Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Making apple sauce out of customer service

My long-running battle with my iPhone might finally be over. Ever since I upgraded I have been plagued by constant crashing, a rubbish internet connection and the even more painful battle to quell my desire to hurl the stupid thing across the room or stick it in the new fire I’ve recently had installed in my living room.

Having taken the thing to o2, they helpfully informed me that it was a problem with Apple and I had to go and take it to my nearest Apple store (which is half an hour’s drive) and see an “Apple Genius”. Yes an Apple Genius is an actual job title; probably the stupidest job title next to “Labour Prime Minister”.

The whole experience is quite surreal. An Apple store is quite literally something out of a sci-fi move. The whole room is spotlessly clean, clinically white and there are banks of Macs stationed in millimetre-precision locations along work stations that look like they are made out of exotic materials.

At the end of the room is the “Genius Bar”. It’s quite a weird experience being informed by a cyborg to take a seat at the Genius Bar. I genuinely went up there and almost ordered a pint.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, the Genius was a typical Mac user. Now, let me explain something: Mac users are like religious extremists. They are convinced that their beloved computer deity is superior to everything else and get really rather angry if you dare to argue against them. They refuse to accept anyone else’s point of view and they preach to you in that na├»ve but arrogant way and will stop at nothing to try to convert you.

The first thing the guy did was ask me what operating system I used. He gave me that smug, know-it-all expression and sagely nodded his head when I told him I run Windows on a PC. His initial response was to tell me that was the most likely cause of the crashing and informed me that this sort of thing never happens on a Mac. Using the self control garnered over recent weeks that prevented me from smashing my iPhone to pieces, I managed not to punch him to the floor but instead enquired how my computer could possibly cause my iPhone to be so rubbish and, even if that was the case, why it didn’t affect my old phone. He explained it was something to do with iTunes and suggested I reinstalled it.

Naturally I explained that I had already tried that, I had also restored the factory settings, had installed the latest software that was supposed to fix a similar glitch and also sagely pointed out that it is a bit daft to make something that doesn’t work properly on an operating system that is still used more widely than a Mac.

Taking the hint, he then did something unexpected. He offered to replace it. There and then. No questions asked. I was stunned. Normally people try to convince you it’s somehow your fault that their product is rubbish. They try to make excuses just to get you to go away and leave them alone. They insist you try meditating and pray to Allah and tell you to come back another day when there is a full moon and Venus has aligned with Jupiter.

So for all their blustering about how mighty their stuff is, you have to hand it to Apple; their customer service is superior to most.