apple treats their customers when they are already in a bad place, and illustrates why they rate so high on support surveys. I can only hope that other companies take note and try to follow in Apple’s footsteps.